Grief Is A Thief

Blog post

Written for Still Standing Magazine – March 21, 2018

Grief is a thief, stealing so much from the grieving and those close to them. The wake is messy with shrapnel flying and everyone in your life being hit by it to a degree. If you are close to the eye of the storm coming out unharmed is a miracle. Doing so probably means you either weren’t as close as you thought or you are one of the few that were able to swim through the mud being a fierce protector of the grieving Mom’s heart.

Grief, after your baby dies, isn’t only about grieving the baby you lost but also grieving the life you once lived. You grieve relationships you had with friends and family that once felt loving and easy and no longer are. You grieve all you had envisioned for your future that no longer can be. The ripple effect is so great that one day you wake up and reflect on the life you once lived and it feels like it belongs to someone else, with little resemblance to the life you now live.

People may give you grace and understand the profound sadness that comes when your baby dies. What is often misunderstood is the pain that is caused by the ripple effect of grief and all that was left in its wake. We feel the pain to our core when we see who ran and hid, who judged you, who justified their own behaviour, who talked to others about you and who was clearly lacking love.

Once the fog clears and you see the landscape you are now living in, it is impossible to un-see it. You see your heart was truly only safe with only a few people and feel intense pain from being abandoned or let down by those you thought were put in your world to support you and help protect your heart.

Relationships are easy when living is easy. The real litmus test of a relationship is when you have to ride the waves together. When the person you trust to have your back catches you without hesitation as you are falling, when your sadness isn’t frightening, or inconvenient, and they are more than willing to meet you just exactly where you are.

Relationships over time evolve, that is natural. When a life event like this happens you as a person is forever changed and with that, the relationship you once had is also forever changed. People either choose to love you through it and allow the quick evolution to flow and become more connected or choose you no longer fit into each other’s lives.

Grief is a thief. It steals so much from everyone involved. You are left with the gift of seeing who is still standing beside you and gently holding your heart. Grief steals so much but also gives the gift of deepened, stronger and more meaningful relationships once the aftermath is cleaned up. It is those relationships you know will last a lifetime because they stand on the foundation of unconditional love.

I am so sorry if you are a Mom who not only lost their baby but also had grief steal so much more from you. You didn’t deserve it.

Thank you to all who swim through the mud, those who stand in the fire, the ones who take the responsibility to safely hold the heart when it is broken, and those who can love stronger than the shrapnel of grief. You are the grieving Mom’s greatest gift.

Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels

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Balancing The Lies Amoung The Truth

Blog postOriginally written for Still Standing Magazine – February 20, 2018

Some days I was a truth teller and some days I was a liar. What I wasn’t expecting was how easily the lies would roll off my tongue. Chatting about how busy I was going to be, talking about how three little boys under three will be noisy and crazy, how blessed I was to have them. These are the expected conversations while out and about with a one and two-year-old boys while visibly pregnant. People would comment how glowing I was. I clearly mastered the art of lying with my whole being. It must have been the smile, and belly rub as I agreed my life would be hectic.

The truth be told there would never be three little boys, my house wouldn’t be filled with the noise and the hectic life they envision, and I talked about. My hands would be full but with a mountain of grief, not three little boys. I knew my baby was going to die, he just didn’t stand a chance with multiple heart defects.

Telling the truth was possible but I had to feel safe. I was so protective of him and my choice to carry him for as long as possible. That choice isn’t right for everyone and I was sometimes judged. The lies were easier to tell than the truth. The truth was hard, it was hard for others to hear and incredibly hard for me to tell. At times I carried on with these lies with people I knew eventually would learn the truth. People like my esthetician who does my eyebrows, I even contemplated never going back after he was born because she would then find out I was lying to her every visit

He was dying, I knew it, but it was so hard to be honest about it. It was that look I would get when the truth was told, it cut so deep to see the instant pain within someone else’s heart my truth just inflicted. Everyone who knew us felt his loss, I didn’t own it alone, he wasn’t only mine. He was a neighbour, a friend, an acquaintance, a relative, my son and his name is Theodore.

To walk around looking so normal and people always wanting to politely chat about it was a double edge sword. The lies made me feel normal, but they also told my soul all that it will be missing. I had to shelf the grief of the life I thought I would live to stay present with my baby. To give him all he deserved I had no choice but to make my daily mantra “Today I am pregnant, today Teddy is alive” and live today as it could be his last, flooding him with love. Being his Mother, my only job was to love and support him through his journey, I was powerless to do anything else.

Two years ago, Teddy was born and died 22 minutes later, we said hello and goodbye. It was then the truth teller was born. The truth is heavy but speaking his truth lightens my heart. He was real, he mattered, and his truth holds profound beauty.

To all the truth tellers and liars that walked before me and all those who walk behind me I see you, I feel you and I admire your strength.