Loss and grief carry unfortunate side effects into other aspects of our lives, particularly with relationships. Some friends and loved ones come closer, while some become more distant or disappear entirely. Some relationships end up permanently changed. All of this is hard. These secondary losses are another heavy layer to our grief.
Posts here describe or discuss various aspects of changed relationships and my changed ability to work within relationships after loss. As a single mother by choice, some posts here also deal with dating. And while my first step in the dating world as a bereaved single mom ended pretty disastrously, it is still worth documenting.
I think your Aunt Alexis worries about me. I worry about me. I am going through the motions, but inside I feel helpless. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
People ask if I’m suicidal, but I don’t think anyone really wants to know the truth. I think about it every day. I look out the door of our cabin and think how easy it would be. I could just jump. It scares me. I don’t think I want to die, but neither do I want to live.
There’s a place apart from suicide. A place where you don’t think to cause yourself harm, but neither do you have reason to live.
I am probably one of those ghosting stories that people complain about on social media. I am probably that person who just disappeared, and people are wondering, “What happened? What did I do wrong?”
I don’t find comfort in the thought of a higher power. It doesn’t do anything for me. But I do find comfort in the fact that other people have also been broken…and they survived it. Which brings me to Akhilandeshvari, goddess of never not being broken.
This instinct for planning is painful to me. The best parts of my future are still achingly incomplete. I didn’t find him here because I carried him with me. I carry him and the world and the world is so heavy.
Sometimes I need comfort, and I lash out instead. I am not your typical victim. I am so very angry.
Nobody tells you that stillbirth is a possibility. I still remember, even while screaming, that I was thinking about the three other women in that testing room, and how I must have been their shocking introduction to the fact that babies die.
You asked me to this party, but you don’t want my casserole. It’s too heavy; it’s filling. It doesn’t fit your theme.
Because I think love includes talking about hard things. Because I think love includes telling someone, “When you fall on hard times, I am here for you. When things go terribly wrong, I won’t run away.”
There was a time when I was broken. (I’m still broken). There was a time when I struggled to get out of bed. (I still struggle to get out of bed). There was a time when all of this was so much harder / more immediate. There was a time when I needed help with almost everything. But not all things. I still remembered how to eat and go to the bathroom. I still knew how to put on my own clothes.
I want to wish you happiness, but I don’t know if you want that. I didn’t want happiness after the death of my son. It felt disloyal.
I feel unusual in the way that I’ve been counting. I’ve never kept elaborate timelines. My cousin’s wife reminded me when 30 days had passed. I was visiting, and her words took the breath out of me. It always feels like yesterday.
You sheltered him for nine months. You expanded with him, kept him safe. I watched you grow stretch marks, tiger stripes. I talked to him through you. I never thought to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you for holding my son, for cradling him even in death. He only ever knew love in you.
I hate talking about these memories, because everyone is quick to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. Screw that! I don’t care about fault. I want to share my story. I want to remember the last week of my son’s life. I want to share these things that complicate how I feel about his death. I want to remember that this experience wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses. I want to remember what was real.
I’ve often said that those of us who have experienced tragedy live in a new layer of existence. It’s the thing that defines us now, that marks this transition to this separate world. And I almost said “different” there instead of “separate,” but this is another defining characteristic; because the only thing that is different is each of us. Because we are a world inside of a world, and we are the only ones who know.
I call it a nuclear bomb. It’s a conversation ender. You meet someone, you’re making good small talk, and then they ask about your family. I will never deny my son. He is a permanent part of me. And so it happens — I tell them, “Yes, I have a child. He died shortly before he was born.” And everything stops. It’s no longer a casual conversation.
In the black-and-white photos, he looks like he’s sleeping. Photos are difficult; they don’t tell the whole story.
I don’t actually fault you for forgetting. I know you see a lot of people. I was a little impressed you remembered my name. But when you present yourself as a safe person, you need to actually be one.
Statistics are funny. I wish someone would do a study on the chances for real, taking into account the multiple factors that contribute to fertility. I still don’t know if I’m an anomaly, or if I just got lucky. I don’t FEEL lucky. Getting pregnant is only part of the overall story.
I didn’t start this website to be inspirational. I don’t think I have the market on stories of tragedy, or redemption. I wonder, sometimes, if my combative and rebellious nature is even useful. I still carry so much anger.
When a grieving person tells you a comment is unhelpful, absorb it. Learn and ask questions on what you could say differently. We aren’t trying to shame you; we are only trying to educate. We know you don’t intend to be hurtful, and we want to show you a better way.
The Miranda from a year ago is dead. She died with Adrian. And that needs to be okay. It needs to be okay that I am a different person, that the things that used to make me happy are now different. Permanently. I’m not okay, and that needs to be okay.
Someone asked if I was “better” today. I don’t think she meant it to be hurtful, but I can’t fathom what she means.
I am thankful for new connections. I am thankful to remember that all you ever knew was love.
I’m awake now, and I hate it. But what I hate almost as much are the expectations on me. I eat and I sleep and I put on my uniform and people assume that because I do these things, I must be okay.
I live in constant fear of the person I would become if I ever chose to live without you. I’m not capable of living without you.
I started school this month. It’s been intense, learning to live again inside rules and structure. I can’t get up and walk away when I need to be alone with you.
Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died.
The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child.
My parents never talked to us about their losses, and I blame their generations. (Publicly) holding onto grief was something that wasn’t done. And so this grief was whispered, held tightly under cover, impacts erased before they could be explored. But these erasers only took away the surface.
