“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” (Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy)
When I woke up this morning, I forgot the date. I begrudgingly got ready for the day, rolling out of bed at the last minute, just in order to sleep and curl on my side just a bit longer. I had a fitful night. Your brothers and sisters snoozed in their slumber as your father lit a fire and cooked breakfast for everyone. That was a treat. Your Daddy is such a good man. He never runs out of love.
Being home all last week, away from work and alone with our family, allowed me to enter into a place of peace and healing. It was surprising...your half birthday came, then Thanksgiving morning, followed by a bit of contentment in my soul. I thought, Maybe I can make it through working again. So I forced myself up. And out. However, how could I forget about all of the potential triggers awaiting me? At least at home, I have some control over my environment. So off we went...the kids to school. Me to my job.
Upon arriving to my office, I forced myself to have a prayer time since I didn’t achieve that goal before leaving for the day. I looked at the date twice...once in my daily grief meditations book and again when looking at the readings for today. However, the date still didn’t sink into my thick scarred skin.
Then, a few triggers as the morning manifested, another look at the calendar, and then BAM. It’s been six months. Six months since we buried you. Six months since I looked at you for the last time before they closed your casket and sealed you behind a wall. Life can be so cruel. So unjust. Why does a mother bury her baby? The pain came rushing in, fresh and raw. My months will forever be marked by 22, 23, and 27. The days I lost you, left you, buried you. Scars on my years until I die.
No sooner after realizing the magnitude of the day, did an unexpected knock tap on my door from an old friend. It was good. But, wow, it was SO HARD, too. Your Daddy and I agree, each time we talk to someone for the first time about losing you, it’s like it IS the first time. It doesn’t matter the time span. The bandages get ripped off, and I become vulnerable and disbelieving and back in that tender, broken place where my heart is split wide open again. Hearing myself say the word “stillbirth” today shocked my own ears, as the reality of what happened fell heavy on my shoulders and nearly plummeted me to my knees. I cried. Hugged my old friend. Then after she left, looked at your picture and shed countless uncontrollable tears. How can this be true? It took some time to regain my composure, but from that point on, I went into survival mode. I just wanted to get through the rest of the work day. Get home. And get to your grave.
Before the sun set, we forced your siblings into the car. It breaks my heart that they don’t want to visit you anymore. Most often, they run around the green space while your Daddy and I stare in disbelief at the cold granite square, engraved with your beautiful name, delivery date, and quote we selected by Mother Teresa. The flowers we brought you last Wednesday on your half birthday still looked so beautiful today. Carnations. Pink infused orange with white stripes. They were delicate. They were lovely. They were gentle. They were perfect. Something drew me to them. I chose a bouquet still full of buds, so they would continue blooming in the days ahead. Blooming like you do in my heart each day. Unfolding into something beautiful and fragile and miraculous that I can’t remove my eyes from. After purchasing them, I looked up their symbolism. I often like to know if my intuition means anything. I read that pink carnations are a symbol of a Mother’s undying love for her children... “Pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary's tears – making them the symbol of a mother's undying love.” Well, isn’t that perfect then, my love?
We stood at your grave, and I tried to pray. I tried to talk to you. Did you hear me from my heart? While standing there, the song from your burial kept replaying in my mind, and I saw those moments so clearly. And I hated it. When I left your grave, I became so angry and agitated. I loathe the fact that when I leave, I am leaving you. And when I get back home, you are not here. I resent the realization, that you are really neither “there” nor “here.” These thoughts set me off into a melancholy evening. For the remainder of the night, I shed single tears that I tried to wipe away without another’s notice and carried around a heavy heart. I was also extremely impatient with your brothers and sisters. My heart was definitely NOT content. I grew bitter that this is the reality that we are forced to face. That we had to do hard things and continue so. That I had to deliver you in silence without a heartbeat. That I had to leave the hospital without you. That I had to bury you. That you are not latching onto me with a six month old clutch and filling our house with your giggles and squeals. Filling our home with a much awaited joy. And that I have all these scars and wounds that keep trying to heal, but are continuously reopening. Setbacks. They are a struggle.
Tomorrow is your sister’s 10th Birthday. My second child, my first daughter, is ten. How did this happen? I really struggle with birthdays. I think it’s because as your brothers and sisters get older, I have less control. And I hate feeling out of control. It also means that I am losing years with them, which brings up so much regret from how I have failed them and not been a good Mom for so many days of their years with me. I struggle the most with your sisters. And that is because I struggle with me. With my little girl hurts that I have tried to work through as an adult and seeing in them the things I don’t like about myself. This compounded with the reality that I wasn’t raised by a mother who loved me like I needed. Nor taught me the potential capacity of a mother’s tender heart. My example to follow is practically nonexistent. Scars. They have remained. And I worry that I’ve caused your sisters to have some, too.
I remember apologizing to you during that short time in the hospital at the three AM hour when we had a moment alone. I cried out to you and told you all of the things you were. Loved. Desired. My Freedom. Beauty. My healing baby. Perfection. A miracle. SO WANTED. And I felt great remorse for being fearful during my entire pregnancy that you would be a girl. When you were delivered and we heard those words in that dark hospital room, “IT’S A GIRL,” what remained of my world shattered into millions of pieces around me. At that moment, ALL I wanted was YOU. I wanted to raise you and be your mother. I knew I didn’t deserve another daughter. How could I have loved you how you needed when I haven’t loved them well enough? Because I don’t love myself? Because of my brokenness? Because of my scars?
I should have known. I should have known that I would lose you. That losing you would teach me how to love them better. And how to love myself. And how to love my scars. But I am a work in progress, and how I wish I didn’t have to learn this way. I need healing to manifest in so many areas. I wonder...do you know? Do you know about my past and the journey to my brokenness? If you do, I’m so sorry. But I would imagine that you have a wisdom that is so beyond me. I’m thankful that you don’t have any scars. I’m thankful you only knew love. Never pain. And now you know love and joy...eternally.
Pray for me, baby girl. Pray for your sisters, too. Especially your biggest on her birthday tomorrow. Pray that we can all embrace a celebration without you here, and that I can love them as they deserve while I still have them.
I love you forever.