Everyone hates Mondays. It’s the start of the week and we all have to go back to work. The day drags and usually everything goes wrong. Ten weeks and one day ago, I had the worst Monday in the whole entire world. For some reason though, every Monday since, I wish the calendar stopped turning. Jensen was born on a Tuesday, ten weeks ago to be exact.
On Monday nights, I watch the minutes pass by until it hits midnight. It’s silly, I know the day is going to change, but I want the Groundhog Day time repeat to happen. My mind cannot comprehend that another week has passed since he’s been gone. I don’t understand how I haven’t lost my mind or how my body hasn’t just stopped working. How is my heart still beating when I’ve had death inside me? Death stole my Tuesdays, as well as the fifths of every month, all April, and especially Jensen’s birthday. When I think about it, it stole away everyday…
In the past (roughly) forty-eight weeks, my mind and body have been focused on one special, little boy. It’s gone from nurturing to caring to grieving, all in a relatively short amount of time. Even in the ten weeks Jensen has been gone, all my thoughts are on him. There’s not a second that goes by that he’s not in my brain. This whole time I’ve put him first, not that it was even hard to do. He’s my child for goodness sakes.
Today, I was told one thing and asked another that completely challenged me.
The first, “Jensen is taken care of.” This was not said in a malicious way, nor did I take it that way. But let me tell you, it shook me to my core. My mind cannot accept he is taken care of without me. It hurts when I think that his needs are met in heaven and I’m not there to provide them. He is taken care of. I swear, I’m just sitting here taking that in again. The pause just filled with tears and trying to understand that. Jensen is in heaven and there’s nothing I can do about it. He is there and he is content. Besides having him here physically, what more could I want?
The second, a question. “How do you see yourself?” Broken. Depressed. Missing. Sad. Insecure. Questioning. Shaking. Tears. Stressed. I’m sure I could go on and I did when I was asked. It was after I described all my emotions and feelings that I realized I haven’t really looked at myself in a mirror since the day I found out Jensen’s heart stopped beating. Right now I’m remembering looking in the mirror soon after he was born, maybe three days later. It was the first time I was alone and I was going to take a shower until I looked at myself. I remember looking at my stomach, still swollen, but not Jensen’s bump. At that time I was still in shock, so I pressed where his butt usually sat. It was empty, my whole body was empty. I looked at my face, staring into my eyes. Emptiness turned into hatred. How could my body do this to me, to my baby? I’ll never, ever forget that moment. It took everything out of me not to break that mirror. Not to shatter the person looking back at me.
I went a little off from the question asked to me today, but it all connects. The past, almost, ten weeks from the mirror moment that’s the only image I’ve had of myself. Danielle post Jensen was this empty girl filling with hatred to herself, but so full on her love for her son. It still holds true to now, especially when I think back to that moment. It saddens me. I struggle to find love for myself, the only person that is accountable for getting up every single day. The person who through this huge loss, radiates love to someone so far away. I’m the reflection in the mirror, maybe I needed to shatter the mirror because I’m broken inside.
All these conflicting, pent up emotions about Jensen and myself came out today. Of course my emotions for Jensen are shown everyday, but I push down any about myself. I felt everything, like I felt I needed to do. Instead of looking in the mirror, I took pictures of myself. Mind you, this is the first time I’ve really looked at myself for the past ten weeks. When I have put makeup on to meet people, it’s been without the mirror. Who knew selfies could be some sort of therapy for me during this time.
If I was an artist, I’d name it after how I describe my three selves: Danielle after Jensen.
What do I see? My beautiful mother-son necklace from Mother’s Day. Under eye circles. Unkept hair. No smile. The eyes that have seen too much for one person to have ever seen. My literal safety blanket. I see sadness. I see someone who doesn’t sleep at night.I see the glassy eyes, tears always on the ready. When I’m sitting here looking at myself, the only trace of happiness I see is my necklace. It scares me looking at myself and it deeply saddens me. On the other side, I don’t feel anger or hatred. I don’t see a body or face that would purposely let her son go. It’s not a face that would accept death.
As this tenth week of grief begins, I’m learning that I have to reaccept and love myself. I’m Jensen’s biggest advocate and living for the both of us. It’s impossible to keep hating myself and denying myself basic needs while endlessly devoting my love. It keeps coming back to love. Love for Jensen. His love for me. The thing is, Jensen’s cared for in heaven. His soul thrives in the next life. He’ll wait for me, but in that time whatever he wants he has. Me on the other hand, I have to set reminders when to eat. My needs are instantly met like his. I’m constantly mothering my son, who’s not here on this earth. Yet, I’ve completely forgotten about myself.
I look and see my picture, challenging myself to view myself as another person. What do I see then? I see a mother who’s lost their child. I see someone’s girlfriend. I see a daughter. I see a sister. I see someone who has experienced a lifetime in a short amount of time. I see strength. I see love.
Jensen, my love for you continues each and every second of the day. I’m trying to let that love spill over onto me, just as you would want it to. Each day of my life I honor and remember you. You are my sunshine and send the birds that wake me each morning. I’ll be better for the both of us. Ten weeks in heaven for you, Baby J. I know you spent it dancing in the clouds.