Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Nicholas’s birthday was the toughest yet.  I think that, in retrospect, I thought the first year would be the hardest.  It would be the culmination of what wasn’t… Of who wasn’t here.  In some way, I thought that time would ease the ache, that (perhaps) his loss (and the loss of his siblings) would get easier.  I knew the hurt would never go away and that I would always wonder what life would have been like if only if… If only I had carried Nicholas and Sophia longer… If only Alexander had lived… If I’d never had a miscarriage… If we had  5 (or gulp, 9) children running around…  I knew the thoughts would come and that I’d have to accept them in order to be as whole of a woman (and mother) that I could be. 

But this year… The anger, the pain, the sorrow… I didn’t expect it.  I wasn’t prepared for it.  I blogged about the missing, the anger, and the day in general.  I blogged about his lasting effect on those who love him with us.  But I haven’t talked about what happened after…  After the sobbing and the puking and the horrible realization that he isn’t coming back… none of them are.  It’s taken me days to process and even more time to try and put it into words.  I still don’t know if I can.

The last three and a half years has seen Peter and I through so much.  After years and years of trying unsuccessfully on our own, we sought out reproductive assistance in the fall of 2007.  Since then, we’ve birthed 5 babies and miscarried 3 others (on top of our original miscarriage in 2000).  We’ve watched three of those babies struggle for life outside the womb and die.  We’ve watched two others struggle but come out on top.  I’m watching them now.  They are watching one of their foreign language homeschool programs and eating their mid-morning snack.  Every so often, Bobby will come up behind me and bite my leg and laugh, knowing that I will scoop him up for a quick squeeze and kiss.  Maya will run inbetween my legs and the half wall (where my laptop spends the day) for a quick snuggle before darting off.  It’s a life I can’t even begin to imagine not being.  I can’t imagine this not being part of who I am.

February 1st saw us putting the monkeys to bed and sitting down to watch Modern Marvels… and cry… and cry some more.  Prior to that, it saw me at the gym, running my anger out on the treadmill, pushing my body to the brink of what I was capable to that night.  It saw me in the car, sobbing.  Later that night, after the Modern Marvels and the weeping and the puking, there was a need for deep sleep.  You know, that sleep.  The one where you don’t dream because your entire body shuts down… Where you are, as close as you can get in this life, dead to the world.

I slept.  Deeply.  Restoratively.

And when I woke, I woke to a new world with new thoughts.  Thoughts that I’ve pondered and haven’t been able to share until now.

I believe in a life after death… that our lives don’t end when our life on this world does.  I believe my dead children live on- and they lived before as part of the Great Spirit (that we all were once a part of the Divine before becoming our Conscious Soul).  I believe that they are a part of everything on this earth: the sky, the moon, the sun, the wind and rain, the trees and rivers.  An animistic view, I admit… A Native American one… I still recall my mother pointing to the stars and telling my little brother and I that they were the souls of our ancestors, looking in on us.  It’s something I tell my own children even now…

When we die, I believe our Spirit finds rest with the Great Divine, but that we are allowed visitations to those left behind… Or that the grief of those left can, in some way, hold back the departed ones they love.  

When I woke up on February 2nd, I felt this… I don’t know… conviction?... that somehow, I had been holding them back here… That my grief was somehow keeping them from finding complete peace.  (That isn’t to say that they aren’t at peace or that, if I somehow wasn’t grieving they wouldn’t visit us spiritually… Far from it.)  It was this feeling that it was time to let go.

To let go of the pain but not the memories.
To let go of the hurt but not the joy.
To forget but to never stop remembering.
To move forward without moving on.

I suddenly felt lighter… Free… As though a part of my journey through grief was ending and a new chapter was beginning.

And it wasn’t just about losing Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander.  It was for my miscarriages.  And my infertility.   And my incompetent cervix, my c-section and loss of breastfeeding.  For the lost dreams and the broken promises of a happier tomorrow.   All of it.  It was as though Nicholas opened my heart and poured all the anger and hurt and brokenness down the drain and then filled it up with hope and promise and joy.  The heart still has the scars of being broken, but he healed it and made it able to hold those things again.  He made it full again.  His name means strength and defender; his sister’s means wisdom of the world; and their little brother’s means gift and warrior.  They are all those things to me… gifts, wisdom, strength, my defense against the dark and cold of loss.  And, this month, they gave me those things again.

A reason to keep going… To be better… To never give up… To let go of the sorrow…

Right now, it is a day by day mantra, a journey of being and hoping.  I know that there will be days where the tears come and I accept them, with my whole heart.  I know there will be days where missing them will smother me, but they will be my air.  I know that sometimes my heart will want to explode but Bobby and Maya will help them hold it together. 

I’m going to be okay.  I’d like to tell you that I knew that before, but it was just a hope.  I know it now.  The heaviness is gone.  The mind-numbing grief is gone.  It’s been replaced by knowing- deep down- that they are all around me… And always were.  That letting go of the anguish only means having more room to take them completely in.

Their deaths don’t have some sort of rational reason that I will ever understand.  But I don’t need to anymore.  That desire to have some sort of blame or reason is gone.  Replaced by the knowledge that their lives here had a purpose.  And that is enough.  No longer because it “has to be” but simply because it is.
They have changed me.  I am a changed because of them- because of all of them.  Each child has left an irremovable mark on my soul.  I’m a better person because of them.  I am grateful for that. 

This birthday, Nicholas gave me the real present. 

It’s okay.  I’m okay.  Truly.  Deep Down.  Okay.

(please don’t hate me for changing my background… Peter didn’t like the other one and with my newfound “lightness”, I wanted something a little “lighter”)


Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I am sending you hugs and love. I think just being accepting that this was God's path... there's so much in that.

Jimmie's Auntie Amber said...

Beautiful, moving and inspiring post! You are courageous example! Thank you...

Holly said...

I think that our children would want this for us, you know? I try to remember that so I'm glad for your post.

one-hit_wonder said...

I agree with Holly - I think our babies want this for us. XXX