Monday, May 28, 2012

right where i am 2012: one year, five months, twenty-three days

This year I decided to participate in Angie's "right where i am" project. When it started last year I didn't think it was necessary to write a post about exactly where I was at in my grief because EVERY post I wrote had to do with where I was at in that moment and stating it seemed silly to me when that's exactly what I was already doing. This year, this year things are very different and it does feel necessary to write a post about exactly where I am, today in THIS moment.

Today things are busy and sleep is scarce. At one year, five months and twenty-three days there is a baby brother, Addison's baby brother sleeping in the next room over. He has just gone back down after being awake for an hour and half needing a fresh diaper and a full belly. He wakes up screaming and I think to myself...I am so lucky...I change his diaper and I think...I am so lucky....I nurse him and it still hurts, but I think...I am so lucky. Since  the day he was born five weeks and one day ago the phrase that runs through my head the most is...I am so lucky. Every time I think about how lucky I am to have him I also think how unlucky I am not to have her. How can I feel so lucky and so unlucky in the same breath.

Everything I do with him makes me think of her and all the things we missed out on and will continue to miss. As I gaze into his face I am filled with thoughts of how much I love him and then I think, but oh I miss her. Saying those three little words out loud "I miss her" brings me into instant tears. Because after all this time I still miss her just as much as I did in the early days.

I have cried only twice since her little brother was born. I am certainly not "better" just because we now have a living child, but the sharpness that was there in those early days doesn't make it's way in as often. I find myself holding the tears back, but this also means that when they come they come hard and fast.

For me there was a release when we made is through that first year. The tears are fewer, but this missing...the missing remains.

I often catch myself thinking about where my life should be right now if I had my almost year and a half little girl. When I say often I mean

I spend many hours a day in her rocking chair, in her room staring at her walls that are no longer her walls...none of it is hers and I miss it, the way it was, the way it should be. Those pink walls now covered in blue, the flowery bedding replaced by airplanes and the boy in my arms instead of the girl. I love him, but oh how I miss her.

At this point in my grief, I still find it my mission to make sure people remember her, that they know I am still her mother and she is still my daughter. No matter where I am when someone asks if her brother is my first child I always say no. I always count her, always. Sometimes if I am asked how old my first is I will just answer with how old she would have been and for that moment I feel normal like I would if she were really here. Not everyone needs to hear my story. I am willing to share it, but it feels nice to just say I have two children and leave it at that.

This has been a hard and wonderful month for me. I am so busy taking care of this newborn boy, but I have had little time to blog or focus on my grief. Those are the ways I am able to parent Addison and I need them to feel like I am present for her. It's a juggling act parenting two children whether they are both alive or one is gone. It is so much easier to parent a living many things I can do for my son, feeding him, changing him, cuddling him. For my daughter there is little I can do FOR her. Clean her headstone...leave flowers for her. It's so unfair to her that I cannot show her love the way I show her brother, but it's what I have. Three AM feedings are nothing compared to the difficulty of having to visit your child at the cemetery.

Because of her I enjoy each and every moment with her brother. I take nothing for granted. You will not catch me complaining because no matter how hard things get or how tired I am, I am so damn thankful to have the chance to parent a living child. I am paranoid and scared of losing him too, but I cherish each moment. He sleeps on a monitor that will sound if he stops breathing and yet I check on him a million times a night. I know how quickly life can change, I don't want to live every moment thinking I could lose him too, but for now that is my reality. So I check on him constantly and never let a moment go by that I am not kissing him or telling him how much I love him.

One year, five months and twenty-three days ago I was forever changed by birth and death of my daughter Addison. My firstborn, my daughter, my dream. I live in a different world now. I know how cruel life can be and I also see how beautiful life can be. I still don't know how or why we can survive losing a child, but I know Addison is worth all the pain and the tears. She is so much more than grief, she is the one who made me a mother and the one who cracked my heart right open and showed me what true love is. Because of her I love her father and her brother deeper than I ever knew was possible. Because of her.

Today I am missing, today I am longing, today I am loving. That's right where I am.


  1. I feel so much of this very same way. Thankful/lucky all of this. :)

  2. Beautifully said. Love you, my dear...

  3. Longing and loving. I think that's exactly perfect.

  4. Beautiful post - you have expressed your love for both of your children so well.

  5. Yes, what Brooke said. Longing and loving. It never really changes, though the whosits and whatsits change around you. Sending you love, grateful you took part this year. With love. xo

  6. Because of her. Yes, my friend. All the lovely and thankful aspects of this parenting (both of your children) are because of her.

    I love how you mentioned that occasionally you just say the age she would be-- because that's the way it should be and it just plain feels good to assume the reality that isn't ours. But man do we wish it were.

  7. "She is so much more than grief"

    SO, so much. Beautiful post.

  8. I once thought I would never feel lucky again. Oh how I am looking forward to that feeling someday! And yes, she is so much more than grief!

  9. I also feel lucky and unlucky in the same breath. It's amazing how those two states can coexist quite happily, I once wouldn't have believed it possible.

    Nearly four years later, it is definitely still the missing that remains. I still miss my girl. I also went on to have her little brother so your line about the blue replacing the pink and the aeroplanes replacing the flowers spoke to me.

    And yes, I do feel that it is a balancing act with two children, they both need your time and your heart regardless of whether they are in your arms or not.

    Congratulations on the arrival of Addison's little brother. Remembering your precious daughter x

  10. Oh god, this is perfect. I could relate to every single word. I lost a firstborn girl, then had a son. The days after he was born that's about all I could think - I am so lucky. Yet I too wanted to make sure no one forgot her, because she was still my daughter, would always be my daughter.
    Just reading your profile and I can't believe it - Hope was also born still at 40w 5d and she too was 8 pounds. Amazing. How have I not seen your blog before.
    Love to you. So much love.

  11. Loving and longing is a perfect description.

    On parenting little brothers:
    Hang in there with the nursing, it will top hurting Very Soon, then it gets easy. So many people quit around this time not realizing that they've already almost got through the hardest part.

  12. I feel like you are writing my life. I lost my firstborn girl, then had a son. After he was born I struggled with balancing my feelings and emotions. This is exactly where I was seven months ago. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. you always capture these feelings so well with your writing. I hope you can blog more as you settle in with your little guy, both for us readers and for your own grief.

  14. This is a beautiful post. Every single word resonates with me. I wish I could share your words so people would understand.

  15. This is such a beautiful post, every word is full of love for both of your children. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you and your daughter Addison.

  16. I've been knocked after my feet by the fear involved in having another baby. I thought I would be fine but it has been so hard, so I really sympathise. Much love. This is a lovely post.

  17. Off, not after. Honestly. Stupid iPad.

  18. Such a beautiful post... thinking of you, your darling newborn and Addi always xoxo

  19. so beautiful...My rainbow is 4 1/2 weeks old so I totally understand many of your emotions... thank you for very sorry for your loss <3

  20. So lovely to read this. I've been thinking about you and Addison and wondering how things were going with wee M.

    This whole post was beautiful but your lost paragraph knocked my socks off. They are so much more than grief and they are worth every. last. tear. Your Addison, my Emma, all our precious lost babies.

    Much love. xxx

  21. thank you for sharing....


  22. Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm so sorry your Addison isn't with you. What you write about the mix of hard and wonderful - that spoke to me so deeply. It is hard to parent a living child and one who is gone, and you really nailed so many of the complexities of that.

    So much love to you.