Grief is a Funny Thing
Posted on May 23 2019
May 23rd 2019 has been hanging over my head like a dark cloud, waiting for it with dreaded anticipation. I’ve wanted the day to come slowly and yet also just pass by quickly. It’s a day that will be forever etched in my mind that I should’ve been delivering a baby. I should be getting ready to snuggle a chubby, brown haired, brown eyed baby girl that looks like Brylee. I should be bringing her home to meet her other sissies. I should be the mother of 4 living children. This should be my last baby. This should be my last hospital stay. This should be the end of my baby phase. I should, I should, I should………but I’m not. Instead, I’m spending the day doing what I usually do on my due date: foot massage, lunch with friends, manicures, and remembering the little girl I won’t be meeting today.
Grief is a funny thing, ya know? One minute you feel fine and the next you want to bawl your eyes out. Sometimes the ache is so great, I can physically feel it in my chest. As if the wind got knocked out of me and all my muscles tightened up at once. It’s a pain that goes beyond the physical, a torment that sits in the back of your brain and reminds you regularly she’s not here. She won’t be here. You’ll never know what she would have been like and you’ll never make a memory with her. People ask how you’re doing, but what they should really ask is how are you doing TODAY? Because you’re surviving but at any given moment you feel like you might fall apart. And do they mean in general how you’re doing or are they asking to find out how you’re handling the death? Do I give a flippant “I’m good” when they really want to know if I’m ok or are they just giving the obligatory, “how are you” as you pass by each other at church?
There’s no guidebook on grief. I wish there was. With everything else in life we have one. Why don’t they teach THAT in school? When you put together a shelf, you have an instruction manual with a step by step guide showing how to put it together. You are given the exact amount of bolts and screws you need, detailed pictures, and if you’re lucky, even youtube videos to guide you through the process. If you go out of order, you could end up with a crooked shelf or an extra screw that you don’t know what to do with. You follow the instructions because the end result is a perfect shelf. Grief doesn’t have that. You have no idea if you’re doing good or terrible because everyone handles it differently. You wonder am I doing too well? Am I doing too poor? If I haven’t thought about her today, is that wrong? It’s been 4 months, should I still be breaking down at a moments notice looking at her photo? Should I be mad, should I be more sad? Should I be forever changed by this experience? Is it too soon if I want another baby? Does that diminish the importance of her life? Should my marriage and family be better than it ever was due to her death? Sure, there are things you can do. You can go to counseling, pray, talk to friends and family, read books, and spend time alone, but at the end of the day there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There’s nothing to tell you you’re on step 5 and by step 12 you’ll be healed. If there is, let me know because I’d love to join that class!
And why do we put so much pressure on the deceased? Why must we make that person responsible for making me a better person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend? Why do we say things like well they would have wanted me to be happy? Look how much good has come from their death! Maybe God allowed this so your marriage could be healed and your family restored. Why do we have to have answers for the reasons they passed? It doesn’t change the outcome. It doesn’t make them come back. Does me being more sympathetic to people’s situations due to my experience make me feel better about the fact that I lost my baby? I’ve put that pressure on Briar, for her life to mean something. If I have to lose her then her life has to be something bigger. I need it to be a wakeup call because if nothing changes after her death then was it worth it? It’s been 4 months and I should be forever changed for the better or else her life was in vain. But why? Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we put stipulations and guidelines on how to deal with grief?
I think about her a lot. January in some ways feels like an eternity ago. Like so much life has happened since then, and yet sometimes it’s so close I can remember what the room smelled like and what it felt like to hold her. I think about the other scenarios if she had lived. We may have spent 4 straight months in that hospital with her hooked up to wires and tubes trying desperately to keep her alive. I think about if my blood pressure hadn’t spiked that night but instead was still on bedrest this whole time what life would have looked like not working and trying to take care of my kids the last 4 months. I think about how strange it would be to still be pregnant right now and how the dynamics of our home would have changed so dramatically if we were bringing home a fourth baby. That’s what I’m left with. A lot of thoughts. A lot of what if’s. A lot of unanswered questions and fears of the unknown in the future. My life feels in limbo between wondering if were done or if we’ll ever have another. It feels incomplete without her here and I think where do I go from here?
I at least know one thing…..I’m going to be ok. I’m letting myself off the hook from the pressure, the timelines and the guilt that stems from grief. I’m allowing myself to process Briar’s death in a manner that works for me. If I need to cry, I’m going to cry. If I’m happy, it’s ok to have joy. I’m not going to grapple with the why and come up with feeble reasons as to why she passed to make my earthly mind feel better about her death. I’m going to keep trusting in God, the one person that can give me comfort. I’m going to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I’m going to live my life, I’m going to do the best I can, and I’m continue being me.
I’m not sure you ever stop fully grieving. I think the sting lessens some over time but I think you will always have an ache in the back of your soul. Maybe that’s just God’s sweet reminder for us to long for Heaven, to be reunited with the ones we’ve lost. What a sweet reunion it will be! Until then, I love you baby Briar. I hope Grandma Tillie is holding you tight!