Sometimes when I’m out and about with my children and it’s time to leave, I gather all four of them to go. But, l’ll get this feeling that I’ve lost one of my children.
Then I’ll remember. I did.
It happened nearly thirteen years ago, but I’m still reminded there’s a special child of mine who is missing.
When pregnant, nobody wants to hear those fateful three words from the doctor…“Something is wrong.”
In my case, something was very wrong and my child was then given a grave prognosis, which meant when he was born, he would die.
Can you ever really prepare to go through something so heartbreaking as losing your baby? And can you ever make it to the other side of grief—being able to experience joy and thankfulness once again?
My little one was born, lived a short life (eight hours) then went to sleep and didn’t awaken this side of heaven.
Years have passed, but there’s still this pain in my heart. A longing for my child who isn’t here.
It’s the bitter-sweetness of love that is so complicated and difficult.
You can’t have the grief without first having the love.
~ Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Charity photography for pregnancy and infant loss
True, the pain of grief has lessened over time, but I believe there were things I was able to do that helped me cope and work through my grief.
Write about it.
Journal, blog, do whatever you can to form words to your pain. Anticipatory grief begins the day the doctor says something is wrong. My journal was one of my go to places when I needed to sort through my feelings.
Make memories of your little one.
Try creating a memory box for keepsakes and cards of condolences. If possible, take pictures. Save an outfit your child would have worn or did wear. I have my child’s memory box in my closet. I take it out whenever I want to feel closer to him. No matter how much it hurts, memories matter. And, in the remembering, when the pain subsides, underneath it all, there is love.
Release something, make something to remind you of your baby, do volunteer work in your child’s memory. NathanielsHope.org in Orlando has an annual butterfly release ceremony at Lake Eola for medically fragile children relocated to heaven. Healing tears poured down as I let go of my Painted Lady butterfly and watched her sail away into the sky.
Soak in the sunlight.
Being in the sun helped me remember that though the gray cloud of grief made it difficult to enjoy life, life was still out there in the roses, the chirping sparrows and the butterflies. And one day I would be joyful again. Leu Gardens in Winter Park was a place I could go to be reminded of the miracle of life. It is still a favorite place for me to relax, refresh and remember.
Connect with others who understand.
It’s tempting to suffer alone, but it’s helpful to let trustworthy people enter our grief. Be around people who will love on you, pray for you and are there for you. Try finding grief support groups, faith-based groups like Stephen Ministries and/or individual counseling. Cherishingthejourney.org is a local organization I connected with that provides resources and support for parents of babies with a grave prognosis.
Grief is part of living in a world where we love people and sometimes we have to say goodbye. Finding healthy ways to cope can help us along the way as we navigate through our journey of loss. Until one day, when reach the other side.