Where I Am Right Now – 11 Months Later

The flashbacks are like a movie playing in my mind most days. 3D has nothing on my memories. I’m taken straight back to February.  11 short months ago. I remember what the cramps felt like. I remember curling into a ball in my bed begging the pain to stop. I remember my best friend calling and telling me that she thought I was in labour. I remember the look on the doctor’s face. I remember the look on my dad’s face when I got off the elevator after the ultrasound confirmed my worst nightmare (the thought is bringing tears to my eyes as I write this).  I remember wailing for her, and apologizing to everyone for being unable to do what a mother is supposed to. I remember not wanting to tell anyone what had happened. I remember holding her tiny 5lb1oz body for the first and last time. I remember them wheeling her crib out of the room, knowing I would never hold her again.

11 months seems like it has passed in the blink of an eye, and crawled by, all at the same time.

When I found out I was pregnant again, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy nine months. Between worrying about people’s reactions (because contrary to a lot of opinion, this pregnancy won’t ‘fix’ me) and constant concern over what’s happening inside of my stretching stomach, it’s been extraordinarily draining and stressful. And I still have 21 weeks to go.

People tell me it’s going to be ok. They’re trying to be reassuring; they tell me to think positive. But it doesn’t help. I got a lot of “this Christmas will be hard, but next Christmas will be different”. But how do they know? It’s hard for my mind not to wander to that dark place. Because in my experience, when I’m pregnant,  the baby dies. I don’t know what a happy ending feels like.

Everlee is a big sister. These words make me weak in my knees. So many emotions. More than I am able to express in any sort of tangible way. I am so excited. But I am so incredibly scared. What if it happens again? What if something goes wrong? What if people forget about Everlee? That’s the big one – The fear that I haven’t been able to put into words. That’s the reason I haven’t been able to write much. My excitement is overwhelming, but my heart aches from missing my little girl.

While there are no guarantees, no promises, I know this baby is a gift – My very own rainbow. My rainbow that deserves its own excitement, of hopes and dreams.  I have been repressing all of my excitement out of fear. This baby deserves better than that, and that’s not how I want to remember Everlee either, with fear. Not everyone gets a rainbow, and I have to be thankful for that, thankful that my little girl gets to be a big sister.

Happy 11 month birthday, beautiful little girl. 

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Choosing Happiness

I’ve spent a lot of time punishing myself.  When your baby dies it’s hard to see beyond the fact that you feel like a failure as a parent, and a human being.  As a mother, my only job was to keep my baby safe and alive. And I failed. Was it my fault? No. I know that. But the overwhelming sense of guilt sometimes causes me to punish myself for feeling anything but incredible sadness.

It’s hard for anyone who hasn’t walked in my shoes to imagine. The only  way I can possibly draw some parallel for those with living children is to imagine a time something has happened to your child – a bumped head or a scarped knee- because you maybe turned your back for a second. Imagine that guilt. Imagine how you questioned in that instant “if only I hadn’t turned my back for a second?”. Imagine that times about eight hundred million. I will always question what I could have done differently to save her, and I will always feel guilty that I am the one that lived while she was the one that died. It’s a mother’s guilt.

I’ve been trying very hard for the last little while to wake up and choose to be happy that day. Happiness has to be a choice for me.  I don’t just wake up feeling that way. I wake up every day with a feeling of emptiness, and that looming sense that something is missing. I honestly believe that every day for the rest of my life will have that hole in it. I will always wake up feeling sad and confused and empty Therefore, I have to make the conscious choice that despite everything that is missing, it’s still OK to feel happiness.  I deserve to be happy.  Worrying and punishing myself will never change the outcome of what has happened.  I have to start treating the world better than it has treated me, or I will never have a good day again.

These last two months I feel like I have turned a corner on my grief.

I still have awful days. I didn’t anticipate how hard Halloween would be. It makes me fear Christmas. I sat on my couch, home alone on Halloween night, begging to the universe not to send any more trick-or-treaters to my door. I cried my heart out over a “my first Halloween” sleeper that I had bought last year. I hugged it to my chest and cried. I cried because I should have been out with Everlee in her octopus costume. I cried for all of my lost dreams.

But those days are becoming farther between. I’m choosing every day to find some happiness, and to feel the love that I am so lucky to have found in my life.  I can’t believe that when things change I will be happy, instead now I am trying to believe that when I am happy things will change. I have found a place where I accept that I can be happy, and be still be sad and be grieving at the same time.  I don’t need to feel guilty when I laugh, or when I love. It’s not betraying my daughter to find happiness in my life.

