One Headlight

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I’ve shared a lot since Melissa died.
I’ve talked about how hard life is without her, how much it still hurts, how it affects me every single day. While I am open about life after loss, very few people know the intimate details of our last moments together, both when we thought she was still living and once we knew she was gone. Today I’m going to share one of those details.

One of the things we did to celebrate Melissa’s first birthday, and will continue to do for years to come, was indulge in a Peanut Buster Parfait. Sounds nice, right? Well, it was purely selfish. See the thing is, that dessert was the last thing I had before my water broke and we headed off to the hospital to learn our baby no longer had a beating heart.
That dessert was the last time I truly enjoyed something with no feelings of guilt, no sadness in the back of my mind reminding me that a piece of my heart will be missing forever.
That dessert was the last time I was truly happy.

Sure, I’ve been happy since then, but it’s not the same.
There have been so many joyous occasions in the almost 2 years since Melissa has been gone – weddings, healthy babies, birthdays, Christmases, and a healthy-living-breathing Rainbow Baby for us.
I was happy for all of these events, but a cloud was always over my head. I was, and still am, always on the verge of tears.
Weddings remind me that I’ll miss out on one and that my living children will have a sister missing from theirs.
Healthy babies remind me that mine died.
Birthdays remind me that Melissa spends hers in heaven and we spend it without her.
Christmases, and all holidays, remind me that a stocking will always be empty, a place at the dinner table will always be missing.
My Rainbow Baby reminds me that she might not even be here if her sister hadn’t died. Can you imagine how guilty that thought makes me?
Oh, and ice cream? Just seeing ice cream reminds me of Melissa and that’s enough to bring the tears closer to the edge.

One of the biggest differences between those events before and after loss is that my brain is constantly racing and it makes it that much harder to enjoy them. I can’t turn off the thoughts and that makes living in the moment almost impossible.

One of my only saving graces is my living children. They need me most minutes of every day. They are good at keeping me busy, which helps keep me in the moment rather than sinking into the darkness.
They keep my one headlight burning bright.
And if I can feel like I’m driving with one headlight then I think I’ll be ok.

I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same

*One Headlight by The Wallflowers
Check it out on YouTube

The sun is gone, but I have a light

We all have our thing; we’ve all been through something we didn’t want to or didn’t think we could handle. Or at least that’s what I think.
We’ve all heard some form of an “I can’t imagine” statement.
I’ve had my share of these statements over the last year.
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through”
“I can’t imagine what you’re feeling”
Some days the flood of feelings and emotions I go through are enough to leave me wondering what I’m feeling. Today I’m feeling brave, terrified, and, for some reason, willing. Willing to open up, willing to share, and willing to help you imagine what I’m going through. So here goes…

Imagine a piece of your heart being stolen and you can never get it back
Imagine that piece of your heart being stolen for no reason; your baby died and there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent it, that her cause of death is nothing more than a “best guess”
Imagine living with the guilt every day that something you did caused her death, the guilt that you couldn’t protect her

Imagine that getting out of bed is one of the hardest things you do every day
Imagine having to get out of bed every day because there’s these little people who need you more than anything else in the world
Imagine being in a place so dark and so lonely you don’t know how you’ll escape
Imagine not wanting to escape that dark, lonely place

Imagine planning memorials rather than birthdays

Imagine all of this while being pregnant with your potential “rainbow baby”
Imagine being terrified every day because there is no guarantee that pregnancy will result in a living, breathing baby in your arms
Imagine the flood of emotion that hits when you feel “lucky” to hold that living, breathing rainbow baby in your arms
Imagine never wanting to let her go because you know you’re not in control and you can’t protect her from everything
Imagine missing out on life because it’s just too much to be out and to have to talk to strangers about how many kids you have

Imagine all this when you ask me how I am and I reply “I’m ok”
Because I am ok, most of the time.
I’m ok until I think about planning my baby’s memorial day and not her birthday
I’m ok until someone asks how many kids I have
I’m ok until it’s my birthday, my other kid’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, or any special day
I’m ok until someone says the wrong thing
I’m ok with being ok
Ok is as good as it gets for now
And for those times I’m not ok, when I find myself in that deep, dark, lonely place I remind myself of a song lyric I’ve carried with me for over 20 years…

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Au

 

*The sun is gone but I have a light – Dumb by Nirvana
Check it out on YouTube