Shrapnel of Grief

44 days ago we welcomed Zooey Helen into the world. 688 days ago we welcomed and then said good bye to our dear Teddy. Exactly 100 months ago Ryan and I consciously started trying to create our family. 3 days ago we had our final midwife appointment for our lifetime. It marks the last day of the family growing stage for us and sent us off lovingly into the family raising stage of our life. Having spent 100 months creating and growing a family this final appointment left me reflecting back on all those days, all the moments of being broken, being brave, all the joy, all the love and everything in between for us to be walking out of that office on Tuesday with a full heart and arms.

Those aren’t just numbers that represent a day passed, they are numbers that represent the most changing time of our life. The numbers are a representation of the time which allowed for growth and for a total rebirth of who Ryan and I are today. The last few days has had me reflecting on relationships. How they have evolved, how new ones have emerged, how some have been lost. Going through fertility challenges and then experiencing a loss of a child I see how many common threads they share and how they equally can put a strain on many relationships in your life. It is hard for everyone. I see how true the saying “people are in your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime” and I see throughout the years how some have fit into a category.

For the most part I am totally at peace with how relationships have evolved even the ones that didn’t survive the storms or the ones intended for a season. I do struggle with how people have been effected by our personal struggles. There is one person in particular I haven’t been able to shake how everything has changed, how so many days I wish I could go back in time and we could be who we used to be to each other. It was always easy, being together was always good for the soul, leaving feeling better than you arrived. It felt safe, she is always loyal. She always has good advice, and ear to listen and heart full of love. Time together never felt like enough, we could talk for hours over a simple cup of tea. She would be the first at our door when life once again handed us a shitty deal and always the first to celebrate when life was being kind and the first to meet our babies. I can’t stop wishing she wasn’t hit by the shrapnel of my life, my grief.

Moving through grief your perspective is narrow. It is hard, so hard to see all sides of situations or even at times when you do, your heart hurts so much it is easy to feel angry anyway. It makes it so hard to be a good friend. To be the person you once were, the person who had room for problems others faced. With this particular friend two things happened which I can see so clearly now. Life wasn’t always light for them, but as many people they weren’t able to bring their problems to me when my plate was so full. By not doing so shared moments were passed, and space between us was created. Someone else filled the void created by not being the person they went to for support. It changed the landscape of the friendship, I missed out on parts of their life. Being a person that I care deeply for, it was so easy to be hurt by them, even when they didn’t do anything wrong, the layers of grief changed our day to day interactions.

There was moments I became so angry, which was just deeply hurt feeling because I felt like I lost so much when Teddy died. There was loss in every aspect of my life, from close family members, to friends and basically everything in life as I once knew it. Everything changed and at times it was so hard to accept.

This friend had the most beautiful baby boy only months before Teddy was born. We shared our maternity leave when my second son and her daughter were born. It was amazing and when we found out we were pregnant again together we were so excited to share this experience once again. We were going to have two boys within a few months of each other, we both were looking forward to the life we would all share throughout the years. Then my baby died and it was simply impossible to do so. It was just one more layer of loss.

Being 100% honest I so desperately wanted to still be included, but I couldn’t and it was so hard to accept. As more time rolled on and the time we should have spent together drinking tea and talking about life was turned into me being swallowed up in grief and her no doubtably feeling our absence but also building closer relationships with others. Teddy was meant to be her son’s best friend, that was the way we intended it and she also lost that. She felt his loss deeply, I know this to be true. Our friendship was set up to be rocked purely by the situation we were presented with. I was so mad at her at times, but it was never her. It was real life. I wanted her to be drinking tea and sharing baby time with other Moms, I was just so mad and hurt I no longer belonged. I was so tired, I couldn’t ask for what I needed. I just wanted my friend back, I just wanted to be the friend I once was again. I wanted it all to be light, and to be easy but it just wasn’t possible.

I remember the day before Teddy’s first birthday I popped by the baby group as the group leader wanted to hand out Teddy’s Choose Love cards in celebration of him. I arrived and the four girls I should be with had Teddy not died were drinking tea, chatting and all four of their baby boys were there crawling around. They looked so happy, as they all deserved to be. They didn’t see me. I left with such a clear visual of what I desperately wanted and was missing. Unfairly I was hurt by this friend, she did nothing but kept living the life she deserved and the one I wanted for her. But sadly of the four girls it was her my heart chucked daggers at, because it was her my heart was truly connected with and missed deeply. I became angry my baby was dead, and I didn’t get to spend my morning with friends, instead I was driving around alone distributing cards in memory of him. It felt so unfair. I wanted my baby to be alive as well. I wanted the life we had envisioned.

At the time it was so hard for me see it all as it really was. Intellectually I always knew but my heart was broken and this was a layer of it and emotionally was not capable of seeing it clearly. I am so grateful for perspective. I see how much she loved us through it all, I see she was given an impossible hand to win with, I see she felt our loss deeply, I see she loved Teddy as well, I see she also felt his absence and I see she too probably wished I could be the old me and for everything to be different. She lost her friend as well, her #elsupremo.

Grief is so powerful, it doesn’t have mercy on those around it. Shrapnel flies and so many people get hurt. I know in this process many people have been hit by our shrapnel. I am so sorry for each of you and in particular this friend I speak of. Grief is messy, holds no boundaries and is unforgiving. Time though allows for perspective, it allows the fog to lift and clarity to be regained. If you have been hit by someone’s grief shrapnel please give them time, give them grace and give space if needed but just hold on if you can, clarity will come once again. You may never receive the loved one you once had, they are forever changed but maybe just maybe together you can find your way to building a stronger house than the one that had blown down if you still have the foundation remaining.

I am grateful that the foundation to this friendship is still there. I am grateful and hopeful she will be in the category “for a lifetime” and that with time we will rebuild our house. It might not be the pretty tea house it once was, but I have faith it can be stronger. I have moved through the heaviest parts of losing my son and am now in a space where I can once again be a friend, one who can help carry the load of others because mine is once again lighter. I look forward to helping carry some of her load when needed as time moves on. I will be forever grateful she didn’t shut me out, she always stood by even if it was at a distance, I know being hit by our shrapnel has caused pain, and I am so sorry for that. She chose to love us even when it wasn’t easy. #alwayschooselove

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