Rebecca and Maria turn four today.
Four years ago I was swimming in the ocean of grief. No life jacket. No land visible. No tow line available. Just me alone in an ocean of emotion that threatened to swallow me whole.
Eric became my life jacket. Holding me up and supporting me whenever it got to be too much. From the start of our relationship, I have always called him my rock, my foundation upon which I build a life. However, during that first year of loss, he was adrift like myself. Yet, he always found the strength to support me. Never critical of my emotions or thoughts, able to hold me and remind me who I was before our loss and who I could grow to be once I accepted it as part of our life. As we approach nine years of marriage, I'd like to thank him for that. For saving me when I wasn't sure I was worth saving. I love you.
However, even with that, we were still just two people alone in the ocean. Until one day I discovered my tow line. Upon my therapists request, I ventured into the online world to discover if there were others who had experienced infertility and premature birth and loss. I started at Resolve, not writing, just reading the bulletin boards, and through them I discovered people who understood me. Who were kind and gentle because they had been there and lived through it. People who wrote their emotions and pulled the words from my heart. People who became my friends. Through them I discovered Melissa Ford (aka Lollipop Goldstein) at Stirrup Queens and her blog roll full of people who were living through IF and loss. It was these boards and these blogs that towed me back towards land with their words and hopes and encouragement and mostly their understanding. I've pared back my blog reader as people went offline, until I'm down to a manageable number of blogs that I still follow. One them pointed me in the direction of this project by still life with circles. A list of posts written by mothers about what their grief looks like at this moment in time. As I read them, I thought... perhaps I could add this post to the list.
Finally, with the birth of Julia & Nate two years ago, I felt the land under my feet again. I had solid footing and knew how to starting rebuilding what the wave of loss had shattered. I am heart-breakingly aware that not all women who want to be mothers are able to, and I hope that they all find their land too. Most of those I still follow have found their footing again as well. Through work, through partnerships, through travel, through living life. Some, like me, through other children.
So what does my grief look like four years later? It has dulled, mellowed, wedged itself into a comfortable place. I know the grief, I'm comfortable with it. It no longer overwhelms me, rather it is just a part of me. At times I am sad, especially when I remember those horrible days in the hospital. There are conversations and life happenings in others that stir up the grief until it rises to the surface again. But mostly, I am happy. I go on with my life. I chase my kids, pick vegetables, talk to friends. I even got a dog last weekend! I try not to dwell on how the girls' lives ended, but rather focus on the positive and the good moments that I still cherish. I try not to think too much about all that I am missing out on, but rather focus on the beautiful location we left and how they are still there in paradise. I remember the love and try to ignore the bitter sting of loss. Most of the time, I can.
Today I remember. It would mean the world to me if you would take a moment to remember too. Rebecca and Maria, you existed and you continue to be loved.