Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my son's death. Today is the anniversary of his birth.
Last year, I was 2 weeks postpartum from my C-section with Zachary. I didn't really have time, or energy, to grieve the first anniversary of all that mess. I was deliriously tired and happy all at once, overwhelmed with this new little Rainbow that actually came screaming into my life, instead of silent like his brother.
I can't let this years anniversary without writing something to honor and remember my beautiful Jackson. I can't believe it's been two years. I won't go into all the details again because it's so painful to relive, but you can read them here, here and here.
As I move forward in life, I still feel heartbroken when I think about my baby being "stuck" back in 2014. Life sped away from him and left him there, and left a huge part of me back there too. The grieving of this loss is never ending. Not to sound hopeless, because even in baby/pregnancy loss there is hope. You have to choose to look for it and you have to find it every single day, but there is hope.
Sometimes I feel that I have to justify why I still feel sad, why I still want to talk about him, why I still say his name and his twins name, and why I'm not "over" it. No one actually makes me feel that way, but I think the stigma and silence around the subject of baby loss forces me feel that I have to explain myself.
My very first son was real. He had a heartbeat, he had a brain, he had arms and legs and fingers and toes. He had everything that you and I do, but was still very tiny and was supposed to keep growing. He was here, he had life. He had a gender and a name and a room to be decorated and everything that a baby should have. He had 21 weeks to grow in my belly, 21 weeks to move around and develop, and 21 weeks to make our whole family fall completely in love with him. He was my baby. Then, very suddenly, he died.
It could be so easy to feel hopeless, to feel sick with grief all the time. Baby and pregnancy loss is nothing to wave off, although many people do. It hasn't happened to those people, and that is ok, no one should have to go through it. The heartache is crushing, acute and long-lasting. It could drive a mother crazy, it could actually kill her. The weight of empty arms when they should have been full of a beautiful live baby is the heaviest emptiness I have ever felt.
Thank goodness I have a God who loves me and and picked me up and walked me through it, even though I wanted dig my own grave and stay there. Some things aren't to be understood, and although I am not ok with that, I have learned that hard lesson. Jesus helped me find my life again, he helped me appreciate the time I have here with all of my loved ones, he gave me knowledge and strength when I thought I had nothing. He carried me through it and then slowly put me down and walked closely as I got through those weeks and months after.
Slowly, I got to a place where Jackson's life and death don't make me sick to my stomach. I got to a place where I could think of my baby boy and his twin with love and peace and even joy. I got to a place where I realized his life meant something, and taught me so many wonderful things. His life may not mean a lot to a lot of people, but it does mean a lot to a few.
He taught me to love big and worry less. He taught me so much about the grace and love of God. He taught me about real life, that life isn't always happy and perfect all the time, and that we can heal and make the most of it regardless. He taught me the importance of somethings, and the silly unimportance of other things. He taught me to love people like crazy because I never know who may need it. He taught me not to judge because you never know who may be dealing with loss. He taught me how to grieve and understand the act of grieving. He taught me to slow down and just enjoy life! He taught me to look at the sunsets and sunrises and any body of water and see God's love for us. Most of all, he taught me that I am a mom, even before Zachary got here, even though I had no earthly baby at the time, I am a mom and he gave me that.
So while my sweet little boy isn't here with me, he sure taught me a lot in a very small amount of time. He will be with me always, and not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
Zachary sees him, which may sound a little weird. Sometimes he will look up at the ceiling and point, sometimes laugh and giggle, sometimes even play peek a boo with someone. that I can not see. I know it's Jackson, and I whisper to the room, "I love you, baby. I miss you. Thanks for watching over your brother." Sometimes I cry, because I wish I could see him too. Other times I smile and feel at peace.
Grief is a wave, and sometimes we go up and then we go down. I will ride this wave for the rest of my life. The waves never stop, but I get better at keeping my head above water. I used to want to drown in it. I'm glad that I didn't, I'm glad that the strength and love of God and my family kept my head above the water. I am strong, I am brave, and I am still here.
Jackson and Lily will always be a part of our family, and will always own a piece of my heart which is not with me anymore. I am a different person because of them. I thank everyone who has been so loving and supportive over these past two years. I have found happiness and reasons to smile and though the pain of not having them here will always hurt, I am always learning to live around the pain. While I don't want to write much more about baby loss and grief anymore, it may weave its way sporadically through some of my future posts. I feel that I've said most of what I need to say on the subject. I know that Jackson and Lily don't want me to be stuck in the past, and I finally feel free enough to move along in life without guilt.
I love you. I will always miss you. You have a piece of me with you, forever. <3