Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grief

Our son Cole Jayden passed away in September of 2010 and I have gone through more stages of grief than I knew possible. First I was in shock. I couldn't believe what was happening and didn't have time to grasp it. Those who were with me at the hospital know that I was smiling while holding Cole. I was tired, exhausted, and just plain overwhelmed with emotion. Then when we got home I was angry. Had we done everything we could do? Could we have done more? Why did this happen? Why weren't people understanding what had happened? Then, I was sad. Heartbroken. Couldn't get out of bed. Didn't want to talk to anyone. I purposely stayed in my room when my coworkers brought us dinners because I couldn't face them. I couldn't talk to anyone. Then I was back to being angry. Why were people saying, "at least you have another son..." and "this was part of God's plan..."? Why were people being so cavalier about his loss? Did they not know I held him in my arms? That I kept him in my belly for 6 months? Why wouldn't the hospital give me a birth certificate? Why did I even need that? I saw him. I knew he existed.


On his first birthday, I broke down. I couldn't parent Connor. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My eyes were so raw from grief that it was hard to even open them. The lights hurt them; the dark it hurt them; I rubbed them hoping for the sense of relief I knew only one thing could give them (and the one thing I knew wasn't possible: seeing him); my skin felt raw to the touch; I didn't want my husband to be anywhere near me. Why didn't people send us birthday cards? Would that have made it better? Would it have hurt my heart more? Should we have a birthday party for him? Why were people saying, "When the twins are here, it'll be easier?" How could they replace him? When one parent dies do people say, "Well you shouldn't be sad because your dad is still around?"

Now, I can talk about it freely. I have moments when I'm so overwhelmed and so sad. As a teacher I have a website and there's a section where we are supposed to write about ourselves. I have read and re-read that section. In it, I say I have four children. My students ask me when they don't hear my stories about my fourth and I smile thinking of my beautiful angel. But I question whether or not it is too much for them to understand. I know it isn't my job to protect the hearts of my seventh graders, but it is always a balance between protecting my heart and my pride of ALL my kids with what may or may not hurt someone else. I know that my children will get asked how many siblings they have too and it will be up to them how they answer. Will they acknowledge the brother they never knew? It is one of my strongest, most heartfelt prayers that everyone acknowledge it. My brother and sister have THREE nephews, not two. My parents have FOUR grandchildren, not three. And I, most certainly, have FOUR babies, not three.

I am going through a phase where I am having a hard time taking off my footprint necklace. I feel people are forgetting about him. I feel like because I'm happy with my other precious babies that in their minds, they have come to grips with his loss. I am not there.
*Necklace above. Mr. Howard's parents and my parents had it made to replicate Cole's footprints that we had done at the hospital.*
They say that time heals all wounds. Does it? Do you ever heal from the loss of a child? 

8 comments:

My name is Heather. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't think you ever "get over it" or "heal". it's a child. there is no greater loss than losing a child. for me it's only been 8 months, and i know i cry less than i did right afer it happened, but i will never stop talking about them. i will never stop showing pictures of them. i will never stop wearing my necklace (mine has the ashes of the triplets in it).

i too wonder if there will be a day where i can not "feel" so much about it, but i don't think so. and i am ok with that.

Kristy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm pretty sure it never goes away, instead I think that over time God gives us more strength to carry our burden. Its only been almost 6 weeks since we said goodbye and not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I have a sweet necklace for my son too (actually 2 and a bracelet) and I wear at least one of them every day. I think as a mommy and daddy our greatest fear is that people will forget about them. I get so angry when people say we can have another baby. How do you know we can? And even if we do, Grant can't be replaced. Hugs friend, praying for you.

Tesha said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh I have to say what you wrote is so much how I feel. I am so very thankful to read this and feel normal, less alone. My eyes still hurt and I wonder...why won't people talk about him? I do not think we will ever get over it. Someone told me this week you move forward but never move on. I can not say amen enough to the statement that no other child or baby can replace him. I am really really thankful for this post!!!! I have to ask where did you get the shirt? hugs friend.

Jenn said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My son Noah died in July 2010 and I still wear his footprints necklace everyday. I talk about him, I blog about him, I put his photo in with our family pictures still. He is still very much included as if he were here. I've always said, my son is alive, he just lives at a different address than us right now. ;) Huge{{{hugs}}} it is sooo hard! It pains me how others forget about my son.

Kacie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for sharing your precious Cole with us. We lost our Isaac last July and are now expecting a little girl in August. I often have a hard time answering the question "how many children do you have?" Right now our 2 year old tells people that she has a brother and I hope she always remembers him.

LittleDreamer said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

:-) Different circumstances but part of me does understand. I won't forget your Cole.

Page said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I found your blog through Kelly's Korner...do you know it was the only one I clicked on and our stories are almost identical? I am currently going through it all right now..22 weeks pregnant with a little boy with bilateral multicystic kidneys. I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the past week...finding the similarities we share and the joy you have had from having your twins. Thanks so much for your honesty.

Nicole Rodriguez said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You do not ever heal from losing your baby. You just learn how to live in a new life. I fell your pain, Sweet Friend. It's been 6 years since Alex was born and died and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who remembers. Sometimes it just seems easier to say I have 3 children when asked because then I feel like I'd have to explain and then I don't want to hear their response - because it's not going to be what I know I would say. People just have no idea what we have gone thru unless they have gone thru it. I had some family members not even come to Alex's graveside service and I asked my husband - Would they have come had it been Aidan who died? (he's our oldest and at the time only child) It's like people don't feel his life was just as justified? I'm sorry we have to be in this "club" together. I'm praying for you.

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