Daily, Holidays, infant loss, Joshua, Madeline, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

When Mother’s Day is Hard

Mother’s Day is hard. Even with my sweet, little, beautiful Madeline, it is STILL hard. I look at her and I know that I am blessed.  
I know that I am lucky because there are so many that are still longing with aching hearts and empty arms to hear the words “momma, I love you” and for that I know that I am blessed. And even still my heart aches and my soul longs to hear those words come from another little voice too.  
My arms, no matter how full of hugs from my sweet girl, will always still ache at the inability to hold her big brother. I feel the weight of her body as she cuddles in each night still wanting to be held before falling asleep (don’t say she is spoiled – you can’t possibly understand the reasons we do what we do) and I feel the weight of so much more than just her tiny 26 pounds. I feel joy and grief dancing their every present tango inside my heart.  
I miss him.  
Often it is that simple and that complicated all at once. I just miss him. I long to be with him as much as I am with her and that is simply an impossibility this side of Heaven.  
These holidays are such aching reminders of what was, what is, and what could have been. They bring up wounds that never heal. They make me cry tears that never really dry. They leave my heart feeling vulnerable and wounded.  
I know I am not the only one. That makes me sad too. As much as my heart aches for my Joshua, my heart aches for your child too.  
My heart aches for the ones that are still tearfully and prayerfully waiting for a positive result on a test that you take month after month just hoping that the odds will be in your favor this time. My heart aches for those who have seen those tests turn positive only to have your heart break weeks or months later. My heart aches for the ones who have watched the ultrasound machine anxiously as the doctor searched for a sign of hope. My heart aches for those who, like us, have held your tiny child in your arms as they took their final breath. My heart aches for those of you who have had to say goodbye at any point, at any age, for we all know that 15 minutes, 36 hours, 15 years, 36 years, none of it is enough time with our children. My heart aches for the moms (and dads) I know that right now are watching their little ones fight battles that are far bigger than they should have to fight. This motherhood gig is not for the faint of heart. 
So today while my heart somehow feels both full and broken, I am still grateful. Grateful to the little boy who made me a mother. I miss you more than words could ever express and I love you to Heaven and back. And to the little girl who made me a momma, I love you. Thank you for helping to heal your broken momma’s heart.

Daily, infant loss, Joshua, Madeline, Parenting After Loss

Missing

I’m struggling to get out of bed today. This is the day I spend 364 days a year dreading. I would much rather stay in bed and skip over this day. The memories that too easily come and play on repeat. There are some images that a mother and father just shouldn’t have in their heads. Today is a day that is impossible to turn them off. The nightmare that never ends. I miss him. We miss him. It hurts. Today more than ever… 2/20/2013 – 2/22/2013 – 36 hours was not enough.

 

 

And then there is this…

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Madeline really does know how to fill our broken hearts with joy. Four years ago I watched my husband hold our son and my heart broke as it was for the first and last time all at once. Every time I watch him with our daughter I am overwhelmed with love for him, for her, and just for the opportunity to watch them together. I love how they love each other.

Daily, infant loss, Joshua, Letters to Josh

Four

Four. Today you should be turning 4. There should be balloons and cake and presents and a trip to one of your favorite places. I wonder what that would be… There should be lots of giggles and hugs and sweet birthday wishes for our getting so big too fast birthday boy. Instead I’m here, just missing you like every other day. Wishing I could give you the biggest birthday hug and tell you how much I love you and that no matter how big you are getting you will always be my baby while I cover your sweet face in kisses that I’m sure you would do your best to wiggle away from. Someday, just know we will have a lifetime of hugs and kisses to makeup. I love you, my sweet boy. I miss you. Happy 4th Birthday!

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Baby Loss, infant loss, Joshua, Parenting After Loss

Ouch

It was innocent enough. 

A dad was talking about how much of a pain it is to have to take his kids’ coats off in order to get them in their carseats. He made a joke about it being okay if one of them froze to death since he’s got two others…

An elderly man talks about all the hoops he has to go through to get his passport renewed. He has to show his driver’s license, birth certificate, old passport, etc. He jokes that he has to give them blood and his firstborn son too…

People say things without thinking. I know this. Logically my brain understands that these people don’t know that I did have to give my firstborn  son back. That I do live everyday without one of my children. They don’t get that these things aren’t funny. That these type of jokes aren’t things to joke about. My brain knows that people don’t say these words with any ill intentions, but my heart wants to shake them and tell them that their words hurt. 