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. 

28 Lessons in 28 years

For as long as I can remember, my birthday has been my favourite day. I’ve always been the kind of person who craves being the centre of attention, so it’s only natural that a day focused solely on the celebration of me would be my most favourite holiday (yeah, it’s a holiday in my mind). When I turned 27 last year I lamented on how my birthday would never be the same again. I remember Darcy telling me that the day would no longer be all about me anymore, that next year I would be a mom, and the day would inevitably be about doing something with our child.

How little we knew.

Yesterday was incredible. The best day I’ve had since last year, easily. Darcy gave me at new smart TV for my birthday (I can finally watch the news and On Point! It has an antenna so I can pick up CBC). I got two bouquets of flowers, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of wine and a Starbucks card at work. A very dear friend took me out to lunch, I went to the works for supper and an amazing friend called into the restaurant and picked up the tab (so incredibly sweet!!) , Got to talk to my family in Ontario and my God baby and her brother (and their lovely momma) and ended the evening with some champagne. It was just an amazing amazing day. THANK YOU to everyone who took time out of their day to help make my day so special. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

I’ve always liked to reflect on things that a new year of life has taught me, and this year, more than most, I have learned some of the harshest lessons that reality has to offer.  But, I have had 28 years to learn all kinds of valuable life lessons, and in the spirit of beginning another trip around the sun, here are 28 things I have learned at 28.

 

  1. Happiness is a choice. The past will hurt you if you choose to let it. You can grow stronger from pain if you don’t let it destroy you.  This has become my everyday reality for the last 9 months. I constantly have to remind myself that I can choose to be happy. That I have to take everything as a bump that will make me stronger. Even in my sadness I can find moments of happy and it’s one of the hardest things that I have ever done. 
  2. When you change it doesn’t mean others are changing with you.  I have been blessed to have some of the most amazing people in my life. The saddest part about growing apart is that people seldom do it at the same time. For various reasons people come and go in life, but what’s important is never forgetting what those people taught you.
  3. If you love someone, tell them. You never know when it might be your last chance. Love without fear. Your heart won’t lie to you. 
  4. You can never take too many pictures. Someday you’ll long to have evidence of those memories you hold dear. There are periods of my life that I wish I had more pictures of, even now. My time in England, high school, my pregnancy. Take the time to stop and smile. You’re beautiful. 
  5. Never let making a living get in the way of making a life.  A lesson taught to me early in my university life by the incredible Tom Brophy.  I am not my job. 
  6. Learn when to say, “no”. If you are always agreeable, people will take advantage of you.  Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, sometimes it just makes you a realistic one. 
  7. Stay true to your friends ALWAYS.  They’ll save your life in more ways than one. 
  8. Some people are jerks.  They’re not worth your time so don’t waste your breathe. Sometimes you have to give up on people. Not because you don’t care, but usually because they don’t.  
  9. Always wear incredible underwear. Even if you’re the only one who will see it that day. Good underwear make you feel like you can take on the world. 
  10. Don’t let comparing yourself to other people steal your joy.  I am not anyone else. They haven’t walked in my shoes. We haven’t had the same experiences. I will never be them. They will never be me. 
  11. Try not to be so hard on yourself. If someone talked about you the way you talked about yourself, would you be friends with them?
  12. Care about your appearance. This might go against every other “life lesson” list that you have ever read, but it’s completely ok to take pride in how you look. Do your hair, put on your makeup, and always dress up instead of dressing down. You’d be amazed what it does for your confidence, and you’ll never know who you’ll impress that day (especially yourself!) 
  13. Never let anyone borrow money. Give it away if you must, but don’t expect it back. Too many friendships have been sacrificed to unpaid debts. 
  14. Be thankful more often. Saying thank you, and honestly meaning it, is one of the most important interactions you can have with another person. 
  15. You don’t need everyone to like you. If everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong. 
  16. Believe in something.  God, science, humanity, yourself; we all need something to believe in.
  17. Bad things happen to good people. Believing anything else will cause you to lose faith in the world. Everyone has their own pain. It’s what you do with the pain that matters
  18. Take time to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where you’ll shine the most. 
  19. Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret. Calm down. Think before you speak. 
  20. Sometimes people thousands of miles away from you can make you feel better than somebody right beside you. You know who you are.  Some of the best and most amazing people I know are the ones I have spent the least amount of physical time with.  Sharing physical space with you is amazing, but it’s not needed to make you the most incredible friends. 
  21. No relationship is ever a waste of time.  I have been in some REALLY shitty relationships.  I don’t regret any of them. They taught me exactly what I needed to know at that moment. I could have been spared the pain and heartache, but I will forever be indebted for those lessons. They have made me the fiercely loyal and assertive person I have become.
  22. Winnie the Pooh holds many secrets to life. Seriously. The bear is WISE. 
  23. Open communication is key. If you have a problem with someone, tell them. Don’t shy away from confrontation. Passive-aggressiveness will get you nowhere. 
  24. Friendship is not a conditional thing. If you’re my friend, be my friend, do not be my friend under certain circumstances. If you decide to do that, you were my never my friend to begin with and I do not need you in my life.
  25. Just because is the best reason to do something nice for someone else. 
  26. Words to live by:  Picture yourself as a cup and Love as water. First you must fill the cup completely and it will overflow and spread around you. If you just spill it everywhere, you’re left empty. A dear friend taught me this when I was 15 and it literally saved my life.
  27. Beauty comes in all sizes.  Not just a size 5, or 12, or 16 or 22. ALL  SIZES.  Scales belong on a  fish. Health. Health is what’s important. If you’re not healthy you’ve got nothing.
  28.  Love yourself. Above all else. Love yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lies

