First and foremost, I wanted to wish Dylan a very HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY! I love you and miss you so much, my sweet son! And I continue to be amazed and inspired by those around us who remembered with sweet texts, flowers, cards, and donations to the children's hospital.
This is my attempt at joining Angie from Still Life With Circles in sharing where I am in my grief journey: "just talk about where you are right now in your grief, and the daily ways in which grief rears its head, the things you can do now that seemed impossible, the obstacles you are facing".
I'm a little late in joining the boat on this, but since Saturday was Dylan's 3rd birthday, I thought that I would wait and write closer to then. The emotions are fresh and brought back to the surface every year at this time. It's such a cliche to say that it never really goes away. I guess that I can compare my grief journey to a scar. When it first happened, the wound was so raw and ever-present. It was something that was so unbearably painful that you couldn't ignore it. Over time, though, it begins to heal itself. Now, you just have the scar. It's a reminder of the pain you endured and will never really go away. And, in alot of ways, it's a badge of honor.
"Look at how strong I am. Look at what I had to overcome."
Admittedly, this excercise is more difficult to write than I'd anticipated. The old saying "opening up old wounds" seems to be coming to mind. It's not that I don't think about Dylan often. I do, on a daily basis. We look at his pictures with fondness and remember the days that we were blessed with. It's just that, on his birthday (moreso that any other time of the year), the pangs of all the negative feelings re-surface: the anger, the hate, the frustration, the anxiety.
We went to church on Saturday, and I felt the uncontrallable onslaught of tears. I didn't stop them. It was a good release. I sat in the church and remembered sitting there for the memorial. There are just moments like that, where you have to cry remembering what you went through. And it's okay to. There's no point in trying to stop myself from feeling what I feel. I think the emotions are healthy, and I think that I might be more upset at myself if I didn't feel that way.
I know that there are times when I'm simply watching tv, and I see something that sets me off, makes me stop in my tracks, and take a minute to remember our experience. Or listening to the radio and hearing a song that we played at the memorial. Or reading someone else's blog and feeling that emotion just flow for what somebody else is going through. Or finding out that there's someone in our daughter's class named "Dylan". Wow, it's flooring. Sometimes everything is a reminder in some way, shape or form.
Outside of Dylan's birthday, though, the rest of the year is much more manageable. When we took Faith for her 2-year pedicatrician appointment back in May, the nurse asked us if this was our first. I politely said, "No, she's our 2nd. Our first passed away." In the very beginning, I couldn't answer questions about kids without completely losing it. Questions like that don't bother me anymore. I am able to be candid and composed and even have entire conversations about Dylan like any proud mother would. We got pregnant with Faith just 3 months after Dylan died. Honestly, I think that I was still numb from everything that we'd been through. But that numb feeling might've single-handedly been what got me through that pregnancy, what helped me overcome the fears and anxiety.
I say that now because, as we begin to talk about getting pregnant again, I feel like I'm more scared now than I was immediately after the loss. In terms of the obstacles that I'm facing, the fear can be debilitating at times. Yes, we've had a healthy baby since Dylan, but when you know everything that can happen during pregnancy and when you spend your time reading babyloss blogs, you begin to get blown away at the odds as they stack against you. I pray daily to find the strength, physically and emotionally, to put myself through this again.