I’ve struggled with how to write this post for about a week now. Here goes.
Before losing Ben, I had very limited experience with loss. I lost my godmother as a child and my best friend as a teenager, but that was all. This experience has carved a much deeper understanding and sense of loss, but especially the unnatural kind. You are not supposed to outlive your child. It’s horrifying. It’s sad. It’s so unnatural that there isn’t even a label for it, such as widow or orphan. You’re the parent who lost their child because of an accident, disease, or syndrome. That’s it, forever.
It doesn’t fulfill some kind of purpose, there will never be total peace, and not a day will pass when you don’t think about how different things could have been…if only he were still here. It’s not better this way. It’s completely unfair. It hurts like hell. It exposes the deepest, darkest corners of your mind.
I thought we were kind of lucky, for lack of a better word, that we didn’t have to rearrange a routine that included him; we only had to rearrange what we thought our lives would be. But it turns out that it’s a different kind of monster: I’m holding onto the memories I had hoped to have and thinking about what he would have looked like. There is surprisingly little trouble when it comes to seeing or handling babies and children, but I have an especially difficult time with blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys, because I just know that’s what he would have had. And that’s all I have to go on.
It’s hard to grieve a life so excruciatingly short. Even choosing the urn was difficult, as when a person passes away of old age, they have a style. Benjamin had only the personality we dreamed of.
One of the many benefits of making this whole ordeal public is that so many parents of babies who are gone have reached out to me. You’d think they’d know just what to say, but the thing is…they don’t have to say anything at all. “Me too.” That’s it. With those two words, there’s a mutual understanding of every emotion we’ve felt, are feeling, and fear feeling in the future. It’s like becoming a member of a wordless club, for which no one applies and an unlucky few are accepted. The company is sad, but good and warm. I’m lucky for that.
One of my new friends lost her son a couple of years ago, and her story is hers to tell so I cannot share the details. However, she shared with me a diagram of a parent’s grief…and I’m finding it to be very true. I can’t find the original image she sent to me, so I recreated it; the concept is not mine.
The current pregnancy is going well, as far as I can tell. I became spoiled by being able to judge a pregnancy by fetal movement, so it’s a hard wait for that sensation again. I got a little nervous last week on Thursday and called the perinatologist, and they set me up for an ultrasound the next day. Baby looked great with a heart rate of 154 and even measured two days ahead! Our next appointment is a week from today. We’ll have another ultrasound and meet with the genetic counselor to schedule the CVS procedure, which will take place the first week of January.
Also, my husband and I just celebrated our anniversary. We are going into this 7th year of marriage with a much deeper sense of respect and admiration after the year we’ve gone through, hand-in-hand.