When she died I had a choice.  I could give up or I could go forward.  For a moment the choice was absolutely clear.  When I was told that she was dead,  in that moment,  I could have followed her along directly.  A leap off the building.  A knife.  The wall and my head. But then right away thoughts of family and friends flooded my brain.  I had to be strong because this situation was already going to screw everything up forever and I couldn’t also double down and make it worse.

So for many, many months, not killing myself was the baseline I had established as “doing pretty good.”   Plus, when you start there, getting out of bed is like successfully climbing Mt. Everest.  I gave myself accolades for simply going outside for a little while.  But those impulses kept growing, kept beating in my heart, kept pushing me forward.  I learned to lie. “I’m ok”.  I learned to breathe again.  And yet I’m still not sure I can reconcile what my life should be versus what it is today, right here. Everything is always coming next, and it is the incredible human spirit that allows us to face the day and tell the lies and forge the hope we have no right to expect and yet we do.

I’m used to the lies by now.  They are common and easy to say.  I say them for the sake of other people, but also for myself.  I have to lie so that I’m not always the one that sucks the air out of a room, even if that room is the entire outdoors on a glorious fall day and someone has questions about me, about my life, about how I’m doing.  There is no point in ruining every idle conversation and friendly chatter with truth about my dead daughter, Everlee.

You’re welcome everyone that I have spared the honest recounting of my recent life.  It is the absolute least I can do, and it cuts me with a slice of sadness every time I do it.  Eight months since she died and it is still recent to me.  Because it is not so much that time has healed my wounds as much as it is that the wounds themselves are the very nature, the very fabric, of my everyday existence.  I miss Everlee as a matter of course, just like breathing, just like moving my body, like blinking, like the beat of my heart.

I am still amazed to have learned that a heart can remain beating when it feels like only dust and awful and the endless void inside.  I am compelled to go forward, no matter the pain of my past.  If anything, her lost life is a fuel for me to live twice as hard, twice as present, twice as calm as I ever would have before. 

This weekend I celebrated my 28th birthday. (My birthday is actually next Monday, but for scheduling purposes I held my celebration this weekend). My birthday has always been my favourite day. I remember having to scale back my celebrations last year because I was beginning to get to that stage in pregnancy where going out just wasn’t a wise choice. I remember thinking at the time that maybe for my 28th birthday the baby, Everlee, could have her first sleepover to that we could have a party at the house once again.

How silly. I had no right to expect that to happen.

I was truly on the fence about whether I wanted to celebrate this year. It seems to me that I don’t have much to celebrate most days. But I had to push forward. I am so glad that I did. I am constantly reminded at every turn, that despite how incredibly tragic my life has been at this juncture, I have also been incredibly blessed with people who stand by me, people who will take the time to lift me up when I can barely life my head to look at the world. I had an amazing night. With amazing people.

