Missing our baby boy

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Thursday, July 22, 2010

10 Months

Sometimes, it feels like longer. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday.

I’m really not sure that I have anything to blog about at this point today. I just didn’t want to let the day go by without a nod to my little man. He’s not forgotten. He’ll never be forgotten.

I feel myself going back up the grief roller coaster as his first year comes closer to a close.

I’m just now understanding that Brayden is about to be a big brother before he got the chance to be a little brother. Our lost baby will soon be a middle child. The hole he left in our family and in our hearts will now be felt from all sides. I can’t describe how this makes me feel. I really can’t.

There just are no words for the pain at this point.

I love you, Brayden, and miss you each and every day. Every single day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

True Friends

“A true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes when everyone else believes the fake smile.”

I don’t know that a truer statement could be said.

I am lucky enough to have a friend in my life that knows me well enough to see through my fake smile to my pain. I don’t always like it; sometimes I wish I could fool everyone. I sincerely wish that all loss mothers had someone in their life like this. It’s unfortunate that we feel the need to fake a smile, force a laugh or converse when all we want to do sometimes is run screaming from the room. We don’t necessarily do it for us; it’s also for the benefit for those around us. And sometimes it gets really, really tiring.

I’ve lost track of how many plastic smiles and mindless conversations I’ve had these last few months. Times I can’t recall what I’ve said because “auto pilot” me has taken over. It’s not as bad as it once was, but it’s still a battle.

I get resentful at times. I resent those people who are so happy that I’ve “moved on” or “gotten over it”. No one has put it in those terms, but I have gotten “I knew you’d be just fine” and “I told you time would take care of everything”. Same thing. Sometimes I half expect a pat on the back while being told I'm such a trooper.

On the flip side, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in about a year. I knew the instant I ran into her that she had heard our news…she gave me “the look”. All loss moms know what I’m talking about. The softening of the eyes, the pursing of the lips into a smile that’s not a smile, head tilted to the side and the hands that are held out, inviting a tight hug or a strong hand squeeze.

I gave her “the treatment”. Something I’ve used for this type of occasion to divert late condolences or people in general who don’t take a hint: tell some happy news, change the subject and then make a quick exit. I have no need for more pity at this point, and I sure wasn’t ready to have a break down at the grocery store. So, I instantly perked and greeted her. I told her we were expecting again (happy news), told her we were on our way camping (subject change) and acted like we were in a hurry to get to our destination (quick exit).

She kept opening her mouth to talk between my ramblings, but in the end I think she could see what I was doing. So sad, because she was someone I honestly enjoyed talking to in the past. One day, maybe I’ll get the chance to. I know, knowing her, that if we ever really get the chance we’ll have to have “the talk” so she can hear it all. That’s okay, but it won’t be today.

Now I feel like I’m in the in-between. I don’t want to wear my grief openly, but I can’t ignore it, either – it’s part of who I am. I have a very select few friends (for sure one, maybe two or three…maybe) that fall in the in-between with me on this journey. With that kind of friend, I have balance. I’m okay to be fine; I’m okay to have a bad day. I’m okay to talk about whatever it is that’s on my mind at any time without worry of bringing them down or feeling like I’m burdening them.

These friends, I’ll keep forever. I sincerely wish that others like me have at least one like them.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Other people

Sometimes…I feel like such a fake. An alien dressed in human skin.

I still struggle occasionally with public places. Honestly, I don’t think it would be so bad if I didn’t live in such a small town where everyone…and I mean everyone…knows your business. It doesn’t help that I grew up here, so I also get to hear about the skeletons in my parents closets – and to a point, their parents closets - as well as my own.

Sometimes I feel like I have “LOST A CHILD” branded on my forehead. I catch people looking at me, but at first eye contact they look away. Most times, I know them. Lots of times it’s a friend of a friend, or an acquaintance from work or family.

Most people aren’t brave enough to hold eye contact and smile. No one approaches me, not any more. It happened a lot in the beginning, but now that some time has gone by and I’m not the new story in town it doesn’t happen so much.

I’ve lost a few friends…more than a few. I would be lying if I said that doesn’t hurt. It’s not like most of these people were close friends, or I knew them from way back. Just families that we use to get together with that conveniently don’t call anymore.

I feel ostracized, and there’s something I’d like to tell these people.

I want to say: Yes, it’s me. The woman who lost her baby. I’m not contagious; you can approach me. I’m not crazy; you can talk to me. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say; I may not either. Yes, I’ve changed; time does that regardless of what life throws at you. Get to know me again, if that’s the case. My arms are empty and so is my heart; be a friend and don’t ignore it, help me to heal. We experienced a loss of a child, not a loss of sight or hearing; don’t pretend like you did, either. If you see me, say hello and don’t turn away.

You may not understand what we’re going through, but you don’t have to. Ask me, if you want to know. It’s okay if you don’t. Maybe I don’t want to talk about it. Approach me and find out. Don’t cut me out because of an awkwardness you want to avoid; it may be for nothing. I’m still a person, not a leper, so please treat me like one.

Sometimes, I’m still sad; that should be understood, not feared. Sometimes, I want to pretend that my life is normal, just for a second and that this tragedy didn’t happen; that’s where you come in. Tell me about your life. What are you up to? What’s new with you? How’s your family? Because, maybe I don’t want to talk about me. Maybe I’m done talking about me. I want to feel normal so cheer me up, take my mind off of it. Be my friend.

If you can’t do these things for me then please, just keep walking. If my presence makes you uncomfortable, then go; the last thing I want is to bring someone down. But, if you want to talk to me, know about me or update me about you then please…do so. Don’t stand in between. Don’t stare at me and wonder; that hurts us both. Don’t look away as if you don’t know me; that achieves nothing. And, if I approach you, don’t be skittish; I’m not looking for a fresh ear for my grief.

A friend would be good right now.

Video Thoughts

I have been thinking a lot about making a video commemorating Brayden’s life. Malory at Every Life Has a Story makes beautiful videos with pictures and music, giving grieving parents something precious to hold onto and to remember their lost child. I thought, I can do this. I can make a video for Brayden.

The more I look into doing this, the more I’m not so sure I can. I can’t look at Brayden’s pictures for long before I just break down. I can’t imagine cropping them, playing with the tint and exposure, making cute backgrounds and adding music.

My hat’s off to Malory, who’s very first video was her daughters. She might be hearing from me if I can’t pull myself together enough to do this.

Sometimes, I think it would be a good project for me to work on. I love the finished product, and admit that I was addicted to watching each video on ELHAS…sometimes repeatedly. Knowing the pain that each parent felt and trying to see some beauty in the awful tragedy that became part of our lives. Feeling connected – if briefly - to someone or something after a trauma that disconnects you from everything you know. It was a comfort in it’s own way, and I’m truly grateful to have had that.

I’m slowly getting closer to making my own. For months I’ve gathered music and quotes that I like. I’ve thought about Brayden’s story, and how I want it told. And then I think…who am I going to show this to? No one. Maybe not even John. To remember our son that way helps me hold on to him, but for John it only intensifies the pain he feels in our loss.

This would be something for me, and me only. I’m getting there.