Tag Archives: child loss

Happy 7th Birthday

A little delayed…

Dear Bennett,

I cannot believe that you would have been 7 years old last May. I still picture you as a chubby and adventurous toddler. I’m at a loss at how to wrap my head around who you would be as a 7 year old.

I think of all of the first rights of passage that you have missed at this age. First day of school, first best friend, to name a few. It makes me so sad to think of all that you have been robbed of.

Every once in awhile I see a boy your age and I pause. I try very hard to see you, who you would be. It’s hard. There was a boy at the playground your age with your name right after your birthday. But I’m sure you already knew that.

If you were still here, you’d be enjoying your summer break and gearing up to enter second grade. That seems impossible to me. You’d probably play all kinds of sports and we wouldn’t know what to do with your fearlessness. My anxiety kicks into high gear just thinking about it.

It’s tough to watch your siblings grow and mature and only have those 18 months of memories with you. My mind cannot sometimes understand why that is. These 5 and a half years have really messed with my natural perspective on time.

It’s been rough. It’s hard to think of what it would be like because so much has changed. I have changed. When you died you took a piece of me with you and that’s ok. I wouldn’t want to be the same. I couldn’t be.

Keep sending those signs buddy and keep looking out for us. We need your love and guidance every day. Love you forever.

Love, Mom

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Untitled-Because That’s Where I’m At

Do things ever seem like they’re going so great, so you forget to let yourself grieve? I mean, we can’t forget to grieve, we’ve lost a piece of our selves. But do you ever not let yourself grieve?

I’ve started about 5 blog posts and written down a few more and just can’t get myself to finish them. I cannot make myself sit down and write them. It’s super frustrating. I cannot let myself go there right now. And I’m not even sure why.

Maybe I’m scared if I do, it will negate what’s going right in my life. And then I feel guilty if I’m not confronting my grief, because what kind of mom does that make me? There’s so much damn guilt in grief.

I remember being upset in the beginning of this journey for feeling happy. It just felt wrong. Happiness felt out of place in this new normal. Now I feel guilty for not allowing myself more time to confront the sadness. And there’s so much. Even after 5 years there’s so much more sadness. Especially in the month of May.

I’ve spent more of my life dealing with loss than not. And I still cannot figure this shit out. I am exhausted.

So my fellow grievers, none of this makes sense. There are no stages or steps to grief, just a person trying to survive the unthinkable any way that they can. And that’s ok.

My Miscarriage

In a perfect world, I would have 5 children. I cringe every time that I go to the doctor and they ask how many times I’ve been pregnant. I then have to tell them that I have 3 children at home, one that has died and I miscarried.

Im not sure I ever really processed my miscarriage beyond anger. We had just finally decided to start trying to get pregnant again after Benny died. It had been nearly a year and we were emerging from our grief fog and felt ready.

We were shocked when we were pregnant on our first shot. It took us four months with the previous two. It really made no sense, we were getting older, but alas, here we were. I saw the two pink lines on our eighth wedding anniversary. It felt like kismet.

I was excited and nervous. Still a little shocked it happened so quickly. We were due on May 8th, which happened to be exactly 6 months from when Benny died. It would have been a year after we buried Benny’s ashes.

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about all of that, but I decided it was life’s way of turning lemons into lemonade. Parker and I were truly excited. It was that hope that we had been looking for.

Then I got the call from the doctors office, my numbers weren’t increasing, my hormones weren’t going up enough to sustain a pregnancy. I started bleeding and as soon as it had started it all came crashing down. We barely made it 6 weeks.

I was beyond angry. How could this be happening after all that we had already gone through? It all felt very unfair and I was livid. It felt like we were in a better place with our lives and then this was a slap in the face. I felt cheated.

And I was alone. This loss was so completely different from losing my son. Few people tell people before 12 weeks. I now had to quietly grieve by myself. This was a different kind of hard.

I began to panic. What if I couldn’t get pregnant again or sustain a pregnancy? What if we weren’t able to have more children? I began to imagine the worst and try to figure out what our options were. We knew we wanted more children and that was the hope that propelled us forward.

Then one night about a month later I had a dream. It was about 2 little boys playing in the sand at the beach. One was Benny. I woke up and took a pregnancy test and was pregnant again. Before I could really even process my miscarriage, here I was again.

This time was different. I was anxious about miscarrying again and every other possible thing that could go wrong. I was really scared. I didn’t sleep because anxiety and pregnancy do not get along. I was a nervous wreck.

