look back in forgiveness
forward with hope
down in compassion
and up with gratitude.
dear 40 year-old me,
this is a love letter to you, full of hopeful promises for the future. you give so much of yourself, it’s only fair to give some back.
promise me that in five years you will be different from the me now. not different in the “you will be more wrinkled and saggy” meaning (because duh we can’t escape gravity), but different in your aims and sense of self. please don’t take offense to this, but i hope you finally feel complete. 35 year-old you doesn’t know how to be at peace with life. she cannot let out her breath and relax… she is constantly searching for what she hopes will complete her. you have years on her, you deserve peace.
promise me you will forgive yourself. allow yourself the benefit of all doubt. you did all that you can do. you turned over every stone, and followed every path to its bitter end. and despite meeting locked doors and dead ends you dug deep and wouldn’t give up. so wherever you are now, whether a rocky path or a lush meadow, stop moving. rest your weary legs and be still. breathe in the air and let it all go. you deserve forgiveness.
promise me you will have more sunshine than dark clouds. not that you have changed your future into day upon day full of puppies and rainbows, but that you found a way to look at the world differently. you embrace the positive and can leave envy and bitterness behind you.
the last thing i ask you to promise me is you will look back on me and realize what my purpose was in this time in my life. why i was meant to be here, in this place, at this time. the me now is a spinning top, stuck in one place getting more and more dizzy. i cannot see past my blurry view of the world. i cannot catch my breath when i am moving this fast. the me now would love so much to have closure, and know why these last few years were meant to happen how they did.
if i could say anything to you i want you to know that you should have no regrets. you never gave up. it’s just not within you to quit, well, anything really once you put your mind to it. you did your very best. and you deserve to sit down, put your feet up, and let out that breath.
he is my sacred space
laying him down to sleep is the most heartwarming part of each day. after the stalling and “more water mama” and “i’m hungry” “i need socks” “my feet are too hot, i don’t want THESE socks” routine… we lay side by side, his head cradled in the nook of my arm… we lay in that sacred space, and hum lullabyes. the space between us is perfect: calm and peaceful. it is our time, our special place in the day’s business, to close our eyes and let the comfort of sleep whisk us away. “goodnight sweetheart, well, it’s time to goooo…” i’ve been singing that to him since he first breathed air.
and so i dream of him
and them. his lost brothers and sisters. they run ahead of him, too fast for him to catch up. he reaches his hand out for theirs but they disappear in the blink of an eye. i dream of a life full of thankfulness, and empty of sorrow.
and when i wake in the middle of the night, i go to him
i have to make sure he is ok. he doesn’t stir. i check to see if he is breathing. check. is he warm enough. blankey,… check. i put his socks back on. check. i kiss him three times… forehead nose and lips. good night sweetheart. you are my favorite boy.
i am guilty
guilty of holding on, boxing myself in
as much as i want to escape these bars
i turn the key in the lock and throw it away
because sometimes it is easier
easier to sit and hide
rather than to break free
sure, i want to feel the sun on my face
but i am terrified of more rain
it is easier to stay where i am
in my box
how do i forgive myself
and let go
seasons & symbols
i chose the symbol of the butterfly today, as butterflies are a common symbol in the loss world. they represent the spirit of our angel babies. they represent the soul’s transformation from an earthly body to a heavenly one. and their wings help them soar to the heavens, free from the weight of this world. whenever i encounter a butterfly, i take the time to stop and close my eyes… be present in the moment. for maybe i will feel a connection to what became so disconnected from me.
this particular butterfly is rad. it’s the parnassius apollo. not only does it appear to carry bleeding hearts on its wings, it survives in the coldest of climates, atop the mountains of the French alps. it is a true inspiration of beauty and resilience. it has adapted and grown strong, despite the harshest of elements, the most difficult of times.
music is a trigger. it can act as a catalyst, triggering a tidal wave of emotions. certain songs, that is. for me, there are a choice few that i can no longer listen to, mostly because i associate them with my losses. they are songs that i heard either on the radio, after leaving a doctors office/hospital post-bad news. every once in a while, when i need a good ugly cry, i will play them. and unleash the pent up pain. it is cathartic, a good cry. physically, emotionally,… sometimes you just have to let it out. and then there is one. one special song dear to my heart i have mentally reserved for playing when i finally get my rainbow baby. the words of this song, they speak what my heart has tried to say for years now. occasionally it comes on the radio and before i know it i am a heaping pile of tears. i have to turn it off, it’s too much these days. i cannot take the tidal wave.
you lose all that might have been.
his soft skin. sweet coos. first giggles. first steps. the way his brother may have held him close to his own heart. matching pjs. snuggles, because he’s the baby. teaching him to ride a bike. kindergarten. hugs. t-ball games with big brother. vacations as a “whole” family. high school dances. teaching him to drive. sending him to college. walking him down the aisle. watching him grow to be the man you raised him to be. seeing him with his own little ones, gentle and sweet. full heart and joyful spirit.
you will miss how much big brother would love him. hate him at times but love him forever. they would have each other long after we were gone. they would never feel alone. you lose so much more than a chunk of your soul.
oh, what might have been.
i try not to have them. but inevitably a few remain. i wish i had:
not waited even one second to try to have kids. not listened when my doctor told me “you’re young, it will be fine, you have time.” been an advocate for myself sooner. researched more. worried less. paid more attention to amazing son, in those times when i was too wrapped up in my own issues to see him growing up fast. thanked amazing husband more… for everything, really.
i can’t put a picture here to represent the triggers. no single picture could include the world and all it’s triggers, both as obvious as the pregnant bellies around me to as subtle as a butterfly that crosses my path. i am surprised on a daily basis, just how many things trigger my grief… trigger memories of my babies, the physical experience of losing them from my body, emotions i felt, emotions i am feeling now. how do you disassociate these common triggers and the raw punch-in-the-gut, time and time again? i don’t know how to do that.
express your heart
“for all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.”
-john greenleaf whittier