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This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

1 Day and counting - "The Eve"


Oddly the day before Emma's birthday has always been my most emotional day and not her "actual" birthday. (she was born at 3:30 am on the 8th, so really my experience happened on the 7th)

On September 7th I rarely leave the house for an unwarranted emotional attack can happen at any time. I am a devoted church goer, I didn't go today. I really need to buy eggs (so I can make meatloaf for dinner), but I can't motivate myself to go to the store, even though the girls are sleeping and my husband is here (a rare combination). But still, staying home on the 7th has also become something of a tradition, I guess.

I am doing all right today, kind of. I am very quiet (and for those who know me, you know that is not at all like my typical self) and, I guess meloncholy is the right word for my mood. I look at my two sweet girls and see a third then a bittersweet feeling envelops me. This day is a modified rollercoaster for me compared to the years past. The ride has become shallow so my ups are, well, I have ups and my downs are merely speedbumps, not the elephant sized potholes from the past.

When I woke up today I knew, deep down in my inner knowing place, today was going to be different, but I didn't know why. I rarely do, so I didn't give this much attention, but then the answer presented itself instantly. My husband is amazing and sweet and loving and yeah - I could go on and one, but one thing he has never done with me is grieve. He does that on his own. We agreed a loooooong time ago that his process and my process look nothing alike and to respect those differences. Of course if I am really a puddly mess, he'll hold me and support the mush that I become until I return to some form of substance and can hold my own. But, if I am just quiet and internal he usually lets me navigate it on my own. He is so strong, a rock really from the first instant Emma Grace was conceived, through her birth and even as we faced her death, but we honor two very different grieving roads.

So, when he made to return to bed this morning I was a little surprised, saying to myself, "This can't be about me. I'd be surprised if he even remembers that this is the most difficult day for me". Then, this is what I heard. The Comedian asked him, "Are you going back to sleep daddy?" and his easy response, "No. I'm going to hug your mother". And he did. He didn't say one word to me, just hugged me for a long time as tears slid from my cheeks to the pillow. Finally he said, "How are you doing today?" This speaks volumes about the connection between greiving and time.

I sighed with as much contentment as I am allowed to feel on this day and was grateful for his attention and effort. I actually felt blessed to be experiencing this new reality, a cohesive approach by our 4-member family to this "day before" Emma's birthday. The day turned from cloudy and breezy to a beautiful Vermont fall day. The sun emerged and with it, "A RAINBOW!" I heard my family say. Turning, I saw it too, then my tears came. The rainbow was unique, displaying both sides but no middle, it was covered by clouds. I was a mess, but just for a minute. Emma has been so busy lately. She has been so present in our lives. First, the red leaf, then the rainbow, next what? Still, I cry because I am so happy that she knows we want her here and we are ready to embrace her regardless of how she presents herself.

Family has been the word of the day. It seemed we just couldn't seperate after this rainbow appeared. The girls and I went inside and made birthday cards for Emma. Each was different, but each displayed a rainbow and the number 8 for her age. I am not ashamed to say I have the worst artistic skills on the planet (and possibly beyond), because my five year old could potentially have the best. Her card made my eyes moist again, the rainbow, the roses, the writing, her tiny name on the bottom and the love that went into it. We laminated the cards and mounted them on colored popsicle sticks, then walked to the cemetary.

While we were making birthday cards for an angel who, "lives to God", according to my three year old, my husband was building a bridge. Seriously! It was a project he had set the sauna tubes for two years ago, but only recently was completing. The bridge connects our yard to our orchard and goes over the little brook that runs through our back yard. Honestly, sometimes I am stunned to silence by the neon signs flashing tiresly in my face, yet I can't see them. Last week when I sat down to name this blog, it never crossed my mind that my husband was building a blasted bridge! I have walked around for weeks as I ready to send my book proposal to publishers knowing that building bridges between huring and greiving mothers is my mission. Did I put the two together? No..of course was just to obvious!

Anyway, I walked slower than my energetic bundles and their father on our way to the cemetary. The picture from behind was stunning. A tall, bulky man with a little princess in each hand, skipping and hopping alongside their father, occasionally lifted into the air with a laugh and the use of very strong muscles. Priceless, really. He even managed to give them both a piggieback up the huge hill to the headstones. Per tradition we took pictures at her headstone and rearranged the flowers with her cards. Truly priceless.

If anyone had told me even four years ago that September 7th and 8th could and would, in any minute way carry the feeling of celebration I would have cried them out of town. But, here are the facts - I smiled at a rainbow today and I smiled at a red leaf two weekds ago and even though my smiles are mixed with tears, it does not diminish the feeling of gratitude for birthdays, for Emma, for family, for J., for Bear, and The Comedian, for Fall Vermont days, for sun, for two worlds colliding.

If you haven't already, start traditions, stick to them and let them grow and evolve. When enough years have passed and your heart is ready, they will feed your grieving soul.

1 comment:

Trish said...

Very beautiful and I hope I see this one day too.Thank you for sharing Emma's day.

I know what you mean ... my daughter was born about 4.20am at 1st September and we had known for a days we had to say goodbye.
My husband doesn't show me his grief either.
This year was a bad year and the worse ever.

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