Saturday, May 25, 2013

Still Standing

I am a strong ass person.  (I really wanted to write something else here, but edited it)

I survived every single hour of 365 days after my son, my sanity, my peace was torn away from me.  That's a lot of hours.  A lot of tears.  A lot of anger.  Of jealousy.  Man, a lot of jealousy.  Of unfairness.  All stemming from my pain.  So.  Much.  Pain.  

Survived Memorial Day, Ryan's first birthday, Father's Day,  4th of July, my 32nd birthday, my wedding anniversary, Jackson's third birthday,  my due date with Ethan, Caroline's fifth birthday, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Josh's birthday, Mother's Day, Ethan's birthday, the first anniversary of his death, and every other day in between.

I fucking did it.

Hard days will continue, assuredly.  But now I know I have done it before, so I can do it again.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Happy birthday sweet boy.  Happy birthday to you.

Celebrate in heaven with your friends for me.  Charlotte, Avery, Jack, Lila, Emily, Addy, Takoda, Delia, Paul, Albert, Gus, Alexander, Michael, Christopher, Mira, AdiaRose, Pili and so many more.  So many friends you must have up there.

But spend most of the day with us too, somehow.  Please...

Your cupcakes are baked.  Waiting to be frosted and sprinkled by your siblings tomorrow at some point.  Caroline and Jackson thought you would like vanilla with vanilla frosting - coincidentally the cupcakes that they love.  Jackson asked if you were going to come down from heaven tomorrow to eat yours.  Caroline told him no, that we would eat it for you.  But do come down.  Hear us sing to you.  Please do.

As a mom, celebrating your first birthday without you here in person shreds my heart.  But I am learning to stand again.  With a shredded heart.  And to start living again.  That's what this first year was about.  Surviving.

Thank you for teaching me what love is.  What strength is.  What humanity is.  You taught me these lessons in 4 short and long days a year ago.

So today is your birthday.  One year ago today I was blessed to have survived a very complicated c-section.  Apparently a 50-50 chance.  So today I thank God for the blessing of my life.  And I thank God for blessing me to be your mother.  So your birth story is fraught with trauma, lots of it.  Ending with the biggest trauma of all.  But your soul emanates love, and for that reason your death shall never overshadow your life.

Happy birthday sweet Ethan.  Love you,


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In his name...

I should be buying the cake mix, the #1 candle, the sprinkles and frosting tomorrow at the grocery store.  Baking them on Sunday to sing him happy birthday.  But I'm not.  Well, maybe I will still...but it won't be the way it should be.  That's for sure.

With Ethan's first birthday just four days away, I remember my biggest fear.  That the world will forget him.  I've done my best this year to assure that wouldn't happen.  But the fear remains in a dark corner of my being.  I know I won't forget him.  But will you?

Ethan's short and powerful life inspired great love.  Inspires great love.  Please help me to keep that in the present tense.  So the world doesn't forget Ethan.  So Ethan's love shapes the world for the better, making it impossible for the world to forget his sweet soul.

So this Sunday, May 19th, would you do a couple of things for me?  Would you tell Ethan happy birthday out loud?  So he knows that he is loved the world over?  Maybe even sing him happy birthday.  That would make me smile.

And would you spread a little love in Ethan's name on Sunday?  Do something nice for someone else. Show them love.  Go out of your way a little bit.  Maybe help someone who needs it.  Bring someone flowers to make them smile.  Donate to a charity.  Tell someone, or some people, how you value them.  Do something typically reserved for special days.  Remember Ethan when you do.  For May 19th is a special day.  Let's celebrate it with Ethan's Love...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hello again friends.

It's here.  The dreaded month of May.  With Mother's Day, and poor Josh's birthday (the day that we had the Norovirus and possibly triggered my water breaking), 10 days when I was on bed rest in the hospital a state away from most of my family, Ethan's birthday, the 4 beautiful and terrifying days in the NICU and then the first anniversary of Ethan's death.  Not too many things to trigger my PTSD and grief right?  Yeah, right.

So May started off decently, at least from the emotional side of things.  I was status quo with my emotions and grief - checking off one more day every night.  This was likely because my family had the flu, the actual influenza strain something or other, despite it being May and having had our flu shots.  My day to day was filled with nebulizers, asthma attacks, 105 fevers, Tylenol, croup, steroids, anti-biotics, ear infections, chest x-rays and lots of trips to the pharmacy, doctors, hospital and phone calls with the pediatricians office.  Thankfully we are on the other side of these illnesses, but there go my distractions.  And now May 10th is a couple of days away.  The day my healthy pregnancy went out the window, when my water broke.  So this May 10th I have scheduled a great friend and photographer to take family photos of us at the Boston Garden.  Doing our usual Swan Boats, Make Way for Ducklings statues and more.  I am praying the good weather holds and that the kids don't fall and get bruises, unicorns or scabs on their faces between now and then.  

So the other night I was a mess, for the first time in a couple of months probably.  The kind people don't see any longer.  The kind of old school sob that harked back to the first few months after Ethan's death.  The kind of cry that might cause others to question if I was really "OK?"  Nope, I wasn't last night.  To those readers who are fellow babyloss parents, you know the kind I speak of, don't you?  No explanation necessary.  Though most who read this journal of mine are friends or family...peaking into the journey that is a mother grieving her baby's death.  So for most of you, let me explain the kind of cry I speak of.  

The kind where my breath catches in my throat.  Quite literally, there is an unintentional pause in my breathing pattern that is uncomfortable and even painful a bit.  

The kind where my face is tight with the salty tears drying on my cheeks.  Saline drown my pours, leaving them simultaneously wet yet dry from the salt.

The kind where my eyes are sure to be red and puffy.  There is no need for a mirror to confirm this.  The swelling is tangible, and somehow stings a bit.  

The kind that evokes a true headache for me.  Someone who rarely gets one.  And it's the headache that calls me to bed afterward.

The kind where my nose is impressively stuffed yet runny at the same time.  How does that happen in the absence of a cold?  Evidence is displayed on my shirt and sleeves (gross, I know), because I am in too much pain to find a tissue.  

Now you have the picture.  This is what grief looks like.  Raw grief, that is.  

So two nights ago I had my real good cry, and the tears flowed easily.  I looked at pictures of Ethan again.  And not just the beautiful one of him taken just after birth - when his skin looked pink and he wasn't swollen.  My poor boy, he was so very sick.  I am comfortable with the process and interventions we allowed and supported during those 4 days...and am absolutely sure nothing was done in vain, to harm him, or to selfishly prolong his life to delay my pain.  But, it breaks my heart to remember just how sick he really was.  Maybe that seems obvious to those who read this.  Well, surely he was really sick, he died after all.  But I have somehow buffered myself from some of those details.  And taking the time to reflect allows me to see his medical journey clearly again.  No shock to tint the lense any longer.  No major depression to smudge my memories with endless tears.  Just the beautiful, terrifying truth that was my son's body.

Anyway, these last two days I have greeted my close friends again.  Anger.  Tears.  Jealousy.  Irritability.  And more.  Why hello there.  I wish I could say it was good to see you again.  But my heart is not that simple any longer.