The truth is we all say things from time to time that can probably be misconstrued by someone. Sometimes it’s the simplest things, the things that seem innocent enough, that can sting a wounded heart. 

So, this is my reminder to myself as much as it is to you, be gentle with your words. You never know what battle wounds someone may be hiding. 

Baby Loss, Daily, infant loss, Joshua, Parenting After Loss

February…Again

  I’ve thought about taking a break. A break from Facebook and Instagram. A break from seeing the photos of your adorable children playing together…brother and sister. A break from the reality that we should be posting our own photos in between reminding our almost 2 year old and almost 3 year old to share on a daily basis. A break from the heart ache of knowing that instead I have to point at photos to teach Madeline about her big brother. 

But the truth is that I can’t take a break from this reality. I can’t turn off the realization that February is here, and I should be getting ready for Joshua’s third birthday party, but instead I’m trying to figure out how we get through another birthday without him. 

I keep thinking that at some point this will get easier. Honestly, in some ways and on some days it does feel easier, well, maybe not easier rather lighter at least. The weight of the grief three years out feels like something I can easily carry most days. Like putting on an old backpack. It’s there. I feel it, but I can still move through my day mostly unhindered by the weight of it. Then there’s those other days. Those days that bag feels like it is loaded down like my college back pack always was. Pulling me down. Slowing me down. Weighing me down. February is the two ton of bricks loaded on top of the already too heavy books. 

While my instinct is to hide away and shut everything off, I’m choosing to instead make an effort to use this blog more again. I’m going to grieve out loud with the hope that others who are going through a similar feeling of loss will know that it is okay to feel the pain and to speak it out loud. 
[Print by: Franchesca Cox]

Baby Loss, Daily, Joshua, Madeline, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

My Saving Grace

The weight of her tiny body on my chest was the only thing keeping me grounded in that moment. I knew that. If it wasn’t for the feel of her breathing as she lay there sleepily cuddling into me I was afraid I might have forgotten that I was supposed to be breathing too. I spoke softly to her as I apologized that her big brother was not her for her to play with. I promised them both that I would make sure that she knew about him. Telling her sweetly that I knew they would have loved each other very much and had lots of fun.

This is a familiar scene around our house. Me in tears, holding our daughter, while desperately wishing our son was here too. This life we live is not easy. It is not fair. But it is ours.  It is our blessing and our struggle.  We don’t take the little moments for granted.  For now we just hold Madeline a little tighter until we can hold Joshua too.

 

Baby Loss, infant loss, Joshua

The Cardinal

Tuesday night, after work, on my way to pick up Madeline from daycare, I found myself in tears.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I have to pass two cemeteries on my way home each day.  The cemetery where my Joshua is buried and the cemetery where my Grandma Jones is buried (along with my Grandpa and cousin).  Most days I have to really just focus on the road, staring straight ahead, and refusing to let my gaze linger over where I know they are.  It takes a lot to not want to stop every day and just linger.

So on Tuesday, I let my eyes drift over to where I knew they were and the tears fell hard.

These days, I’m mostly good.  I usually have a moment or two that nearly breaks me each day, but I am generally able to hold it together.

Then there are days like Tuesday.  Days where the weight of the loss is just far too much to bear and the grief washes over me and I find myself torn between a state of shock that this is really a part of my life and just complete devastation that this is part of my life.

Grief is such a strange thing.  It is constantly changing shape and form.  Some days it is easy to push aside and other days it comes at me with hurricane force winds and knocks me down.

I changed the channel on the radio.  Maybe a change of song would help hurry this grief storm along.

“I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear”

I was nearly to Madeline’s daycare now.  I really needed to pull myself together.  I couldn’t very well go inside with tears running down my face.

That’s when I saw it.

A bright red cardinal.

Right there in the middle of the street.

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about signs from Joshua, but Tuesday, that cardinal, that was him.  I just know it.