Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Year, Same Grief

My daughter weighed 6.5 oz when she was stillborn in August 2012 at 22 weeks gestation. She was tiny. She's now been cremated and the ashes are in a plastic bag inside her urn. If you held the bag in your hand, you could close your fist around it almost all the way. Even though she's just a couple tablespoons of ash and bone at this point, she takes up a lot of space.

It's the new year. You're doing OK: eating right, fitting in the exercise, being late to work less often, getting things in order. And then, suddenly, the grief appears, it grabs your ankles and pulls you under. 17 months later and it is still raw. You are still reduced to a sobbing puddle. You repeat, "my baby, my baby, my tiny love". It's the song you sing to her, it's all your brain can produce when the grief comes on strong like this, when you get pulled under. This does not happen every day, but it happens more often than you'd think. It renders you helpless, exhausted. You are adrift.

No matter that I have read enough articles and books to know that grief is not linear, the suddenness with which it can run me over like a freight train is still surprising. I get into this space where I think I'm me again. I feel like a normal person. And then whoosh! Nope. You're a person with a baby-sized bag full of ashes on a little altar. A precious, tiny bag. In there are what's left of your dreams and hopes for this daughter, perhaps for any daughter.

The new year has brought a lot of sadness with it. Lots of hope, lots of joy, but still the sadness, the missing, the wishing things were different. I will always wish things were different.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Last Thoughts on Christmas 2013

It's 2014, but I am still in Christmas 2013 mode here in our little world. Back to work today, back to routine, but still trying to put together all that's happened, how this holiday was for us. We did not get our tree down this weekend. It still shines in our living room. This gave me a chance to photograph all of Chiara's ornaments tonight. The first is from our dear friend India, who made it for us last year. It has feathers and pearls and Chiara's name in a clear glass ball. The second is a Swarovski star from my Mom last year, given in memory of Chiara. The third is from the Remembering Together Ornament Swap I participated in this year. It was wonderful. I made an ornament for someone and someone else made one for me. The ornament for Chiara arrived on her due date. It made me very happy to unwrap it and hang it on that special day, when she was so much on my mind. I'm so grateful to the Mom who made it for me. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to make an ornament for another family. It was fun to choose an ornament project, pick out supplies, make the ornament, and then wrap it and write a card. It was a wonderful way to start the Christmas season and to incorporate my darling girl and honor her memory. I hope to do it again next year. I highly recommend this event for any babyloss Mom/family who celebrates Christmas.

My heart goes out to all families who endured this Christmas without their beloved babies. I do not know how we manage to pick up the pieces, how we find energy to make Christmas special for our living children, make it positive and special for ourselves, despite the missing children. It is very bittersweet. I am heartened by the fact that this year was better than last year, and hopeful that while it will never be the same, each year may get a little better.