The past ten months have been the most challenging in my life. A parents worst nightmare is to have their child die, but the nightmare doesn’t end in that moment. Learning how to live after loss is unnatural and soul splitting. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t cried or felt like my whole world was going to crash around me. On the other hand, there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t felt an immense amount of love I have for Jensen.
This whole journey is a learning experience and I don’t think there will ever be a day where I stop learning about loss and love. Today, for Jensen’s ten month day, I want to share with you ten things that have gotten me to this point in my grief journey.
I never knew loss before Jensen died. My grandmother passed away before I was two years old and I knew people and had pets that had died, but never had felt this deep loss. From the second I found out his heart had stopped beating, loss overwhelmed me and I didn’t even know how to process that feeling. Then there was the realization that I would forever live with the loss of Jensen. I mean obviously, right?
But at that second of finding out he was gone, my body would not allow me to understand that I would lose Jensen at all the stages. Sometimes I still don’t think I completely have come to terms with losing Jensen at older ages because I’m not there yet. At ten months, I know what it’s like to have loss from the moment he was supposed to be born until his ten month day. I relive that loss each and every day. The Jensen sized hole in my heart is with me with every step and I can literally see him with each step I take.
Loss isn’t ‘fun’ to learn, but I’ve been forced to do so.
Immense. Abundant. Heaps. Endless. Masses. Enormous. Infinite. Never-ending.
All those words that could describe the oceans amount of pain I have felt. Even with those words, I would still say there’s more. Then with each wave of pain I get, it stings somehow harder than before. This type of pain is mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical. It is so exhausting to keep fighting this pain and not just succumb to it. Yeah, there is days where it hurts so much I just lay there and take it.
I almost wish this pain was visual, so others could see it coming on to me. There’s only so many ways to describe it, but if it was my leg bleeding out I feel like others would run over to stop the bleeding. There’s no way for others to really ease this pain.
Just like with loss, I have never felt longing before. Of course there was times I missed my mom and dad when I was away, but I knew I would see them soon enough. There was never a doubt that I would see them and all that missing them would just fall away. This isn’t the case with my longing for Jensen.
I long to see him smile and to hear his laugh. I long to feel his hand squeeze mine. I long to know what his first word would have been. I long to learn the schedule we would have had. I long to read to him one more time. I long for him every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep.
With each new place I go, knowing he’ll never go there, I long for him to experience it with me. I feel as if I’m just being introduced to longing and it will continue to grow as the years pass.
Just throwing that out there. It really does though. Grief sucks you in and it decides when to throw you out. It’s like a huge black hole and who knows what you’re going to feel when you’re trapped inside.
Is it depression, anxiety, PTSD, or all of them at once? Will it be me feeling completely numb or feeling everything?
Grieving is hard for anyone in any situation. I hate that I have to be a mother grieving her son. It’s not fair, like most things in our world, but this really isn’t how it should be.
They sound self-explanatory, but I can tell you all the different tears I’ve encountered in ten months. Heck, I’ll just tell you the tears that I’ve had in the past twelve hours.
Big droplets that form from holding them backs. Hurried sobs because you held them back. Silent ones that flow down your face as you try to sleep. Scattered ones from crying in your sleep and they have no idea where to go. The flood from when you open your eyes when you wake up and they just fall out. Then there’s the nameless ones that just are there and you work/live through them.
Heck, I could have filled a kiddie pool full of tears in the past twelve hours. Imagine the last ten months.
I’ve had support all throughout my life, but I’ve learned that the best type of people support you through the worst of times. Through this ten months, complete strangers have become best friends and best friends have become complete strangers.
Support isn’t trying to fix what is wrong. It isn’t necessarily making everything better for the person in pain. Support is listening and letting the person know you’re always there for them. It’s being their greatest cheerleader and seeing the progress on a day where it feels like you’ve fallen way off track.
Most of all (with child loss) it’s remembering their son or daughter with them. It’s saying their and writing their names down, listening to the same stories, and never forgetting.
Of course I knew what a smile was before Jensen died, but I never felt how good it could be to smile during grief. Just because you smile and feel happiness doesn’t mean the death of your child is forgotten or you’re happy they’re not here. You’re having a good moment and this smile just comes from the soul. It brightens your day and feels so much better on your face than just a frown and tears. Not that those frowns and tears are bad, but the smile does feel good.
On my bad days where I feel strength, I look for what makes me smile. Seeing Jensen’s face and his drawers full of his stuff makes me smile. Knowing his life means so much lights up my day. Leo and Poe’s antics make me laugh. The support I have can cheer me up and I know they love to see me smile. Seeing how far I’ve come and knowing I’m still taking steps towards living brings me a peaceful grin.
A (real) smile there is lightness throughout this black hole of grief.
This ones a little more difficult.
I long to see Jensen grow. On each of his month days, I wonder how much he would weigh and how long he would be. I’ve wondered when his first hair cut would have been. Honestly, I could go on and on with this. I won’t today, but you get the picture.
The growth I’m talking about here is the growth in myself. It’s how my strength has grown to not only take on the stresses of everyday life, but to also hold the weight in my heart. My voice has grown to be able to shout from the rooftops all about Jensen and the taboo of pregnancy and infant loss. I’ve probably grown in ways I don’t even know yet, but I feel it. There’s apart of me that screams that I could have grown these ways without Jensen dying, but I can’t change that. It’s not a good that has come from Jensen dying, it’s a positive that has grown through the grief I’ve had to endure.
It’s an invisible motherhood, but it’s my mine. I have been a mom since the moment I knew Jensen was inside of me and I’ll be his mother forever. No one will ever be able to take that away from me.
I’m still learning this type of motherhood, which is strange because it’s my only experience. Yet, I’m still here; being the best mom for Jensen I can be. I know it’s not the same as mothering a living child, but I still mother him in ways all moms mother their children. I have sleepless nights and I worry myself sick wondering if I’m doing all I can do for him. He is my motivation and even though I can’t see if he’s proud of me, I know, deep down, he is.
It always comes back to love.
Throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly, love has always been right there. The love I have for Jensen will never cease. The love I have for my motherhood only grows stronger. My love smiling has come back. I love the support and my tribe of loss mamas. There’s a huge hate-love I have for grief, loss, and all the ‘bad’ that was listed above. I hate it because I don’t want it in my life, but I love to see how through these I’ve grown. Through these I’ve learned to love harder and greater. Would I give that all back to have Jensen? In an instant.
But I love this life I have been given. I love the fact that Jensen will always be intertwined in my everyday life. I love that he will forever walk with me. I love that I can share the love I have for him.
Happy ten months in heaven, my sweet boy. I hope you’re smiling down with your (not so) big ten month day sticker. The sun is shining and I know you’ve given me this day of renewal to keep on growing and to keep on loving. Everything I do, I do for you. I miss you. I love you.