Identity Death

Grief has so many unexpected turns, so many unwelcome surprises that seem to grow right out of the aching hole in your chest. One of the worst ones I’ve found since losing my son was the loss of my identity. I didn’t even realize that that was what had happened until another mother mentioned it in a group session. When I became a mother, my old life became a dark, dirty memory and the whole world opened up to me. I experienced a love I had no idea was even possible. Sometimes, I felt so much love for that tiny little person, I felt nearly frantic not knowing how to handle it all. It overwhelmed me in the best possible ways. Everything about the way I lived my life changed and I became Daxon’s Mom. If pre-mom me was reading this right now, she would probably be rolling her eyes, but I understand it now. I understand how having a baby doesn’t just mean “having a baby”. I understand that it means becoming someone entirely new and better and feeling truly unconditional love like no other. 

I have been feeling lost ever since he left. At first, I had no idea what to do with my days. Even still, I look at the bare living room floor, wishing to God that it were covered in toys again with a curious little boy banging them around, coming to me for snacks and snuggles. I have been filling my days with sleeping in, watching crappy tv, and mindlessly playing with my iPad. I do almost nothing productive. I have a few projects on the go, but I can’t seem to focus enough to really finish much of anything. It took me a month to unpack from our vacation because looking at my suitcase made me feel overwhelmed and anxious, like I had no idea where to even start and it was just too much to handle. I can’t even enjoy sex anymore, even though I’m pregnant and hormonal. I feel so guilty that I sometimes make myself do it anyway, but he can always tell my head and heart aren’t in it. And then I feel even more guilty so I try harder still to convince him I’m fine and he can keep going. I died with my son. All the happy, loving parts of me died with him and I am left here to be lost and destroyed. Nothing could have prepared me for this emptiness. Never in my life could I have ever imagined feeling so utterly and completely…..lost. But I’ve survived yet another empty day. I am one day closer to holding my baby boy safely in my arms again. 

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Soaking Up Memories

Each time I pass Daxon’s bedroom door, I look at it and say something to me either in my head or out loud, depending on whether my boyfriend is nearby. I know he’s not in there, but I think it’s more of s reminder to talk to him and tell him that I love him. I don’t go in often, but about once a week I feel like I need to be closer to him so I go in and sit and cry, usually on the floor beside his crib or sometimes in the rocking chair. I’ll look through his favourite book once in awhile, Little Bear is Hungry, and run my fingers over the fuzzy parts like he used to do. I’ll turn on the sound machine that casts a projection wheel on the wall of different things. The one we used the most was the fishy one, so that is still in there. A couple of times, I’ve turned on the toy I hung in his crib just days before his last. It has a screen with a waterfall in the background that lights up, a monkey that swings, a frog, and something else near the bottom. When I first put it in there, I put him in his crib and turned it on and he was so happy. He got up on hands and knees, making those cute little noises of joy while looking from me to the toy like, “Mommy, are you seeing this?! This is amazing!” 

This afternoon, I started having a meltdown on the couch. It wasn’t even anything that really triggered it either. I went upstairs and into his room, opening the door quietly like I always have, and bawled my eyes out like one of those wailing foreign women you see in movies who have just lost their husbands in a terrible battle. Then, I started looking through things. I looked through books and drawers, when I found his Love You Forever book, I broke down again. That was the first book I ever read to him while I was pregnant and then many times after. He loved that book, probably because it had a little song I’d sing in it. He loved music. I went through his closet and folded and put away some clothes my boyfriend had washed but not properly put away. He has this little chubby fox costume my mom got him to wear for Halloween. That was one of the last days he was alive. I  has a big fat bum on it with a tail and the hood is a fox head, complet and with little snout. I held that costume to me and cried yet again, not entirely surprised to notice that my arms went around it in the exact same way I used to hold my son. 

Afterward, I picked up a few things that were lying around, toys went in his toy bag, baby monitors that boyfriend had tossed behind the rocking chair went into th closet, funeral home bag went in the closet… Then I sat in the chair looking through his baby book, you know, the kind where you fill in all the pages about his firsts and family tree and everything. I never realized how big of a leap he went through at six and a half months. That’s when he first said, “Mum,” the first time he stood by himself for a couple seconds. And I remember these times, too. 

