Friday, May 25, 2012

right where I am: three years, 4 months, 16 days

Year two of the Right Where I Am project already. Here is my post from last year.  
And here is the link up.

Three years is different.  This is the first May since we let her go that hasn't left me breathless with longing for what might have been.  Her due date passed a few days ago, and it just barely registered when I noticed the date, just a flutter of a thought and then...gone. No sadness. No feelings of emptiness or a birthday missing on the calendar.  This is the month she would have been born, but she wasn't, and that has somehow become normal. Somehow okay. Maybe this is what they meant by that stage of grief called "acceptance."

This isn't to say that I don't think of her anymore, because, oh, I do. I think of her daily, still.  I think of her every time I see a little bird watching us, or when the sky above the ocean turns brilliantly pink.  I think of her when I am in the shower.  I remember, endlessly, it seems, that moment when I first felt something was wrong.  I roll it over and over in my head, trying to pinpoint the moment when I could have done something, could have changed everything.  But I don't want to anymore, not really.

I think of her as I watch this amazing boy blossom into a little person before me, not just a baby anymore. Her brother runs, he runs and tumbles and kicks with such force.  I imagine her spirit is nearby somewhere, smiling about this, the things she never would have done in that little broken body.  It is all because of her.  This is how it was meant to be, it seems obvious now.  He is very much here, and she is this abstract presence in our lives.  Not here, and yet so very much a part of the last 3 years.

Orrin and I were spinning in my chair the other day.  He stood on my lap and laughed as we spun faster and faster.  Then he got very serious and wanted to stop, pointing at the shelf where Layla's ashes and photos sit.  I said, that's Layla.  He said, oh...Layla.  Yes, Layla.  Feet, he said, pointing out the little plaster mold that sits collecting dust.  Yes, I said, she had the tiniest little feet!  And then he was back to playing.  I hope he will keep asking.

Somehow this didn't make me cry.  Grief is so different now.  Occasionally it rises in my throat and tears well in my eyes, but I rarely cry anymore.  Sometimes I miss the release of those gut-wrenching sobs that plagued me in the early days.  Now when grief visits, it sits on my heart, nagging in the perimeter of my thoughts, but I don't let it in much anymore.

In the beginning of my grief, I remember reading blogs of women that were years out from their loss and feeling horrified.  I could not imagine ever accepting this loss, moving on with a new normal.  I wanted to cry forever, because it was the only thing I had left. I clung to grief because it meant that she was real, she had existed, even when it seemed everyone around me had forgotten. But there was a moment (or a series of moments I'm sure) when I realized I could still love her and miss her and get up and move on, move past the grief. 

Perhaps the most important thing three years has given me is strength.  For the first time, I am talking about what really happened with people I don't know.  I am fighting for understanding and compassion for those of us who have made the most difficult, horrible choice imaginable.  I am admitting that something went very wrong, and we chose to let our baby go because we loved her. Not because she wasn't perfect, or because we didn't want her.  We loved her so much that we chose to spare her from a life of pain and suffering.  I am not afraid of anyone's judgement anymore, because I know it was the right thing.  I know it was what her spirit asked me to do, what she was preparing me for from the moment I had that rush of intuition in the shower at 6 weeks along.

I will love her forever for everything she has given me. Strength, compassion, empathy, wisdom, gratitude, a beautiful, healthy child and the knowledge I need to create more of them if I choose to. She is still my first baby, the one who introduced me to that all powerful mother-love that was bigger than I ever could have imagined.



I cried for you, and the sky cried for you
and when you went, I became a hopeless drifter
but this life was not for you, 
though I learned from you
that beauty need only be a whisper

18 comments:

cullensblessings said...

So much of your post resonates with me.. especially Orrin and his sweet little recognition of his sister.. may he continue to warm your heart with moments like this.
You are right.. grief certainly evolves as the days pass us by. Who ever could have thought that we would one day find ourselves writing about life after?
Love and light...

Sara said...

Learning how to let go of the grief and hold on to the love is harder than it seems it should be. Thank you for sharing where you are.

March is for daffodils said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Hope's Mama said...

