As a bereaved mother, I can honestly say that nothing about the death of your child “gets better with time”. It’s a life you learn to live.
Every milestone is different. The first year I was so numb I barely felt anything at all. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to let it all in so I put on a brave face. I mostly remember how much it physically hurt to be away from her, the absence of her was everywhere. It took up every single thing and place and task.
Everyone handles these things in their own way. Like my husband and I. Of course I won’t discuss his coping mechanisms or any of that, if he feels comfortable sharing, than that’s his deal. I will say that the two of us are pretty opposite in the ways that we grieve our princess. He accepted outside help in the beginning and I absolutely would not. Now, creeping up on two years later, I’m more open to talking about her, and he’s more prone to keeping to himself.
February is the month I dread first, because it marks Mila Rose turning another year older. I feel the loss of who she was, and who she could be even more. Like this year she would be five. That’s a big one. This would be her first year of big girl school, we would have a kindergartener on our hands. With each passing year I lose a little more of what could’ve been, I think it will always feel that way. The life I imagined for her was stripped away from us with one life ending diagnosis.
Which brings me to May, the month I dread once February has passed. May 20, 2017 and the days leading up to it were the worst of my life. Last year, I was so nervous that our rainbow baby was going to come early on me and claim one of those awful days as his birthday. Could you imagine each year celebrating one child’s life at the same time as grieving his older sister that he never got to meet? Me either.
Everyday life is such a delicate balance, as a mother with out all of her children living. I can’t help but to compare my living child with my deceased child. I’d like to say that it’s normal, but I really have nothing to base it on. I just know that whether Grayson does something good,bad, new, etc. I immediately relate it to his big sister Mila at his age-it’s just where my head goes. I know both of my children are special and unique, but sometimes I see her in his mannerisms or facial expressions and my heart stops for a minute. She comes flooding in like a tidal wave.
There are some days when losing Mila feels like another life, or like something I watched happen in a dream rather than lived through. I’m not sure why that is, probably just a way to survive such an unnatural loss. Occasionally, I find myself trying to remember as much as possible on command, so I don’t start to get fuzzy on the details of our time together. I watch her videos on my phone to hear her little voice, and so that her brother hears her sometimes too.
I dread the day that my memories of her start to be more about pictures and videos rather than the experiences in between. I know that she will never be forgotten, especially by me, that’s not the worry. I just don’t want to lose the way she laughed when we were playing, or the way it felt to kiss her cheek when she laid next to me sleeping in our bed. I will always hate myself for deleting the video of us singing our song together at bed time, because I was embarrassed of my own voice. I would give anything in the world to hear that little voice singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ to me again.
When it’s so sudden, so completely final,there really isn’t a way to get those things back. She was never conscious in the hospital, so the keepsakes we got were the handprints, footprints, and the lock of hair the nurses got for me before the funeral home came. Not another look at her beautiful baby blues, not the sound of her saying “I love you muchest”, not even the feeling of her little hand holding mine.
I have a photo album of pictures that most of the time I can’t stand to look through, but am more than thankful for. Mila’s three year pictures weren’t of her posed in her favorite outfit like I had planned, but were taken by a kind photographer that volunteered her time to document our daughter’s last day on earth. The love is so evident in them, and will be still when I get to look back on them years from now. I remember thinking how proud I was to have her as my daughter and just how beautiful she was even sick and laying there with tubes coming out of every inch of her tiny body. Mila was and will always be my angel, I was only given a short time with her, but she will always be mine and I will always be hers.