I wanted to take a moment to blog about some things that have been going through my head as Emily’s birthday approaches. I must warn you, though, my mood is solemn and not all these thoughts are entirely rational. They are just thoughts, put here to help others understand how I, as a grieving mother, feel. These are the things I don’t always say. These are things that sometimes just flit through my head and then they are gone. These are things I think when I am at my most vulnerable and need the Lord to pick me back up and help me move through it. What I write here is as much an outlet for me as it is a way for those of you who have not lost a child to catch a glimpse of what is inside a grieving mother’s head.
Have you ever had a child go and visit somewhere for a few days? Do you remember the feeling you had as you counted and recounted your other children’s heads. That feeling that someone is missing. That feeling that something is not quite right. That is how this feels. But, my child will not be coming home. I’m not sure, this side of Heaven, I’ll ever feel like things are “right”.
Going to WalMart is excruciating. The baby section is the major offender, but I could literally find something in every department to make me ache for her. As I walk by the cute little 4th of July bibs, I want to scream, “My child should be wearing one of those!” She was my little firecracker ~ literally. The 4th of July will never be the same. We will celebrate Emily’s life, but we will grieve as well. And we will always remember what we were doing July 4, 2007.
There is a chasm between those who have lost a child and those who have not. I do not envy those who have not felt this pain, but I must admit there is a sort of camaraderie amongst those who belong to this “club.” We have lived through everyone else’s nightmare. We continue to live through it.
I find myself often thinking, “How did I get here?” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have wished I could go back in time. Not that there is anything I could have changed, but she would be here. I want her back. But, of course, when I really sit and think about it, I know that isn’t fair. She wouldn’t want to come back. She is right where she belongs. But, in my humanity, I still want her back.
People ask what number of child is the hardest transition for a family. Is it 1 to 2? Is it 3 to 4? No. It is 5 to 4. It is going backward. I don’t know that you ever truly adjust to having less children.
I now understand why it took my husband’s grandmother 40 years to put up a headstone for her son who died as a child from cancer. How do you manage to get everything you feel about your child on a bit of stone? How can you ever say all you want to say? Yet, every time I go to the cemetery, I am grieved that no stone marks her grave. This paradox hangs over much of our lives. We have to deal with something involving her death, but we do not want to do it. The longer we put it off, the harder it becomes to deal with it.
Every time I hear someone call their child Emily, I catch my breath. There are a lot of Emilys out there.
I wish everyone knew about Emily. I am most uncomfortable in places where I know there is no one there who knew she existed. People ask me how many children I have. I point to my obviously pregnant belly and say, “This is number 6.” So far, no one has questioned the fact that there are only 4 children surrounding me. That is okay. At least I feel as though she has been included, whether the person I am talking to knows it or not.
I sometimes feel like I don’t have a job. There is no one here who is completely dependent on me anymore. I have not been in this position in nearly 4 years. I “baby” my 2 year old…everyone knows it…I don’t care.
I go to Emmy’s grave often. Some people think that is not healthy. But it is all I have left to take care of. I can keep the area tidy, pull weeds, leave pretty purple flowers. I am still her mother. I also like to walk through the cemetary and read the headstones of other babies and children. I then read the parent’s gravestones as well. This may seem strange to some, but for me it makes me feel less lonely. I am not the only one. There have been many others before me.
There are many more thoughts rambling about in my head I am sure, but these are the ones I could latch on to and semi-coherently put into words. I am just so thankful that no matter how far I fall, the Lord’s Everlasting Arms are still underneath me.