Saturday, July 12, 2014

Happy Birthday My Love

Dearest Harper,

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 drowning
RaeAnn 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.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Independent Grief

Dear Harper, 

Today is July 4, 2014. It's scary, but I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing four years ago today. The next few days are burned into my mind, as vivid as if they were only yesterday. 

We spent the day at the farm, and I didn't feel good. I did a lot of sitting because it was just too taxing to do much else. The kids played and lit fireworks, but I was just tired. Too tired to eat. To tired to sit. I was exhausted. 

It is four years later, and I am finding myself emersed in a sea of emotions. I am working on RAK for Harper to celebrate your life, but also mourning your death. I am unsure why, even as I write this with tears on the verge of spilling over onto my cheeks, this year has been the hardest so far. 

I am finding it difficult to sleep, difficult to eat, really, just difficult to function at the normal level. My aches and pains have worsened, dreams are more nightmarish and exhausting than not sleeping. 

Some say that it is your sister, seeing her doing things you should be doing but you can't because you're not here. Others say it is because I've had too much downtime. I think it is solely because I miss you. 

I think it is because life is finding it's natural rythm, leaving more time for my soul to finally process the hurt I am experiencing. 

In 5 days time, it will be four years since the doctor looked at me and said "I'm so sorry, kiddo. There is no heartbeat." And I think about how that makes me ache all over. No mother wants to give her child back and I was forced to do so. 

Fourth of July was a long and exhausting, if I had only known then what was coming...if I had only known, maybe I would have tried harder to enjoy myself at the cookout. 

July 5 was a much better day, I put on some shorts and baggy shirt, and I sat in the kiddie pool while your brother and sister splashed me. I think you really loved it, you were moving like crazy. The kids enjoyed it so much, our home is littered with pictures of them from that day. We were outside all day, soaking up the rays, talking about how life was going to change when you arrived...if we had only known. I would give anything to be that innocent again. To be free of the ever present grief. 

I feel like I have reached a point in my life, where I can truly grieve. I have time to begin to understand the heartache. I have time to process the emotions and work through them as they come. No longer do I have to frantically push them down and lock them away because I have kids who need me to be super mom. 

As I lay here, wide awake and exhausted at the same time, I cannot help but wander through those last few days with you. Remembering all of those fleeting moments. Realizing the finality in it all. I weep in intermittences without warning or provocation, because you're not here and I just miss you. 

Fireworks are booming in the distance and my heart is pounding to their beat as I lay here and wonder about you. How life could have been. I think it's the ever looming what ifs, and what could have beens that I miss almost as much as I miss you. You would be nearing four, we should be celebrating with a party suited for a princess, instead I am planning a memorial in your honor. 

My heart is hurting this year, and I can only say that I miss you more than these letters could ever begin to express. 

As those fireworks boom into the heavens with you please know that I love you with all I have and that I am here, remembering you, your precious face, and perfect tiny fingers and toes. 

I love you sweet bean,