This is quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written. Please note that the following screenshots are simulated tweets. This is the timeline of an event that never happened.
Dear pregnant woman in my office – people are starting to get excited. They threw you a baby shower, and things are starting to feel very familiar. I wish I could explain why I’ve started to dislike you. I wish there were some logic beyond jealously and pain.
When a Type A personality grieves, at some point grief becomes her job. She finds old focus and determination. She reads books and attacks her grief with her previous energy.
People said some (mostly unintentionally) hurtful and insensitive things after the death of my child. This is what I wish I’d said in response.
Sometimes, I am still a b****. I’m sorry. You don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve any of my anger. You’re just there, sitting closest to me. You shouldn’t have to make any changes.
You were more than pain. You swept into my life and your presence promised happiness. And I hated that, because happiness wasn’t something I wanted to know. And I hate it more now, standing here, awake and oh so lonely. And this pain isn’t comforting. And this new life feels broken.
I should know better. Because life is not a fairytale. I should know better, because you’re a person, just like me. And I realize I put the weight of my expectations on something that was only fleeting. And now it’s too heavy. I’m sorry it got heavy.
This year has been hard for me, but it’s been a clean kind of hard. Most people understand grief is a thing. Most people understand pain surrounding death. I don’t think most people understand what happens afterwards.
After he died, after that scream, I shattered. It wasn’t that time flowed differently. It was a completely different life.
I’m not actively suicidal, but this is the beginning. This is the in-between stage; this is where it starts. This is what it looks like when someone is crying out in pain and the entire world tells her, “You’re strong; you’re fine…Simply because I’ve decided you’re not allowed to be anything else.”
You are turning one next week, and I feel jealous. You are turning one, and my son won’t be here to send you a sloppy scribbled birthday card. You are turning one, and I am aching, and I realize that I miss your mother. I miss her, but I’m still not ready to be friends.
I’m rarely this blunt but it’s been a week and I’m feeling so raw. F*** you. You are my friends and family, and you act like he never existed. He’s my first born. I will always be heartbroken.
Three years ago, I would have said suicide was cowardly. I didn’t understand, then, how quickly life can change. Suicide may not be an ideal answer, but I better understand the complexities behind the issue now. Awareness isn’t enough—suicide prevention starts with understanding.
I think we are all familiar with the golden rule, but one of the most powerful things I have ever heard was to follow the platinum rule: treat people how THEY prefer to be treated. The words we use matter. And if you can’t say something kind, or supportive, maybe don’t say anything, at all.
Two big influencers lost children this year. In the wake of heavy criticism of their public grief, I wrote this piece in defense of sharing photos and talking about our beloved deceased children. Today, that story was published in Scary Mommy.
When I was new in my grief, there were a number of situations where people said or did something and I wanted to respond, but I just didn’t have the words. Now that I am further out, I have put together a set of potential scripts to use in these situations.
There’s something about the echoing emptiness, waking up in the morning and he’s not there. How I wish you had come in then, crawled into bed with me and just held me. How I wish you had shown me it was okay to fall apart…And then how I wish you had left again.
I was tagged in a post the other day. An expectant parent had unexpectedly lost her child, and a mutual friend wanted to connect us. But then I was reading through the other comments on the post, and I found one that said, “someday this won’t hurt so bad,” and to be honest, I wanted to scream.
I remember being angry when people tried to cheer me up in those early days. I didn’t know much about grief then, but I was quickly learning. I could tell, already, this wasn’t how it worked. You don’t comfort someone’s grief by denying it exists. Is it so hard to understand this?
I realize, when I look back at these moments with pain, that the thing I wanted least to know, was the true value behind the relationships that seemed valuable to me. Because it wasn’t what I thought it to be. And that kind of knowledge is quite hard. The death of my son taught me who people in my life really were, and that is knowledge I would rather not know.
I was weird before Adrian died, and then after his death I realized I was more weird. I don’t believe in a higher power. I don’t worship or pray or seek meaning. And in places here, like in Megan’s world, I think I find like minds. But sometimes not entirely. And sometimes not at all outside this world.
I met Liam only months before Adrian’s first birthday. We were thrown together by circumstances, and I was still only focusing on the things right in front of me—eat, sleep, breathe. I was taking steps into the world, but they were tiny. And it was literally weeks before I noticed Liam was noticing me. And he still had to finally, bluntly come right out and say it.
People are going to feel uncomfortable about death and grief…It’s not your job to comfort people who become discomfited by hearing your story. That’s on them.
It was important that I have a personal connection with the sperm donor; that I meet him & get to know him; that he knows me. I wasn’t looking for a romantic partner, but I was looking for someone I could trust and respect, someone to meet my children without being “Dad”. I got that & so much more.
When I was new in my grief, I both gained and lost people…The one thing I didn’t expect was that I would have to remove some people from my life because they weren’t capable of providing support without worsening my grief.
People who haven’t dealt with tragedy are often made uncomfortable by any mention of the life that remains. It’s as if there is this irrevocable connection between my son’s death and his existence; as if these things are forever entwined instead of merely adjacent.
It was months after Adrian’s death, and I was sitting on the couch, trying to focus on mindless TV. It was the point after death where sympathy had mostly evaporated. And I didn’t want casseroles, but damn—I was lonely!
I have a not-so-secret secret. My secret is that social media is an important part of my life…And I’m okay with that., because it’s been helpful to me.