The secret I carry

March 24, 2010 at 11:17 PM 1 comment

Well, I’m missing Hailey tonight…not that I don’t every night…but tonight it comes with its companions: feelings of sadness and emptiness…

While I’ve been doing much better lately, like I referred to in my last post, I have to remember to keep my ‘armor’ on since I am still in constant battle against my grief. Just because I am more okay in some situations that used to tear me apart, doesn’t mean I should go rocking the boat …

For instance, the other night I looked up the saddest scene from a movie ever on YouTube. You know the one; the scene from Dumbo where Dumbo’s mom is locked in chains and being kept from her child. Then Dumbo visits his mom and she manages to rock him while the song “Baby Be Mine” is playing in the background. And while the song plays and tears are streaming down the the momma elephant’s face, the images on the screen switch to all the other happy momma and baby animals together.

Ugh. Why in the world would I do that to myself? That scene has always made me cry. Why in the world would I watch that scene and listen to that sad song after losing my daughter. Clearly I can relate to Dumbo’s mom as I’m permanently separated from my child and watching all the other happy moms with their children too. I have no idea what made me do that…but it was not a good idea.

Then the other day I managed to find myself looking at one of my Facebook friend’s pregnancy/ baby albums… And today, the same thing, different friend. Why do I do that? I’m not ready for that. I know that. It’s like I’m unknowingly pushing the limits with myself.

I don’t want to do those things because I am still not ready for them and I don’t want to feel that kind of sadness and emptiness those things can lead to. I know it might seem like I’m trying to ‘deny’ those feelings, but really I’m not, you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

I think perhaps now it’s that I can handle complete strangers and their babies for the most part. But it’s still hard when confronted with people I do know who have babies.

When I see a picture of a mother and her baby, I can’t help but long to have what she has. It’s so hard not to compare myself and wish Hailey and I were in their places instead… remember that post I wrote awhile back about how I was comparing myself to everyone. Well yeah, that’s starting to happen again and I’m trying not to let it because it definitely leads to no good…

Trying to deal with who I am now is still difficult, although I have come a long way from where I started. But I’m still and will always be a mother without her child, babylost as some call it. If you were to meet me, you wouldn’t know the tragedy I’ve experienced.You wouldn’t know that I had to bury my 1 month old only a couple of months ago. You have a rocking chair that you rock your baby to sleep in. Do you know I have one too? Only, I used to rock my baby to sleep in it, and now it sits empty and unused in her room… You don’t know the secret I carry. And it’s a secret that screams to be known. If it’s not known, then it feels like I’m ignoring who I am… if that makes any sense.

Sometimes when I’m in an exercise class and women are meeting and chatting about their kids and families, I want them to know what happened to me. I don’t know why I want people to know, people I don’t even know, but I do. Maybe I want the sympathy or the attention. Maybe I see their innocent, naive joy and I want them to know not everyone has that, especially not this girl standing right next to you….<sigh> I don’t know…I really don’t know… Or when I’m meeting new people at church, I want them to ask me about my family. But no one does, they just assume I don’t have any kids because they don’t see any with me. It’s hard…

It seems like everywhere I go I think to myself “if only you knew what I’ve been through.” When I was shopping for my dress for Hailey’s memorial service and the sales associate wouldn’t let me check out at her register and told me to go to a different department, I could only think how I wished that lady knew why I had that black dress in my hand – would she have been nicer? And then that gets me thinking, how many people are walking around with ‘secrets’ like this? How many strangers do we pass by every day who are dealing with a personal tragedy we can’t even imagine?

And yet at the same time – as much as I want the “secret” I carry to be known, I hate the awkwardness in the conversations it causes when it is known. The look they give me… They don’t now what to do or say… And I can’t blame them. I understand it, I do. I know they’ll say the expected ‘oh I’m so sorry, I didn’t know’ – and then it gets awkward. Out of politeness or not knowing what to say, no one ever asks about her or what happened…even though I wish they would. So then the conversation shifts awkwardly unless I initiate talking about Hailey, which I love to do, but I don’t do it always because I don’t know if they want to hear about my baby who just died…I don’t like knowing whether I should talk about her or not, probably like other people don’t know whether to ask about her or not…

And regardless of what I do after my “secret” is known, it’s like I’m forever labeled as ‘that girl who lost her baby’ and then sometimes it feels like those people begin to avoid me … but I guess who can blame them… I mean who wants to be around someone who experienced a tragedy like that? And those people who do know, even then things can be awkward. Sometimes I can tell they’re thinking ‘there’s the couple that just lost their baby….so sad…” or something of that sort. I can feel the eyes on us or the eyes that intentionally don’t make eye contact.

I hate that it’s awkward no matter the situation sometimes. And most of the time after that initial awkwardness, if someone continues conversations with me, it gets better, it really does.  But I have to say, I prefer awkwardness over silence any day. I would much rather share my secret that than carry it on my own wishing for someone to ask me so I can tell them I had an amazing daughter.

So I guess I will carry my “secret” until someone asks me if I have children. Then I will tell them I had a daughter who recently passed away, and then I will take the initiative to tell them briefly about her, maybe her name, how old she was, that she had Trisomy 18… and then see how the other person reacts to decide whether to continue talking about Hailey or if it’s time to change the subject…

And if you know me, please don’t ever hesitate mentioning Hailey to me or asking how we’re doing…Even though I seem okay and am doing pretty good, it does still hurt and I still do like to be asked because it makes me feel like she wasn’t forgotten and what happened to us was forgotten about. Plus I still love talking about her…but I never know who wants to hear…

<wow, didn’t mean to make this post that long, it’s late…hope it makes sense! I may have to do some editing tomorrow!>

To my friends who have babies who are reading this: please do not let anything I said make you feel awkward or weird around me – please just be you and be normal and be real. Do not worry about shielding me from your life or your child or your happiness. You don’t need to hide that part of your life from me. It’s okay to share even if yes it may make me sad, it’s not your fault and it is what it is. It’s a part of my life now and I will work my way through it.

To my Hailey – I miss not being able to hold you and rock you to sleep anymore. I cannot wait until the day when we’re together again and I can hold you and rock you in my arms forever… Love, Mom.

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Entry filed under: Me. Tags: , , .

Peace and Love Discouraged

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  March 25, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Grief is a journey…and you are traveling it now. It is just like life…sometimes it moves more quickly, and sometimes it seems to stall. You are doing a great job working your way through it.

    I think that people shy away from awkwardness, so I think that you should go on and talk about Hailey to show them that it doesn’t bother you. I guarantee that people wonder and want to know more…about you AND her…but fear that they would upset you by pushing the issue. When you show them that you want to talk, I think they would love to discuss her with you.

    Keep smiling…even when Shaun teases you for your yoga participation…

    JKSB

    Reply

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Dedication

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In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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