Am I ok? No. I don’t know when I’ll be able to say “I’m ok” and mean it when people ask me how I am. But those little lies get me through that minute, that hour, that day. Convincing other people is easy. And maybe if I have enough of those little moments of good, soon I’ll start to believe the lies too. And maybe someday soon they’ll become my truth again.

Thank you everyone for making this weekend something truly special for me. 

Giving Thanks

This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Although it’s not quite the production it often is to our neighbours in the south, I generally like to take time to use this weekend to reflect on all of the things I’m thankful for. It’s hard to do that at the particular juncture in my life, not because I don’t have a lot of incredible things in my life, but because I have been so focused on the darkness, sometimes it’s hard to see the good.

Last year, I spent thanksgiving weekend in Ontario. Niagara falls, more specifically. Two of my good friends were married on the Maid of the Mist in the sweetest (and quickest!) ceremony I have ever seen. We spent Friday nigth at the keg, watching the fireworks over the falls, and saturday enjoying the wedding ceremony. My love, Brayden (my God-daughter’s  brother) was with us, and I was over the moon happy. Spending time with the Hoy children is where I am about my happiest. I was about 16 weeks pregnant at the time. It was that weekend that I felt Everlee kick for the first time (after drinking Starbucks… just like Momma!).

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A lot has changed since that week. I have gone from my highest high, to my lowest low in the matter of a short year. I spend a lot of time dwelling on the things that keep my heart heavy. It has consumed me for the last 8 months. So today, I want to take time to write about what I’m thankful for:

Love – I am so thankful for all of the love I have in my life. I have been surrounded by an out pouring of love from near and far. From the people closest to me, the people I least expected and from complete strangers who only know me because of what I write here. I have found love in the most unexpected places in life. I am so thankful to have been blessed to know what love feels like. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I have lost. I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about all of the beauty and love that surround me. I am so thankful for that love. A wise person once said: To love a person it to see all of their magic, and to remind them of it when they have forgotten. Thank you.

Family – My parents, my in-laws, my sister, and my best friend, Darcy. I wouldn’t be here without you. I mean that. Life wouldn’t be worth living anymore if I didn’t have you. For everything you have done, and everything you continue to do to make me believe that life is worth getting out of bed for in the morning. You continue to shape who I am and how I grow as a person. Thank you.

Friends – Friends are the family you get to choose. And you are all the best decisions I have ever made. I have had a lot of the same best friends for over 20 years. Through my highest highs, and my lowest lows. I love you more than life. I also have a lot of friends who have recently come into my life, over just the last few years. They didn’t need to stick by me. They weren’t obligated by time and circumstance to do so. But they did. And they have shown how truly blessed I am to have each and every one of them in my life. I have never been somebody who trusts, or lets people in easily. But you are here for a reason. I only hope that someday I am able to be the kind of friend to you that you have been to me. You have believed in me so much, that I am actually starting to believe in myself. You love me for simply being me. You are once in a lifetime kind of people. You may think you know who your best friends are, but you really won’t until you hit rock bottom. Thank you.

Health – I never really understood the concept of mental health until this year. I thought I did. But I really didn’t. On so many levels I am so much stronger than I like to admit to myself most times. Health is hope, and hope is everything. I am so thankful for the wonderful doctors and especially the wonderful nurses that I have encountered in the last year. They are the ones that keep us all strong, in so many ways. I am thankful that my health has finally reached a point where I can try to make Everlee a big sister. I am so thankful for Miranda, my psychologist. She probably knows more about me than anyone on the planet. She has helped me see light when I am seeing nothing but darkness. It’s so true, that if you don’t have your health you have nothing. I am so thankful to have my health back to a place where I am not worried about myself.

Politics – You might laugh at this one. But politics has been a huge part of my adult life. It has my been passion since I had any idea what government was. Politics was what brought me back to caring about things outside of myself again. My party is like part of my family. I am thankful to be a part of a party that values me and my voice. I am thankful that the people in power have listened to my concerns not only about the issuing of stillbirth certificates in the province, but also on issues relating to fertility issues in the province, and issues important to young families like mine. I am thankful that we live in freedom, and that we can support or criticize our government without fear or reservation. I am thankful that we are in such a great place in the provinces history. And I am thankful for all of the amazing people I have met and fell in love with because of politics.