This: "In the beginning of my grief, I remember reading blogs of women that were years out from their loss and feeling horrified. I could not imagine ever accepting this loss, moving on with a new normal. I wanted to cry forever, because it was the only thing I had left. I clung to grief because it meant that she was real, she had existed, even when it seemed everyone around me had forgotten. But there was a moment (or a series of moments I'm sure) when I realized I could still love her and miss her and get up and move on, move past the grief. "

My goodness, me too. Sometimes it horrifies me that I am now that woman, the one writing about how the loss has been accepted and integrated in to normal life and how sweet life is. How did I become that woman, how did I get so lucky, how did so much time pass?

So glad you took part this year, I have always loved your blog.

xo

still life angie said...

This is so beautiful. At three years too, I feel like I understand this so completely, like the dates passing as a blip, acknowledged, but not all encompassing. It just resonates a great deal. THank you for sharing yourself and right where you are. Remembering Layla with you. xo

Catherine W said...

I remember your post from last year so clearly.

I hope that Layla's spirit does watch her brother, all the things he does, all because of her.

I loved reading your description of Orrin pointing at Layla's ashes and photographs. It makes me wonder if I should make my daughter more visible in our home, I think her sister thinks that G actually is my memorial necklace rather than a real person.

I'm glad that you are no longer afraid of the judgement of others. I don't know how anyone could fail to see that you loved Layla so very, very much and that is why you made that decision for her. To spare her and, perhaps, she was helping you to make that choice all along.

I also lost my first born and yes, that introduction to all powerful mother-love is such a gift. My daughter was a gift. And beauty need only be a whisper, very true.

Remembering your beautiful girl, Layla Wren.

Angela said...

I love you so much. I've always felt like our girls were connected, our little bird babies. This is so exactly how I feel now, especially the bit about moving past the grief. It has to happen, but it's so strange when it does.

Sweet Layla Wren, remembering her with you.

L & R said...

Beautifully put. Remembering Layla. Sending love and thanking you for sharing <3

Mama Bear said...

This is beautiful!

Merry said...

I do mention it, but not loudly. We chose not to fight too, not to go back to ventilation and intervention and desperate fighting for life. I have seen that life and it is not pretty for anyone. No life really. We had a choice about fighting, though there was very little hope I think and we had already chosen, I chose, not to. I didn't want that life for a child of mine and if I'm honest, I didn't want it for me either. The biggest thing though was our other children, sat at home. They'd watch disability happen once and I just couldn't stand to break their lives that way for a brother who would not get to enjoy his properly.

Jessica said...

That ending, the poem, struck me...brought me to tears. Beauty in words - your whole post was filled with beauty. My journey made me realize beauty can be sad also. I remember reading blogs and feeling I would never make it as far as those women had but I also had moments where I thought I would never have a live baby... After 2 losses and an inhabitable uterus I found a doctor to help me. I know now that without my two angels we never would have known I needed surgery. Without them my one month old son would not exist. He has 3 guardian angels (one is his twin) and I know they will always be with us. Thank you for sharing how your daughter helped bring life into your arms as my children did for me... <3

Jessica said...

By the way... I have always loved the name Layla... so very beautiful.

Arcadia said...

This is such a beautiful post.. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you and Layla (such a beautiful name), and hoping with you that Orrin keeps asking.

erica said...

This is such a gorgeous post. I think you're write and that three years is different somehow, at least for many of us. This, in particular, took my breath away -

"I clung to grief because it meant that she was real, she had existed, even when it seemed everyone around me had forgotten. But there was a moment (or a series of moments I'm sure) when I realized I could still love her and miss her and get up and move on, move past the grief."

So much love in your words. Thank you for sharing this.

Amelia said...

This is so beautiful. It brings me that I will continue to heal.

Amelia said...

*hope. (duh)

Fireflyforever said...

WOW - I got goosebumps reading this because I'm three years + too and I related so throughly. My blog is named for that Katie Melua song - there are two songs I associate closely with Emma and that is one of them ... and pink skies (Emma sunsets we call them here) are very significant too.

My rainbow says his sister's name so sweetly and her name on his lips is so sweet and precious.

Thank you for sharing such beautiful, powerful words about Layla.

TracyOC said...

What a beautiful tribute to both Layla and Orrin. You said that it all seems obvious now that this is the way it was supposed to be--I feel the same way right now. I can roll through all of the other decisions we could have made that could have meant a different outcome for R but it just takes me away from the main point--she is mine and I love her. That's it.