“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?”
With trying to meet new people I hear this question a lot. Most of the time I answer with studying abroad and traveling all by myself. Or buying a house and completely redoing it. Both have been pretty crazy for me to do. Traveling alone has taught me so much about myself and how I handle being lost in a completely different culture. My house, on the other hand, has taught me patience. With ripping from the ceiling to the floor down, then building it all back together taught me patience. Just these two experiences are life changing. They bring about crazy emotions and you do unexpected things you hadn’t planned on before.
This is a sufficient answer. Most people can relate and agree that they’re ‘crazy’ experiences a person can go through. But it wasn’t until the last time someone asked me that I realized I was completely lying each time I answered them. Every time those answers cross my lips, I know I’ve been through something ‘crazier.’ They’re just answers that make me feel like pre-loss, ‘normal’ Danielle.
I should probably clear this up here. Whenever I meet someone new, I’ll let them know about Jensen. But I’m very protective over him. I don’t just throw this whole grief journey at someone, that wouldn’t be fair at all. For the simplicity of conversation though, my go to answers are those two…
Until the last time I answered the question.
As soon as I said my normal response, I blurted out, ‘I just lied to you.’ Which I did. Those aren’t the craziest things I had ever done in my life. The whole last year of having Jensen safe with me for the month of March, the earth-shattering loss of him in April, and then this grief that will stay with me for the rest of my life just flooded my body. I felt like I was going to turn into a puddle and be soaked up by the earth.
Of course while all of that was happening inside of my head, they stood their, quizzically looking at me. I don’t know if they knew what was coming out of them, but I know they could feel my anxiety.
Then I just said it, the truth. The craziest thing I have ever done in my life was knowing I had to give birth to my son that had already passed, then leave him at the hospital while I was realized home. It was the next day when I had to go to the funeral home and plan what I wanted done with his little boy that I had grown and protected for thirty-eight weeks and two days. It was seeing his tiny, blue urn and its flickering flame on the table as the pastor prayed over his soul. Then it’s been every single day of living without him. I wake up each morning and wonder when this is madness is going to finally end.
This past year has been the craziest journey of my life.
From now on, I’m not going to lie when asked this question. I’m going to own this year, Jensen’s first year. My first year of motherhood.
I recognize the good and the bad in every aspect of this grief journey. Each month I go back through and see what challenges I’ve faced and even write down what made me smile. This month isn’t even over yet and I’m telling you it has been the hardest one I’ve faced. The lead up to Christmas and the New Year for me was rough, but nothing compared to this. His upcoming birthday is on my mind every second of the day. It’s the last time I felt him. It’ll be the last time I can say my son was alive last year. I don’t want to forget his weight in my stomach or how it felt when he would get comfortable.
I just wish I could go back.
Today marks fifty whole weeks since Jensen has been gone, but it also marks a special day: World Down Syndrome Day. In honor of today, Jensen bear and I have our crazy socks on and have been thinking of all what Down syndrome meant to me during Jensen’s diagnosis. I met so many amazing mothers and their children that didn’t make me afraid of what I thought my future was going to hold.