The Holidays: Part II

Those loss families that had given us warning that the holidays would be even harder, were right.

When you are already experiencing such deep emotion and all the sadness involved with the loss of your child, it’s almost unbelievable to think you could possibly be any sadder.

And then it is. They weren’t kidding.

I’ve kept my head barely above water the last few weeks. We made it through Thanksgiving with flying colors, then rounded the bend to Gina’s 40th, and began to crumble. Her 40th birthday- such a milestone and this big marker for her. He was supposed to be a part of that. Waking up that day without him was hard for both of us, but my heart ached for my wife, from the bottom of my heart all the way through the back of my throat.

I finished my last day of work in 2013, and as I sat at my desk looking at the same space I had looked the previous year, I thought back to what was going through my head when I left my last day of work in 2012.

2013 was going to be amazing and so full of love for Luca, and that I couldn’t wait to meet him.

And Monday, when I was getting ready to leave, all I could do was swallow back my tears, straighten out my desk a bit, and run out the door.

No baby to run home to. No talk around the water cooler on what he was getting for his first christmas, or laughing about this year’s holiday card we had handed out with him in it with his head inside Jackson’s mouth. Not one mention of him. Not anything like I thought this year would be like.

In most of my daily life situations it feels like he never even existed; that’s one of the hardest parts of my days in this new life of mine. Strangers don’t know, and many that do know are so uncomfortable with his death themselves, that they avoid bringing it up.

And, well. The holidays add another dimension to the hurt. I’ve lost my son, and that’s the biggest hurt I have ever felt. But the loss goes beyond those days back in March.

Luca’s first ornament, it was not hung by him, but by his mothers, in this quiet little house. photo (1)

It’s 2:00 in the morning now, on Christmas day. I’ve wrapped all of Gina’s gifts, and there is nothing left to put pretty paper or bows on. For anyone else. I didn’t get to buy any toys for my son.

I am not up for a night feeding, I’m up to write about this experience, about how it feels to be a parent without a child on their first holiday.

It’s heart breaking. To be where I’m sitting right now, is the most painful feeling I’ve ever experienced. The tears, they blur my vision, making me rely on the memory of the keys on the keyboard to help me put these feelings down. I want to scream. I want someone, anyone, to tell me that it’s going to get better, that Luca will always be with us, that Luca will always be remembered, and that someday soon, we will get to be parents to living children.

That I have to be that specific and say ‘parents to living children’ is a testimony to this new person I’ve become because, you see, I asked to be a parent, I asked to have a child. And I got that.

But maybe I wasn’t specific enough for the universe? Maybe I was supposed to ask for a living child. Perhaps I was too assumptive that babies are born and grow from little humans, to bigger humans, and just because I got pregnant and carried my first child to full term, that I was actually going to be sitting here on his first Christmas, staring lovingly at this son of mine, wondering how his next fifty-something Christmas’ would be.

I’ve learned, that unfortunately, that’s just not how it is.

I sit here by myself on Christmas morning, just 9 1/2 months after Luca was born, and now I know that it is just not how life works sometimes.

Let this day bring some joy alongside the grief, and may Gina and I awaken tomorrow with another milestone under our belts, and some more hope in our sails.

 

Oh. The Holidays.

It’s hard.

It’s not stopped being hard for one day since my son died.

The holidays come sweeping in, and there we are, two mothers waking up in the dark of the morning, wondering how it would feel to be springing out of bed to take care of our beautiful boy.

There I am at work, wondering why it is that everyday around an hour or two before it’s time to head home, that I’m reduced to tears. Wishing I could snap out of this reality, that there will be no little boy dressed in plaid pants with a sweater and a bow tie waiting for me at home with his matching mama, waiting to take on the next holiday celebration.

There is no family picture this year.

Last year was the photo of Gina and I on the beach, with her hands on Luca, and our silly excited faces, along with our usual goof ball picture of Jackson and Penny. 12 months later, and what a difference a year makes. We’ve experienced so much love and loss.

