I recently read a book, a memoir, which was so well written, poetic and emotional. It was everything my writing is not. I suppose I'm a half-way decent author of facts and opinions but when it comes to expressing emotion, I struggle. I could blame this on my Boston Irish Catholic show-no-emotion upbringing or my introverted personality. Perhaps I just wasn't meant to be a writer.
Tomorrow is Abigail's 12th birthday. I want to say something but my emotions are currently all over the place and I tend to shut down when that happens. So instead of sitting here for three hours attempting to share my inner most thoughts, which will undoubtedly fall short of what I'm really feeling, I've decided to give you a list of what I've learned over the past twelve years.
*Grief and the process of grieving are extremely personal. There is no 'one size fits all' pamphlet providing details on how to grieve. I can feel however or whatever I want to.
*When it comes to providing support to those grieving, be sure that support is actually wanted. For example, packing up a baby's bedroom without direct consent may be more harmful than helpful.
*People, in general, want to feel good so when they see someone suffering, they tend to offer "words of wisdom." Sometimes you may have to take the high road. I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, but I don't argue over it. I know it's an opinion and it doesn't have to be mine.
*Your real friends will not turn their backs on you. Stillbirth is not contagious.
*The world will continue spinning and life will move forward even when you don't expect it to.
*Not all loss should be lumped together as "pregnancy loss" but it is for the sake of convenience. Just as I'm not a fan of the word 'loss' but use it because it is generally known and accepted. Every pregnancy is unique.
*Someone may know what you've been through and still be mean to you.
*It's okay to question why this happened to you and not to someone else who seemingly doesn't want a baby. People may judge you for that, but, again, grieving is extremely personal.
*"These things sometimes just happen" is still not a good enough reason.
*It's okay do what you need to do to get through the day. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to ask to be left alone.
*It's okay to be angry.
*When a piece of you dies, you realize death is a bully.
*There are amazingly wonderful members of this unwanted club out there and I'm lucky to know some of them. We truly are not alone and our babies will not be forgotten.
*Some people will never get it.