I’ve been fumbling with my words all day.
When I woke up this morning I wanted to do his eight month post. Actually, I set my alarm clock early just so I would have enough time without feeling rushed to do it. All I could think was ‘Jensen is eight months old today,’ but I couldn’t let myself just write that. So, I fed Leo and Poe first. Then I found myself starting one thing, than another, and another. All of the sudden, it’s four o’clock and the whole entire day has passed me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in denial still. My mind almost fully believes the past eight months has been a sick nightmare the universe has played on me. It believes all I need to do is walk into Jensen’s room and he’ll be napping in his crib so peacefully. I can so vividly see that moment when it plays out. There’s his toys in his basket and bottle on the coffee table. These scenes can play out for hours and there are times they do. It’s only when I walk into his empty room, I realize this silence and emptiness is my reality.
On each of his month days, I try to look at where I was in the previous few months. Around month three, I kept hearing that grief doesn’t get better or worse, it changes. There are times where I wish I could tell a newly bereaved mama that it’s going to get better and she’ll feel lighter at the point I am. Maybe I will one day? But, I can’t tell anyone I feel better. I smile and laugh more freely, but don’t feel guilty for doing so anymore. Crying in public doesn’t make me feel ashamed anymore. My biggest post lost fear isn’t being alone anymore. I don’t whisper the word stillbirth or about anything death related anymore. There isn’t any pressure to ‘get better’ anymore. I guess that means I am more comfortable with this type of motherhood.
If you can call those things ‘good’ then there’s also the bad. For me, this past month has brought a heavy onset of flashback and intense feelings. There isn’t much numbness left on most things. The numbness fading sucks. It’s like my life jacket has broken from the hard waves of grief and I have to learn how to keep swimming even when I’m tired. I’m also experiences heavy exhaustion and anxiety. Often I wonder if it’s because I’m in this part of my grief OR if it’s the upcoming holidays bothering me. Not even the holidays, but missing his first Christmas and making it as magical it could be for him. The more time has passed, the more I question and think about the what ifs. I think it’s because the physical reminders of Jensen on my body are going away.
Speaking of the holidays and the what ifs of having Jensen, I kept looking at this ornament today. Although it may just look like a green and red J ornament to most people, they don’t know it’s back story. It’s Jensen’s first ornament. Last year, while he was learning how to kick really hard, I found two ‘J’ ornaments that I really loved. Mind you, this was after a full day of Christmas shopping. So, I picked up the first one and there was no reaction. When I picked this one up, Jensen gave me a huge kick and I knew this was the one. I can remember placing my hand on my belly and asking if he was sure. Of course then, he kept kicking until he wore himself out!
This year, it hangs perfectly on the Christmas tree. It’s the first one I see every morning when I walk out of my bedroom or into the house. The bright red J makes me smile and brings that memory to my mind. Jensen really loved Christmas time. I’m pretty sure it was the music and walking around everywhere. Last year was my favorite Christmas too. There was a mix of excitement and nervousness for the next Christmas. I can remember only wanting Jensen and his future being the best possible. There was never a doubt he wouldn’t be loved or cared for, but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to give him everything that he needed. I guess that’s what moms do though.
If I could tell a mom who’s just lost her baby one day or one month ago, I would tell her that she’s given her child everything she could. They were loved and cared for more than enough. I would tell her that even when all she can feel is anger and sadness, love will always be her constant.There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t tell Jensen I love him or acknowledge that feeling. Even when I’m shaking from all of the pain, it’s what grounds me. Love is the light Jensen leads me with each day. It wakens and warms me in the morning and brings me to a deep sleep every night.
I would also tell her, it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling. The holidays are hard on top of how it’s already difficult to navigate through grief. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions, even if they are happy. You’re doing what’s best for you and that’s all you can ever ask from yourself.
Here we are month eight. I know you you’ll have a lot in store for me, just as it’s been since the month I found out I was pregnant with Jensen. As much as I’m terrified of you and what you hold, I’m going to survive you. I’m going to daydream about what he would be doing and make sure he can see his first Christmas in heaven. I’m going to do what I think Jensen would want me to do.
Happy eight months in heaven, Jensen Grey. Your blond curls must be so long by now. I can imagine you wanting to play in a winter wonderland, with Christmas lights all around. Your green and red J ornament sparkles in the tree next to me. Hopefully you have a matching one there with you. You are my light and hold all my love. I miss you. I love you.