A post I shared with friends and family yesterday..
5 years ago this AM, I woke, next to my husband, on a pull out couch in a family room connected to the NICU. I had to face the reality that this would be the last morning I would be going to my son’s bedside. It was the last morning I would hear my husband whisper “Good morning, I love you” to our son. No one knows the reality of pain and grief until you have to see the look of fear and helplessness on the face of your husband and know in your heart that you can never change it. Never take it away, Never make it better. It was May 16, three days after my first Mother’s Day. It was a Wednesday. It had been 20 days since we left our home in sweat pants and t-shirts heading to the hospital as I was bleeding. That day, we rocked, read stories, and just cuddled. At 4:19 pm, I sat in a rocking chair holding our son as a DR kneeled in front of my chair with a stethoscope pronouncing our son. May 16, 2012 1619 hrs. Despite it all, we are blessed as many families never get to hold their children, to feed them, to read stories. We have so very little but to us those 19 days are a whole life, The life of our only child. Even though you see us at the store, just us, pushing a cart of groceries. We are not a family of two. We are a family of three. We are parents, we have a son and his name is “C”. He had eyes of blue, curls like his father with hints of red, his mothers nose, his fathers feet. He was 39 cms long and weighed 1442 grams. He was a 28 weeker. I was in active labour for 15 hours before being taking for an emergency C as he was breech. Today, I had to watch my husband leave for work, crying and in pain. All I can do is be here when he returns and we will go and visit our son. To those that read this I do hope one thing rings true. If you are able to tuck in your child tonight, feed them supper and even if there is a tantrum, above all else remember you are the lucky one…..do not take advantage of your gift. To “C” with much love Mummy and Daddy..
Today, I sit at my desk. I am not really working. I do not get much work done this time of year. My mind is elsewhere. Sleep is also not something I do much of. I read. I immerse myself into the written word. Another person’s tale, their reflection, their picture. My reality forgotten when the page is turned.
Tuesday, will be the 5th anniversary of the death of our son. This weekend I will be celebrating my 6th Mother’s Day. We are still a family of three. Our arms are still very much empty.
One never knows what life will bring. To be 20 and looking ahead at 30 and 40 and 50. One never knows the love, stress, pain that one will endure. I do not wish you to think there is not happiness in our lives. There is, however, there is very much pain as well. That pain is ever-present and never-ending.
I am awaiting my tulips to bloom, spent my first Sunday at the lake for the summer. I am doing a walk with my friend in a couple of weeks as she has just been diagnosed with MS. I belong to Quilt Guild and just finished up our Quilt show with 320 items on display. My sister and my nephew were just home to visit.
Although, life is busy and never-ending that does not mean that my life is a constant joy. We do what we can, however, we do cry in the car on the way to work, or sit in tears in the living room early on Sunday morning. The house is still, nothing is moving.
This path was chosen for us. I have decided to accept some detours and create some on the way. It is all that I am able to do. I do not have the power to change it or make it different.
Life continues to be a struggle. My family still do not understand our feeling and wishes at times. My mother and sister cannot understand why my husband and I cannot hold our nephew. It is not possible. I am his mother. My arms are a very special and sacred place. They are where the love of our live took his last breath. I have tried to speak of it in a sense for them to understand. That does not mean we do not want to be around. To be involved to be part of it all.
I am being and doing what I can, what I am able.
This weekend I celebrate the life of our son. I will spend time with my husband, just the two of us. I will check my flower beds and wish for spring tulips.
Grief, is a lifetime journey. As with everything in life, our experiences mold our life, change our life. No, I am not debilitated. I am able to function, I get up, I dress, I leave my home. I live a productive life generally. Work, house, yards, gardens, quilting, reading, travel. But each thing I do and each place I visit I do so as a grieving Mother. I see things through a different filter.
Wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day and sending much love to those that will be standing grave side with me as we visit the resting place of those must precious to us.
Four years ago, I was at home preparing to go to my son’s funeral. I have been up most of the night. I just returned from getting my hair done. I have thick, straight, baby fine hair. It does what it does and I have the best hairdresser, that made the day far less stressful.
The day mostly is a blur. Arriving at the funeral home. The drive and surrounding drives were packed with cars. My pastor was warned. There could be 10 or there could be 100. As it was, I believe there were 170+ people there that day. Our pastor had married us 8 years previous and used many of the same scriptures from our wedding day. It had great meaning for my husband and I.
We then made the 10 minute drive to his grave. We had internment followed by my husband reading his last bedtime story. Then it was over. There we stood hand in hand. Looking into the grave of our only child.
This photo is etched into our son’s headstone.
Today feels much the same. The weather is a bit darker. However, there is a breeze. The emptiness, dread and sense of nothingness has not changed in 4 years. No matter, the time, the space, the distance. A grieving parent cannot outrun, out travel these thoughts, these feelings.
Today, I thank God I had 19 days with our beautiful son. Today, I am grateful to be able to call myself his mother. Today, I feel like the single biggest failure.
You remember those moments. Those thoughts. Those dreams. You remember each and every wish and demand. I begged God to take me instead of him. I begged him to protect his life. I begged him for my husband’s sake to protect his only child. When you have sat vigil at your child’s side watching and protecting them. Begging for their life only to have to beg God to take them from this world so that they will suffer no more. Time does not matter. Whether, they lived a day, a week, 19 days or 20 years. It is your child. Your life.
On the weekend, my husband and I went to town to get my summer flowers. I have many perennial beds and I do up a few pots for around the drive. In the 2 hours we were in town, we came across 3 different families that were in our prenatal class with us. Each of them now have 2 children. The reminders, the constants are always every present in our lives. It was difficult. I told my husband that I was ready, I needed to go home now..
These past 6 weeks much has taken place. Our cousin that was expecting. She had started contracting at 20 weeks 5 days and was hospitalized. She got ill the first week of April and delivered at 28 weeks 5 days. He weighed 3 lb s 3.08 oz and 15″ long. He has done well and is over 5 lbs. These weeks watching and knowing from afar have not been easy. They are most fortunate. No infections, no assisted breathing from day 1. One hopes so much they truly do understand just how fortunate they are.
I will be having a nephew come September. My sister is doing well. I knew in my heart it was a boy when she told me 10 weeks ago. It seems I am correct. All tests are great. She is nearing 39 and opted for amnio. Now, I mentally just look toward the markers, week 28, week 32.
Tonight, I will drive up the road to his grave. I will say goodnight and blow him a kiss. I will tell him that I love him so very much.
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the loss of our son. At 4:20 pm on May 16th, 2012, the DR. knelt down beside me and pronounced him. He lay wrapped in a flannel blanket hooked to 2 shunts, 6 IV lines, 3 IV pumps, C-PAP, a heart rate monitor, and a temperature monitor.
There are too many emotions to describe. I feel the overwhelming sense of loss, the emptiness, grief, hopelessness, and want to name a few. I just want to go home. I am tired of being at my desk. I do not want to talk to anyone.
Tonight, I will go and light a candle at his grave. I will talk to him. As will his father. We will check his tulips, which are in full bloom on his grave today. We will spend time together as a family.
I read much and tried to learn after he was gone. I will not try to discourage you from your own journey and path. I will be honest. The emotions and feelings are much the same. Anyone that tells you it will get easier that you will move on has, in my opinion, never buried their child. Yes, you will live, you will go to work, you will go about your life because you must. But there, behind your eyes, it is there. Where no one else can see. Each of your feelings still exist. I mean…….. Why would anyone every think that you would feel differently, a day, a month, a year, a decade later? The fact has not changed. You are still that Mother with empty arms.
As you wish C.