You – I wrote this blog expecting no one to read it but my close family and friends. And they’re here. But so are so many other people who only know me in passing, or don’t know me at all. almost 75k visitors and counting. Over 600 regular readers. You’re here and you continue to read about my darling little girl. You know she was here, and you know that she mattered and she was loved. You follow our journey and you genuinely care about us. You’ve sent messages, emails, cards, and even sent gifts to us. Having this blog has allowed me to find my voice and speak out to help those who walk this dark and lonely road in baby-lost-land. Thank you for being a part of our lives.

Being Everlee’s Mom – Everybody has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the way they were. For me, that something has been becoming a mom to Everlee. Being Everlee’s mom has been the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I hate that she is gone. I hate it. And I miss her more with every second that passes. But those nine months we were together were the most happy I have ever been. I wouldn’t trade that. I wouldn’t not want to know that joy. No matter how painful it is now, I am so thankful for the much too short time I had her. so more than anything this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for being her mommy, and for all of the love and understanding she has brought to my life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

A Good Day

First off let me say thank you, from the bottom on my heart, to the people who sent me good wishes and all of the luck they had for my appointment yesterday. After a number of months waiting to get to see the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist, I finally had my appointment with her yesterday morning.

To say I was terrified about this appointment would be an understatement. She was what stood between me and making Everlee a big sister. It was possible she would tell me that I could never get pregnant again. Or, that I shouldn’t because the risk was too high. Everything about my future was in her hands.

8%.

That’s the chance that another pregnancy will result in an abruption like the one that took Everlee. Any chance is too high, but an 8% chance of it happening again means that there’s a 92% chance it won’t, right?

After a long appointment, with talk of lots of numbers, and ratios, chances and preventative measures, the MFM gave me the news I have been waiting to hear – I can get pregnant again. It won’t be easy getting there, and pregnancy won’t be easy if we do. But I can try.

So in the coming weeks I will start fertility treatments. I saw the doctor this morning who was the one who upset me back in May. With the first glimpse she got of me her first reaction was to say “WOW! how much have you lost”. I told her. She told me I looked great. And then she acted like nothing had ever happened and the appointment continued. She told me how we would proceed, and I went on my way.

I’ve decided, for the time being I want to keep that part of my life private. Fertility treatments are an emotional roller coaster. A game of hurry up and wait. They’re stressful under the most normal of circumstances. With the added stress of my previous pregnancy, I don’t feel it will be helpful for me to agonize over every minute of it. Above anything what doctors have told me is that I need to remain calm and keep my anxiety low to help with my fertility and keep any new pregnancy healthy. I need to try to be stress free. Doctors orders. And constantly being asked, or talking about what my body is going through is stressful to me. When there is something to update on, I will do so, but for the time being, this blog won’t be used to talk about fertility treatments and in all likelihood, until it’s painfully obvious, I probably won’t tell anyone when I am pregnant.

So that’s the update. Yesterday was a good day. I had a good night with good friends last night. It’s the first date I can touch on the calendar to say that I had a good day. So thank you, to everyone who made that possible. This is what hope feels like.

Purpose

I am, and always have been, fiercely independent. But I am also terrified of being alone. I have been so lucky to have the most amazing people surrounding me throughout this nightmare. Friends who try (as hard as they might)  to pick me up. And friends who, when they discovered I couldn’t be picked up, laid down beside me to listen for awhile. You have loved me at my darkest.  But despite that, I have felt so utterly alone in all of this. Not because they haven’t been incredibly supportive, but because there’s just no possible way they could understand.

Yesterday someone I know posted this blog post on my facebook wall:

http://facetsoflifeafterloss.blogspot.ca/2013/08/dear-non-bereaved-mama-with-love.html

It’s a letter to mothers with their children from a bereaved mother.  I have read literally hundreds of articles and blogs over the last 7 months, but none of them have resonated with me the way this one has.  It’s like she reached into my soul and pulled out the ords I couldn’t find.

I am so grateful that you don’t know how life is after the loss of your child.  I am so grateful that you don’t know the pain, the heartache or the desperation that takes occupancy within my heart.

Sometimes I wish you would just “understand” me, but then again I am so grateful that you don’t.

Sometimes all I want to do is sleep and sometimes I am afraid to.

Sometimes I am so sad.

Sometimes it is too hard to look in the mirror because there I see the pain in my eyes that I feel in my heart.

Sometimes I want to tell you how hard it is but I have resorted to just telling you I am “okay,” that’s what the world thinks I should be anyway.  Sometimes it is easier to just be “okay” in society until I get home to silence and then, then I wish I had a friend.

