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.


  1. I understand. The waves of grief can swallow you up whole; they blindside you; no warning whatsoever. Sending love and light your way...

  2. Thanks, Molly. I think I'm learning that "progress" on this road doesn't change the emotional impact of the grief. Maybe just the frequency? In any case, it sucks. Love and light back to you. Hope that you are doing well.

  3. I really get this, too, and am going through this right now as well. I feel like I am doing really well in 'normal life' for a while and then bam! I'm not. I'm weepy and tired and mad. I think it is exhausting all this fitting in to the normal world. It was impossible early on and now it is possible but it is still terribly, terribly hard and exhausting. And oh, the bag of ashes. How quickly I can reduce myself to a complete puddle of tears thinking about the bag of ashes that used to be our baby girl. Sending love and understanding.