I realized, the other day, when I was able to tell someone in such a calm manner, “My first child was stillborn”—I realized in the contrast between now and the early days, when I literally could not form those words—This feels like an unwanted new world to me. And maybe what I have forgotten, is not my son himself, but how it felt to grieve.
integration of loss and grief
The death of my child is an event that lives with me; his absence is palpable; his presence is missing. And this is when I truly began to understand this monster called grief. You ask how one gets past losing a baby, and my answer is still—no. You don’t.
In the Before, I always thought of death as a sad experience, but one whose impact would eventually fade. I know now that you never really “get over” the death of someone you love; you can only integrate the loss and pain. And this is a process that is never-ending.
Integration is waking up in the morning because Peanut is hungry and needs to be changed. Integration is wondering what life would be like with a living second child. Integration is making plans for the future with acknowledgment that things may change. Integration is love AND sadness; grief AND joy. And it’s okay to have ALL of these things, and all at the same time.
I caught a glimpse of my tattoo in the mirror the other day. The days move so quickly lately, sometimes I forget it’s there. Sometimes I miss the burning underneath my skin, how it felt when everything was new.
I smile with genuine feeling. I finally feel excitement. I love her and I miss you. I realize I have given up control.
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.