Tonight, as I was walking up the stairs for bed, I looked at his door as always and I felt something different. It was almost a peace, I think. Not quite happiness, but it wasn’t just sadness and longing. It caught me off guard and really confused me. I know it won’t last and there will always be hard days and less hard days, but I think this was somehow a step in my healing, though I’m not entirely sure how. I don’t want to spaeculate either, and ruin it so I’m just going to accept it as that and enjoy the moment a bit longer. I still miss my little boy terribly and want nothing more than to be holding him right now, but I feel like maybe this is God’s way of telling me that he heard me yelling at him today and that everything is okay, we will be together again. 

One day in paradise. 

Empty Arms

You know that feeling when you’re kind of lethargic, but you want to do something but you just can’t figure out what you want to do? You look around, run through your options in your head…video games? Nah. Read a book? Maybe, but not really. Watch a movie? Ugh, no. I get that feeling a lot, especially since I haven’t been working since before my son was born Christmas of 2015. I had the year off to raise him until he was old enough to go into daycare, but then after he passed and I found out I was pregnant and was diagnosed with PTSD, they allowed me to just stay off. I’m very lucky my boyfriend is so supportive. I help out as much as I am able. So all this time off, being alone with my thoughts now, trying to find distractions to fill my days, I get that feeling a lot. Slowly, it dawns on me what it is I really want to do. I want to hold my little boy. That is the only thing in the universe that could satisfy my needs in that moment. But I can’t. In a few months, I’ll be able to hold a new little one, but it won’t be my Dax. I can’t hold him until the day I die, and that day is so painstakingly far from sight. I used to feel like my life was speeding ahead of me and I could never catch up. Now I feel like my death is running from me, playing a cruel game of tag and I’ll never catch it. Not until I’ve forgotten what his little fingers felt like or the way his hair smelled after a bath, or how soft and fine it felt when I ran my fingers through it. I remember the deep divet above his butt crack, the tiny little bump on the daith part of his right ear and the indent on the lobe of his left one that looked like his finger nail had been dug into it in utero when the ear was forming and left an imprint. I remember how every single little part of his body felt in my hands and the weight of his body lying on my chest as he slept. My arms fit around him just perfectly. Nothing had every felt so…belonging, I guess. He belongs with me. He belongs in my arms where he fit just perfectly. 

Now, all I have to fill those moments is tears and gasping breaths, begging God to tell me why He took my baby from me, begging Him to turn back time to that last day so I could stay with him all night long and try to save him. 

Jealousy in Grief

I don’t understand how some people simply choose not to see their children as much as they possibly can. There are people who could not care less if they even had kids, and those children suffer terrible lives of being unwanted and unloved. I finally realized tonight why it bothers me so much that my boyfriend isn’t actively trying to get even shared custody of his daughter. He only sees her in the morning when he drives her to daycare, and every second Sunday. Not even overnight. Yet he won’t even talk to a lawyer to find out what the process is to have hr more because the guy is expensive and he thinks it’ll be a huge, expensive battle. I would give anything for that battle to even be an option for me to see my son again. I would give my life if I knew I could hold my son again. So tonight, I realized that this is why I’m so bothered by his procrastination with this. He still has a child that he can hold and teach and love. And he is missing out on so much with her. What isn’t worth that time spent with her? I know he loves her more than anything, so it confuses me why he hasn’t even tried yet. I feel like my grief and mourning is being minimized in a way, I guess. Like he’s taking her existence for granted because his child isn’t going to die and he has all the time in the world to leisurely find a way to see her more. It’s almost a slap in the face. I can never tell him this. He gets angry when I mention fighting for shared custody. I don’t understand why and I’m afraid to ask, as I know it’ll likely end up becoming an argument. 

I will never understand a parent’s ability to dismiss time with their children. I just hope they never have to regret it the way I wish I’d spent more time playing and snuggling with my son before he died.