Something about that dream though took a little bit of the edge off. I felt like it was sign for me to breathe and know it would be ok. And it was Benny introducing me to his little brother Fletcher.

And here we are 5 years after that loss on May 8th. That babies due date. I’m the only one that grieves this day. Carrying this silent grief is tough. If you’ve lost a pregnancy I see you and I’m so sorry for your pain.

The Day They Forgot

This was the day I was dreading. They say it’s every parents nightmare when they have lost a child, that people will forget.

It’s been five years and they have moved on with their lives. I don’t want to say that we have too, we are learning to grow through our grief. Every day is different.

They were there. They saw us. They were with us. They grieved alongside us. But somehow they forgot him. Somehow they forgot what this did to us as a family.

I know that this is about their character, but it still hurts. It hurts to have to explain ourselves. It hurts that they are so far removed now that they just don’t get it. It hurts that they forgot.

I will never forget him. His dimpled smile is etched in my brain. The feel of him in my arms is locked safely within my heart. For me, he will never go away.

The Things People Say

So I was scrolling through the Facebook tonight and reading about a celebrity who had a mishap and their child was hurt as a result. I was impressed said celebrity kept it real and was willing to share that accidents happen. I was scrolling through the comments because let’s face it, the content there is usually better than the story. Then I ran into this little gem.

If you can’t tell, I’m feeling a little unsettled and snarky about this comment. On one hand I get that it’s a joke and said in jest. It was not said towards me or anyone in particular. Hell, I would have said something similar six years ago. Before I knew.

It turns my stomach a bit that she’s repeating what her doctor told her. What an awful thing for anyone that practices medicine to ever say. How absolutely horrified would I be if those words were spoken to me? The implication in them is that if your child isn’t still alive, than you as the parent are to blame.

It’s not funny anymore and I’m horrified that I ever joked in such a manner. Unfortunately we joke about it because we think it can never happen to us, it’s a way of distancing ourselves from that reality that death can happen. To anyone. At anytime. Even our children.

Know better, do better. That’s all that I can do.

When Your Rainbow Baby Asks Questions About Death

Growing up I had a cousin who was crossing the street by the school bus and was hit by a car and died. This happened roughly 15 years before I was born, so I never knew him. I remember seeing his picture in one of those collage frames from the 80’s at my grandmother’s house. I knew his name and how he had died but that was about it. I was a lot younger and it was a different time.

I now have 2 children that were born following the death of their older brother We (thankfully) live in the age where mental health is discussed openly and grief (for the most part) is acceptable. I can talk about how my husband, daughter and I were in therapy and how we’re dealing with PTSD and anxiety. And never ending grief.

The term rainbow baby is fairly new and for those of you that don’t know what it means it is the phrase for a child that is born following a loss or a miscarriage. It’s supposed to signify your ‘rainbow after the storm.’ While the term is not a favorite for everyone, it works for me better than describing my children as the ‘before and afters.’

Rainbows are new. We are living in a time where you acknowledge the loss of a child, even a young one. Their death is no longer swept under the carpet never to be spoken of again. I am raising 2 rainbows right now that will grow up knowing their deceased brother.

We go to the cemetery where there are toys. There are trucks and balls and buses and even Captain America. My rainbow son who is nearly 4 loves being there. He never knew his brother.

Death to him was a foreign concept. He has grown up knowing that his big brother is in heaven. He accepted that because that is all that he knows. Death was not sad to him, just a part of life. Until our dog died. Then death became real. I think it made him realize that his brother was here in the physical sense and is now gone. It made it real and it made it sad.

We drive by the cemetery several times a week and he says hi to his big brother and blows him kisses. Once the dog died the questions started. Is the dog with Benny? Why won’t Benny bring him back? He talks about how he misses the dog and also his brother and he just wants them to come home to play with him.

I never saw this coming. This is all so new and there is nothing in place on how to raise a rainbow baby. I am out of my depth here. Most days I’m just trying to make it through raising my children to be good humans and then bam! The questions start and the grief truck reels in and hits me square in the heart.

I try to answer him as honestly as I can. One of the best pieces of advice I was given by a therapist was to only answer the question being asked. As adults we analyze and obsess over some of our kids questions, but sometimes we just need to remember they are simple questions that only need simple answers. Kids don’t think with the complexity that we do. And my favorite answer sometimes is simply, ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t have all of the answers, even though as parents we feel that we should.

We talk about my son that died and we look at pictures with our kids. We celebrate his birthday because we want to remember that he was here and even though they didn’t know him, he was still their big brother.