The loneliness struck again this week. I thought back to the day we came home from the hospital after leaving Everlee.  Led through the back halls of the hospital.  Empty handed.  Darcy didn’t have to walk into the hospital with an empty car seat, and carry her out to the car for the first time. I remember that feeling of extreme isolation.  That no one I knew – not a single person – understood what it felt like to deliver their full-term baby after they already knew she was gone. 

I don’t let people in often. I may seem like the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve, because I have been so brutally honest with my feelings and my grief here. But believe me when I say that there is so much, and so many thoughts and feelings that I don’t share here. Fear of being judged and  fear of losing control stop the words from escaping my finger tips. But this blog has allowed me to open up in ways I never have before. I don’t let people see me like this. If I tell you that you’re my friend that means a lot. If I tell you that I love you, know that it’s not a phrase or expression and know that I actually love you in the best and most honest ways that I can. And if I tell you that I trust you, know that you are among the elite in my life. But even then, opening up is so very hard for me.

But all of this pain has to have a purpose. If it doesn’t, I might as well wither away and die. I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say “because of you, I didn’t give up”. That thought it what keeps me going. That thought it what keeps me writing. Everlee can’t have died in vain. If she has, then I have no reason to keep going. Her life, no matter how short, has a purpose. And it’s my job to fulfill that now

Because of you,  Everlee, I’ve had to grow thicker skin and be stronger than I ever knew I could possibly be, even though most days I barely have the strength to lift my head to look at the world. I’ve had to accept that terrible things happen. To good people, even.  And there’s nothing you can do to change it or fix it. I’ve had to learn how to accept things I never wanted to accept.  I’ve had to learn to make myself laugh again. To want to live life again. To find joy again.

 

Day 2

I remember wondering in those first days and weeks after we lost Everlee if I would ever make it through a day without crying ever again. I don’t remember when it happened, I’m sure it wasn’t a particularly momentous day. But it happened none the less. I still cry more days than I don’t. I usually cry quietly to myself in the darkness of night now. But, usually, I can muster the strength to make it through the daylight hours without letting my heart leak onto my face. I have always hated showing any outward sign of weakness. That part of me soldiers on. Funny, when you consider how I’ve chosen to make some of my most personal and vulnerable thoughts so public here.

These last three days, I have had reminiscent feelings of those first few weeks. The anxiety has returned tenfold. If you’re having a bad day today, consider this: I threw up in the shower this morning. Note to self: don’t eat breakfast for the next few days, and hope that this wave of intensity passes. A little perspective. And as I picked up my coffee at Starbucks and headed onto the onramp to the highway toward my office for the second time this week it started. The tightness in my chest, that hot burning feeling at the back of my eye balls, the topsy-turvy feeling in my tummy, the dryness in my throat. And then came the tears.

And I wondered aloud (as I often do have very meaningful discussion with myself out loud when driving alone) “will I ever be able to drive to work without bursting into tears? Will I ever make it through a day at work without having to go lock myself in the bathroom to cry?”. As a wise man once taught me (thank you for *everything* but especially this Mr. Duffenais) Tomorrow is a better day. Hopefully some day in the not so distant future, on some not particularly momentous day, I’ll make into work dry-eyed. And hopefully some day soon people won’t pass my open office door and wonder if they should pop their head in to say hello. And hopefully some day soon I won’t have to work myself up for 45 minutes to be able to walk to the cafeteria to get a yogurt for my break. And hopefully someday soon I won’t have to think about all of these things so intently.

This grief thing is never ending. Time diminishes the intensity of it, or maybe, time diminishes the frequency of intense periods. Because when the waves crest, the intensity of the anger, resentment, guilt, and sadness is raw and painful like that of the first weeks after it happened. Acute, deep, and fierce.

There are times when, out of the blue, the tears well up and my face turns hot. Maybe there was a trigger – a new baby born, seeing a Facebook post about how someone else is pregnant and not me, or catching the faint smell of new furniture still wafting from her closed bedroom door. Maybe it was nothing at all, Just sudden, inundating sadness. But it’s always there. Picking at my soul. Always on the periphery of my mind. Always something missing. That is how the rest of my life will be. I believe someday the grief won’t be as intense. But it will be always present in my life. It’s my new normal.

