Yesterday, as I floated alone in my parent’s pool, I was fueled by anger. In my head I was screaming so loud, but my exterior just seemed like I was uncomfortable. I tried to calm myself by watching the clouds, feeling the sun’s warmth, and letting the cool water extinguish the flames of madness inside me.
How is this my life?
Let me back this up a little bit. Since my D&C, I’ve had this horrible cough. I can’t sleep at night due to it and nothing seems to ease my coughing fits. In trying to figure out why I am lacking in sleep, I realized it was from the breathing tube they had to put in my throat for surgery. The lasting, physical evidence from this pregnancy. The combination from the lack of sleep and headaches from constantly coughing and drinking hot tea has me on edge: emotionally and physically.
Knowing all of this, I wanted to try my best to relax yesterday since I had the pool to myself. Right before I plugged my iPhone in to blast music, I scrolled through Instagram like I normally do. Now, I follow lots of loss moms, motivational accounts, and profiles that have journal prompts. If you didn’t know, I write a lot for myself, that no one ever reads. Sometimes it’s nice to be guided in writing. One of my favorite accounts, @rusticojournal, posted a seemingly fun and innocent prompt yesterday…
The mix of no sleep and my emotional battle twisted this nice, light prompt into a soul crushing reality that is my life.
Dramatic? Probably, but that was the spark that lit the fire in my mind. Since I felt so emotional after reading the prompt (and spewing while floating) I decided to write a response and wanted to share it with you.
I learned how to swim in this new life after loss because I was pushed off the highest mountain into an ocean that’s undercurrents pulled me down to the bottom. During the fall, I forgot how to swim or even which way the surface was to swim. I succumbed to the ocean of grief and let it twist me around. It would have been easy to just stay there in the darkness, for I was afraid of what would happen when I came back up. The world had defied me and how could I trust it ever again?
Something inside me made me want to begin swimming, to try to heal from the loss of my son. Stroke by stroke, I became stronger and reached the surface. There were waves so tall and big that knocked me back under, but I refused to sink. Each time I was plummeted down, it took me less time to swim back up. When I resurfaced I saw different beautifies that didn’t exist before. Yes, the world had looked different, but I couldn’t go back to how it was before. I didn’t want to go back to a world without Jensen, so I had to accept these pains and joys.
For a year, I learned how to swim in the ocean of grief. I was actually getting quite good at maneuvering and predicted the waves. Then it changed when I got pregnant again. There were still huge obstacles ahead and it didn’t take away all those I had overcome, but something new had come into play, hope.
My short pregnancy after loss experience was smooth, until the hurricane came and I had to learn how to swim again.
I hate comparing this loss to losing Jensen. They’re so different in many ways, but the pain I feel… it’s still heartbreaking. My hope for the future was extinguished and the flames of anger and the intense grief is back. Yes, I’m still in the ocean of grief, I’ve never left. I was pulled down to the bottom again and am still swimming up.
This time though, I’m not afraid of getting back to the surface. I know what’s there now. Learning how to swim this time is easier than what it was when Jensen died. My muscle memory is guiding me in how to grieve, even though it is different from before. The movements and waves are tricky, but I want to be on top. I want to see where I am in this sea and how far this hurricane threw me. There’s no way I can go back to where I was before this miscarriage. It’s a new terrain for me that created completely different situations and experiences.
Loss has altered me and the world around me, but it hasn’t taken away my ability to learn how to swim.
Usually it helps getting all the built up words out on paper, but this wasn’t the case yesterday. My cough kept me up again last night and since I released some of my pent-up emotions, they just wanted to spill out. I questioned God why He had to take Jensen, when he’s all I want, or why He had to take his little sibling away, when he or she gave me so much hope for the future.
If I could share anything from my experience in learning how to swim again (navigate life after loss), is that no matter the loss, it hurts like hell. There is no reasons babies should die and parents to be subjected in this pain and grief. No words can take away that pain, no future living children can erase what has happened, and no matter how much time has passed, a parent can feel how deeply their child’s loss impacted their life. All we can do is help each other swim.