For most, when January rings in the New Year their hearts and heads are filled with the hope of new beginnings and renewed perspective. And although part of me feels that way too, I can’t help but feel that with the crest of a new year, I am staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
February. The dead of winter. It’s cold. It’s dark. And it’s the month she died. The weather was bitterly cold and I took a grim satisfaction in how the bleakness mirrored my mood. It seemed only reasonable that the trees should be bare, the streets part-frozen and the skies a dull grey. It was like the world was grieving with me for that short period of time. It’s the last month she lived. It’s the month where life as I knew it ceased to exist.
I thought grief was linear. It’s not. I thought that the days she died and was born would be the worst days of my life. I thought it couldn’t get worse. But as the days and the weeks and the months crept by I started mourning and grieving in a way that I hadn’t fully done until that time. I wasn’t sleeping, I was staying up all night crying, reading articles about stillbirth so I didn’t feel so alone. I was seeking refuge in talking to strangers (become friends) online who understood where I was. I didn’t want to leave the house. When I did leave the house I felt so incredibly guilty. The rest of the world has this unspoken expectation that you should get better and move on; I felt like I was nowhere near that. It was still so recent—I kept thinking, Now I would have had a three-month-old, a four-month-old, a five-month-old…I was still scratching the surface understanding what this loss meant for me as a mother. Three years later, I still am. Now I would have a three year old.
Staring down the barrel of February I am filled with a mix of emotions where the loss still feels so recent, yet she feels so far. Sleep has been evading me again. The nightmares have returned with a vengeance and the flashbacks are becoming more frequent. My chest feels tight, my limbs feel heavy and I can’t remember how she smelled anymore and that breaks my heart. It’s times like these that I miss my Psychologist the most.
Yes, I’ve found love and happiness in my life again, but it has never stopped the insurmountable pain. There isn’t a second that goes by that I don’t feel the ache of her loss. The New Year brings new hope, but it also brings painful memories. I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve been hiding my tears from people. I’ve been spending sleepless nights seeking refuge in the internet’s deepest darkest corners where moms like me exist to support one another and I hug my living child a little tighter in the dim light of the quiet mornings. I’m finding it hard to find the words to express my thoughts and feelings in regards to learning to live without her. It’s something I neither expected nor wanted to learn. But there is unmatchable beauty in just being her mother forever. Today and always I will celebrate the beauty in that. It’s unbearable, but you bear it. And, you get to the point where even though it’s still a burden you bear, the weight doesn’t change, but it redistributes itself. Molds itself around this new person you’ve become and this new normal you live.