The Walk To Remember

I know there are a lot of people who read my blog silently. They never comment. They never give me any indication that they have read it. But the numbers speak for themselves. Over 600 readers per entry, on average. And sometimes they’re not silent. I am so lucky to have received beautiful emails from people in my own backyard, and people from across the world who know and understand what it’s like to be a mommy to a baby like Everlee. Whether I hear from you or not, if you are part of this baby lost world, thank you for reading, and thank you for being on this journey with me. And so, in that spirit I want to use my blog to tell those mothers like me about an event that was brought to my attention recently (Thank you CB for passing this information along. Below is the information sent to me from Jacintha Penney of pastoral care at the Health Sciences here in St. John’s.

The Walk to Remember is for women and families who have experienced peri-natal loss like miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, newborn death, etc. On Sunday October 6th We meet at the Bungalow at 2pm on in Bowring Park. There is a brief program where we read the names of babies who have died and have a musical selection. You will be given some Baby’s Breath and invited to wear a pink or blue ribbon. People not sure of the sex of their baby can wear a white, yellow, or green ribbon. Then, we have a short walk “around the loop” to an area known as Angels’ Grove. This will be the 16th year that a commemorative tree planting ceremony has taken place to honour our children. Afterwards, we have a social time and there are cookies and coffee/tea/juice.
Some women come alone or with their partner. Others bring their families. It all depends on what people find personally meaningful. Please give me a call at 777-6959 if you have any questions or if I haven’t explained this well enough. We try and start at 2pm so it’s always good if people show up a bit before then.

I will be attending. And invite those moms who may be out there who read my blog to come along as well. I have met so many people who have told me that they’ve only recently found strength to talk about their lost babies because I have written about Everlee. I will be there to remember my daughter, and the children of others who are loved and lost. And I would love to remember others with her and meet other parents like me. if anyone would like to reach out to me about this please do so. My email is rhonda dot mcmeekin at gmail dot com. I answer every email I get.

Tick Tock.

I was going to wait until tomorrow to write an entry, but the urge overwhelmed me. I’m sitting here in my basement, quietly packing up my personal things to bring back to my office tomorrow. My degrees, my Mr Potato Head, my photos. Tomorrow, I ease back into the land of the living.

They are things that it seems like only yesterday I hastily packed away into a bag as I was leaving work when my doctors ordered me home on bed rest. I was excited then. I was only a few short weeks from becoming a mom. 

I made comments to people like “I’ll see you in a year” or “next time you see me I’ll have my baby with me!”

How stupid I was. I couldn’t have known then. But how ignorant and foolish I feel now looking back on myself. 

On the long and winding journey through grief there are many markers along the road. Anniversaries, firsts, a certain number of good days in a row. Some of them creep up on you and give you no time to prepare. Other times you can watch yourself come upon them, and every ounce of your being says NO NO NO. And you dig in your heels and try to stop them from rushing up at you. 

Because who wants to move one single inch, one single second, further from the last moment they held their baby in their body, in their arms?

Tick. Tock. and the moments without her zoom past.  

Instead of having a baby to show off when they see me, now they can see the shiny new headstone that was put in place this week for Everlee. I hate that this wretched thing has to exist. But, for what it is, it’s beautiful. 

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I’ve had a massive headache all day. My back has been tangled in knots. My stomach has rolled all day long. I love my job. I love my workplace. I love my coworkers. My doubt, anxiety and fear has nothing to do with any of those things. It’s a monster that lives in me.  I’m prepared that people will say the wrong thing sometimes., I’m prepared that some people may not know. I’m prepared for the breakdowns that i will inevitably have. But, what I fear more than anything is that the thought of taking this massive leap forward will somehow make people think that I’m better. That it will make them think I’ve moved on. 

I went out last night in attempt to bring some closure to my time off. A friend and I went to Erin’s Pub to listen to some irish music and have a few pints. And as I sat there and the listened I found my mind wandering from the music back to the case room.  For the last seven months I’ve suffered from flashbacks. Not passing memories. Flashbacks. I was there. I was back in the room. I was flooded with emotions. And every ounce of me felt the same sting of hot, raw, emotions. 

How could anyone think I have moved on, when I relive those moments, and live with the real pain every single moment of the day.  

If I waited to feel better, or to have moved on I would never be going back to work.  

I wish I could put her picture on my desk. I want to be able to look at her with the adoration she deserves. Everyone else has pictures of their children on their desk. But that’s just one more aspect of motherhood that I don’t get to have. 

So tomorrow, I make my first foray back into the land of the living, but on the inside, I’m still feeling like I’m in the world of the dead. 

Wish me luck.