Today marks four years since you crept into the world in a deafening silence. No cry, not a single breath, just silence so loud that it could shatter glass, and hearts. I remember those moments as if they were only yesterday, how could one not, the memory of you burnt into my brain as it were branded in with a hot iron. You. Were. Beautiful.
I held you, for hours, memorizing every inch of you, from your cap of black curly hair to how your fingers were long and slender, and perfect. It has been four years since I handed you over to our nurse for the last time. I watched her wheel you down the hall, and I thought to myself, how does anyone survive this? I watched the nurses take a piece of my soul, and I handed it over willingly because I had no other option. How does a mother survive giving back her child?
It has been four years since you died, since my heart was broken, and piece of me went with you. I understand that unless you have been through the loss of a child yourself, you don’t fully grasp the concept of the amount of grief a mother is burdened with. It is an insurmountable task to overcome; in all honesty, a mother never gets over it. No matter what the reports from tests say, you feel some fault, some sort of failure because that is what your body is made for, to grow and nurture, and birth a child, and when your body fails you, and you lose a child, it is a sea of feelings you must wade through. Even the fathers of the babies lost do not quite understand what is happening in your head and heart, the battle that rages within.
Often, people ignore the subject because it is so taboo to talk about the baby that died. It is, at times, the elephant in the room that is seemingly invisible. I have watched as people tip toe around it, ignore it completely, and then there are those who have no comprehension of how far you’ve come in your journey and they criticize you for still being sad, even four years later. I am the first to tell you, I have more good days than bad, and those bad days are few and far between because I finally allowed myself to relish in the happiness of my little family, even if it is incomplete without you. But, I still have bad days, because I miss you. I would question my own self if this ever changed. I will always miss you because the heart wants what it wants and it wants you to be here so it can be complete again.
Criticizing grief is like throwing an anchor to a person who is already drowningRaeAnn Fredrickson
I have my moments, we all do. My heart aches when I realize that I won’t ever hear your first word, see your first steps, or ever see you dance in a recital with your sisters. It leaves room for many moments of pondering. Wondering what your hair would look like, what your tiny voice would sound like, what your favorite show would be, would you like pirates like your baby sister? It is in these moments that a pang hits my heart because I miss you. And I realize that I will always be left with those things to wonder about. But this is my life; this is the path that has been chosen for me to walk down. Someone had to be the one in one million.
I have come a long way in the last four years. I went from being unable to escape my bed, to being unable to escape irrational fears of losing your sister, to watching your siblings grow into these beautiful little people, and being able to ENJOY it, it is something I never thought I would find again. I never thought that I would be able to be happy again. You showed me the way back to happiness, a way to honor your memory while still living my life. You guided me to where I am at today, helping me to find the silver lining in all the storm clouds that are sent my way. Last year RAK for Harper went international, and people all around the world took a moment to do a random act of kindness for someone in your honor. This made your birthday so meaningful. To know your name, your tiny life was celebrated all over the world. What mother would not be proud?
It is unbelievable that four years have passed since I last kissed the top of your head and breathed deeply your scent, whispering all those I love yous in your ear. I have so many things I never had the chance to tell you because I was riddled with the wounds of grief. I will settle for being able to tell you here. I love you Harper, more than words written could ever explain. You will always be my daughter, and that love will never change. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to be your mom.
If I had one wish for your birthday, it would be to send you all the love and kisses I have missed out on giving you over the last four years. One day, I can only hope that I get that chance.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl, I love you and I miss you.