"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reflections for December 1st

How many of you have had the anniversary of your loss?  For many of you, you may have met several years of anniversaries;  for others, your anniversary day may may be looming in the distance.  If you read this blog, you may remember that I posted about my one year anniversary last year not being as hard as I anticipated.  For some odd reason, other days hit me harder last year than December 1st:  Halloween, Christmas, the month of my due date...they were all so very hard.  I remember that last December 1st, I went to my amateur photography class and then got a speeding ticket on the way home for going 4 miles over the speed limit...so I was mad about that, but sadness never really came.  I was strangely OK.  Very surprising for me. 

Well, the past few days have been really tough.  Why is the 2nd year anniversary harder than the 1st??  Is it because the total shock has worn off and now there is just raw sadness?  I don't know.  But I do know that I have been reflecting a lot about the last 2 years this week.  How far I have come, how much I would love to be shopping for a play kitchen or a dollhouse for my almost 2 year old, how when I think of December 1, 2009, my heart hurts.  That was the day that my world shattered into a million glass pieces and I had to learn how to walk through the glass with bare feet.  I know that if you are reading this blog post, you must know how this feels.  It is a uniqueness that bonds us all in this community of perinatal loss. 

Over the last couple of days, I have been wondering how I am different now that I have lost someone I love.  Here is what I have learned:

  • I am still here...I have not been completely broken...I have experienced the agony of loss and am here to talk about it and help others.
  • I used to ask, "why me?", "why my baby?".  But I realize now that I have to ask "why not me?"  I am not immune to bad things;  I just never imagined bad things like losing my baby would ever happen to me.  Well, it did.
  • The loss of a baby can be a lonely, lonely grief.  But, there is a community out there.  I have learned that I cherish that community.  As much as I hate knowing that other people have had to go through this pain, I am so thankful for the people who have come into my life in the past 2 years.
  • It is OK to be sad sometimes...my loss is part of my story.  It has become an integral part of who I am and who I will become. 
  • When it gets hard, I know to take it one minute at a time. 
  • I have been through this life-altering event with my husband.  We are the only 2 people on earth who went through this particular experience with our particular baby and I cherish him for being with me.
I had the opportunity recently to read a doctoral dissertation written by Barbara Douglass, who recently retired from our office.  She interviewed several different women regarding the loss of their babies.  In her writing, she tells the story of an 80+ year old woman who had a stillborn son 60 years earlier.  She came to a support group for bereaved mothers and the facilitator, thinking she was lost, asked her what she was looking for.  She told him that 60 years earlier she had lost her baby boy.  She was told by her husband and family and friends not to discuss it again and to move on.  She was not allowed to grieve.  So, she proceeded to tell the facilitator and everyone in the group that her husband had died 3 weeks prior and she was attending this support group to talk about her son.

WOW!  A mother will never forget.  The anniversaries are dates on a calendar.  Yes, they make us reflect and they may, in reality, make us sad.  But, the bottom line is we are mothers and our love never dies...it just grows and becomes stronger.  So, I will try to remember that this December 1st...who knows, maybe I will come back to this post and read my own words.