My dearest little Briella bean,
I was talking to a friend a while back, who asked me if I had continued writing my blog. When I said that I hadn’t written since last summer, even I wasn’t sure of the reason why so that I could explain it to her. It’s not that I didn’t want to or that I forgot, but something did hold me back.
I have always cared too much what others thought. For most of my life I considered that an advantage, but this is one of those situations where it might actually have been making things worse. Each time that I felt driven to write- to you, for you, about you, for other grieving parents- I refrained. At least publicly anyway. I have bitten my tongue so much that it is scarred.
Sticks and stones have never hurt as much as words. Those words become thoughts in my head that sometimes turn into beliefs that are difficult to disregard. I figured that my awareness of the process from previous experience, might help me handle it better. I was wrong. I figured that if I expected to be hurt, I would hurt less. Not true. The anticipations were not sufficient safeguards.
I tried to write so many times, but I continued to stop myself. Usually, for good reason, I rationalized. Your dad needed me to spend that time with him more, housework should be done, or even that I needed to exercise to drown out the voices in my head. Does that make me crazy? No. Do others think I’m crazy sometimes? Probably. I hear that happens a lot with grieving parents, but people fall “crazy in love” don’t they? If love can make people do crazy things and we see it all of the time in relationships that break-up, then how can I not fall apart after permanently losing my little love? And if I were to express it all, why do I care so much what others would think anyway?
I know that I care in part, because I feel that it reflects on your value. If people judge my grief or your father’s grief, then I believe that they are disrespecting your worth. Every one should understand how precious you are, but in reality, they have no idea. How can I expect that of them? It’s practically impossible. I may have carried you for 7 months, but you have been carrying me ever since.
So, here we are. I’m sorry that I worried so much about how my thoughts and feelings would be accepted, that I kept them mostly to myself and away from you. I still believe that you help me and by helping me, others can be helped.
Time has been an enemy that I can’t run or hide from, and time has brought us here, one year later. I thought that staying up all night would keep the anniversary from happening. I hoped. I have always believed in magic and fairy tales. I go to bed every night wishing that I will wake up to the miracle of having you back. While I am still a realistic person, I am also stubborn. I refuse to let you go. You are one of the greatest parts of me. If I let you go, I will be letting myself go. Isn’t that illogical?
So, this time I am writing directly to you. No editing no censoring for fear of judgement. The anniversary of your birthday was Monday, and later today will be… See, I don’t even want to type it. I have said it, written it, and typed it hundreds of times, but it is all too real right now. You should be here. You should have been celebrating your birthday with us and having a great big party. I see other people having that and I wish that it didn’t make me as angry or sad as it does, but that’s the way it is. I look at everyone else and I just see you. I see a vision of you as you were, as you should be, and as you someday would be.
I had expectations for our lives a year later. Maybe that was a mistake. Hopes, dreams, and expectations that are out of my hands, are recipes for disaster. If I have learned anything in my lifetime, I should know this quite well. Yet, that’s part of the problem. One part of me acknowledges that there is some rational reasoning behind my thoughts and feelings and the other part knows that my perspective can be biased and exaggerated. I know that people will read this and think that I should focus on the positive things in my life or the inevitable good that will come our way in the future instead of complaining and dwelling. Hell, even I read back my statements and try to counter my own thoughts. Never give up on your dreams, right? Anything is possible. I guess that no one ever discusses the fine print behind those idealistic views. If your dream is being a parent to your child from birth through adulthood, then you might have to settle for something less or pick a different dream. Or, just have another child and poof- your “situation” will be improved. It just has to, right? Things can’t get worse. It just has to get better. That’s what would make every one else feel more comfortable to believe, but I would rather not be disappointed and heartbroken repeatedly.
Oh, but even when you reluctantly create different dreams to keep propelling you forward, you watch those shatter one by one until you finally understand how daunting forever really is. How long must you go on with the knowledge that you can’t make your dreams come true? You can’t bring your child back to life and you may not ever have another one in the way that you hope and put forth effort to create, so rejoice for Plan F. Sorry, but substitute dreams just don’t cut it for me. I have known what I have wanted my entire life and I’ve chased after it. I have been redirected on different paths and I remember being devastated, but I knew that you were still in my future so I learned to accept it all and make the best of what I was given. Ultimately, you were my greatest dream and if I did everything I could to have you be healthy and come in to this world, then the difficult journey to get there would be worthwhile.
Still, we are told that what matters is not what happens to us in life, but the attitude in which we view the situation. In that case, here I am feeling like a failure. Either I take losing you as some sort of experience that brings about good even when all I feel contradicts that, or I continue on existing without really living because that’s what feels real. I am making choices and I will continue to try to make the “right” ones, but I can’t say that it is truly what I want. I try for the sake of honoring your memory and loving your father, but I have very little personal desire or faith anymore.
I am in awe of the parents I have heard about who have lost several children in very tragic scenarios and who have adopted a philosophy that allows them to accept their situation or remain hopeful of the future. I masquerade as one of these parents from time to time, because I think that is what everyone wants me to do, but I can only handle it in small doses. If I’m being honest with myself, I did not choose to be strong, I do not feel strong, and I do not want to continue to be strong. I do want to help others, but when I realize that this might be our life from now on, I am not okay with that.
So, I did not need to write all of the things that have happened since the last entry or over the past year. Most things have been dealt with, or expressed in some form to some one, but I needed to do this for you. This is the time that we should be giving you gifts and yet, I think you continue to give them to us and to others. I have been trying, baby girl, but I have not been doing so well. As the days go by, I miss you more and the reality of not having you gets stronger.
I used to have a stuffed turtle named, Shelly for obvious reasons. I had joked about coming out of my shell when I was younger and being appropriately named, but until recently I don’t think that I really had the complete picture. I reflect back on the past year of my life and when I lost you, I lost myself too. I go about daily life as if I’m having an out-of-body experience. I’m just watching myself go through the motions without any actual authentic intent. Perhaps the only times I felt present were times spent with your father. Other than that, I feel like an empty shell of who I once was. I can pretend okay and do what is needed of me to get from one day to the next most times, but I honestly feel trapped. Trapped in this lie of my life. It isn’t what I want and yet it is what I feel obligated to uphold.
There was a time recently when I wrote something before, but it is worth repeating. It hit me that it might feel impossible to fully deal with this type of loss because it is compound and complex to a degree that most people can’t possibly understand. That is where I need your help and I know that I have been fortunate to have your incredible dad’s support and that of some wonderful friends and family as well, but it is all just too much sometimes. It’s one thing to endure one loss, but I don’t think that people really comprehend how much more is lost. The profoundness and abundance of what the loss encompasses greatly contributes to the reason that it doesn’t ever go away over time. You don’t just lose your child- a piece of your heart. You lose; normalcy, hope, optimism, faith, your future as you imagined it, your child’s future, the person you were before, relationships, innocence, your dreams, the belief that you have any ability in making your dreams come true, and particularly for us… the guarantee of parenthood in the way that we most desire.
So, I am working on gifts that I can give back to you and give to others in your honor, because you deserve that and so much more. I guess that is what I need to try to focus on for now to get me through. I get the feeling that you have been trying to encourage me in many ways with these efforts, and I am always grateful. More updates on those efforts will be on the way… thank you for listening, Brie and for helping me write. I hate that it has to be this way, but I’m so proud that you are my daughter.
Love you forever