Grief is a funny thing. You're going along, acting like everything is normal. You even have happy moments, and you laugh and forget your pain for a moment. Then, out of nowhere, it hits you. A wave of emotion goes through you and crashes you with reality. Today is Atticus's due date. Last year, I had been doing fine. He would have been four months old, and instead he was in heaven. I was going through and starting to feel better. My daughter helped immensely and gave me a distraction. I came to work. And then it happened. Sitting in my office, I realized what day it was. Atticus was supposed to be born today. I burst into tears, and they wouldn't stop. They just kept flowing down my face. I managed to hide them and admit a few patients. By the time my boss came in, I was a wreck. I actually had to leave work and go home. I cried the whole rest of the day and couldn't leave the couch. I just didn't expect it to hit me that badly. Sometimes I allow myself to succumb to the pain and have a good cry. Other times, I realize I don't want to wallow in the misery. I'm much better being happy and letting myself enjoy life. At first, I thought that wasn't fair. How could I laugh when my son couldn't? How could I go on when he was in heaven and I was here? Then I realized, I have to go on. I have to go on for my husband. I have to go on for my daughter. Most importantly, I have to go on for myself. Yesterday, I had that brief moment again where it came crashing down. Filling out a survey, they asked what birth order my child was. First born, or only child? Is there an option for "technically, both?". I always choke up when people ask me how many children I have. I feel like I don't know how to respond. On a day when I can keep it together and not cry, I'll tell them about Atticus. When they push about why I don't have a second child, I lose it. I end up eventually responding "I did, and he passed away." It's hard to want to honor your child, while not wanting to make people feel uncomfortable. I work in a field that I interact with new people daily. People who don't know my story, who only pass through my office for 10 minutes. Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I keep it in and don't say a word. I've stopped trying to figure out why that is. I think I have finally learned to embrace my grief, but not let it control my life. It is forever a part of me. Today is Atticus's due date, and it's a good day. I'm working, not crying, and I'm going to make it through.
"The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer." Psalm 6:9
Oh, yes, the "how many kids?" question....followed up by "just one? When's the next one coming "*wink wink* Its so well intended, for small talk, for get to know you chats, but its one of the worst questions ever. I feel especially horrible when its directed to those suffering from fertility issues. I do the same thing, sometimes I share Josie, and sometimes I don't. Depends on the situation and who I'm talking to. I applaud you for going on with your day as best you can. Keep cheering yourself on, it really helps.
Love and Hugs
First let me start by giving you some big hugs. What a difficult day this must be for you. I'm like you... I don't like to sit in my sadness and so when my girls were in the NICU I fought that off and tried to focus on only the good. While I'm not a loss mom... I still have sadness at my situation and fear of losing my babies. And I learned a real lesson in trying to be happy and strong all the time. All that sadness eventually came back... in a big way.
It was at that time that I kind of adopted a new mantra.... You gotta feel it to heal it. I'm not saying that if you just feel sad... then someday you'll stop feeling sad. Because that's not going to happen ever.... you'll always be missing your Atticus. But I say.... when you feel that sadness coming in... let yourself feel it. It's okay. You have suffered the greatest of losses...it's okay to be sad. You feel the sadness... and then you're able to move forward a bit each time. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the hard days. And I Imagine Annette brings you much joy to look forward to each day.
I loss my daughter when I was 17 so I didn't start getting asked how many kids until I older. Most people don't ask a teenager how many kids that they have, most don't have any. When I was in college and interacting with older adults the question would come up in group projects as they tried to get to know me. It's a hard question. Even now, almost 7 years later I am asked how many kids or when will I have more. I am always tempted to tell people to mind their own damn business. I don't always share about Allison. Not everyone deserves to know about her.
Wishing your heart some peace.
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