I can’t seem to stomach planning our picture. We haven’t even gotten around to sending thank yous to all the people who bought presents for Luca’s arrival. How can I wrap my head around a card wishing a happy holiday, when there are moments like this where I feel we are grasping onto life by the tips of our fingers, ’til the nail beds are white and numb?

I’m broken. Beneath this ton of hurt, sometimes I feel like I’m going to crumble into a million pieces.

I can put on a semi happy face, and make like everything is okay for a few hours, but right now, as the decorations are in full effect, as families are sharing their holiday cards, as my insides feel more and more empty with the loss of my own flesh and blood, I can’t do it.

At this moment, I can’t do it.

I sort of know that down the road of my life, there will be a day, when I won’t have to try so hard, where I won’t be faking a smile everyday.

I say I know, but I feel like losing Luca makes me really not know anything about the future. There are no guarantees. So maybe it’s better to hope, and imagine seeing me in the future, smiling. A genuine smile.

How far away in the future is that me?

And will that future me ever happen on the 10th, or the 11th, or around the holidays?

I don’t know the answers.

And that’s what I think part of this experience is; the letting go, and accepting that I will never really know.

So for now, as much as I am able on a day like today, I hold on to hope.

Floating in the sky. Desperately holding on to hope.

Floating in the sky. Desperately holding on to hope.

9 months

A dear friend messaged me to tell me it was Luca’s “inside-out” birthday.

Let me preface this post by saying how thankful that I am that she remembered, and that she reached out to me. When any of my friends contacts me remembering him, or sends me a picture or a thought that reminded them of Luca, my heart gets full. If you haven’t noticed any of the links of other loss families that I’ve posted, or read what I myself have written time and time again,  this is the single best thing you can do for me and for Gina.

My mind is still boggled by how many times I have told people that I want them to feel comfortable in the discomfort of talking about Luca to me if it comes up for them, that it’s okay if they say his name and bring him up. It isn’t re-opening a wound. If any of you think there is a minute of my day that goes by where he isn’t on my mind, well you’re mistaken. He will always be there. I will always be missing my son with every physical limb, with every ounce of my life force, because he’s not in my arms, and because I don’t get to watch this beautiful life of his unfold in front of me.

It’s not like I’m going to shut up about it.  (If you are my friend on Facebook, one of the many that has taken me off their feed because I’m uncomfortable to watch, but revisits every now and again, and somehow ended up on this button-pushing post, read it and don’t make a change or reach out to me, then please de-friend me now. )

I lost my son folks. I’m not sad all the time, but when I am, I have every F$%KING right to be. I also understand that it is in being in this sadness, and discomfort, that I will grow. Like Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras,  “anything burned out will be purified. The  more you fire gold, the more pure it becomes. Each time it goes into the fire, more impurities are removed.” (notice how he talks about gold right? ahem….)

Every time I am in the discomfort, and sadness, I come out a little stronger. I come out a little more compassionate. I come out a little more loving to the experience. I come out a little more thankful to Luca D’oro. I come out a little less attached to that which doesn’t serve me.

But I digress, this post is about the “inside-out” birthday.

It’s called this, because today would mark that Luca has been outside of my body just as long as he was inside. Which really isn’t true on so many levels. He was there way before he was physically in my body. And he will be in my heart, and scientifically proven in my blood, for the rest of my life. His energy and his soul run through.every. piece. of. me.

My hope is that he will be in all our framily’s hearts as well. (thank you to Tayo and Tara to introducing me to the true meaning of friends as your family)

I think it’s a completely appropriate name for this birthday for me, because I feel like I’ve been turned completely inside out over the last 9 months. Moment after moment, lesson after lesson, through the tears, through the smiles, through the goodness I can see in the world, just as much as all the sadness I see in the world; I get turned more inside out.

The last 9 months, I have put it all out there. I have shared my vulnerability with anyone, really, who was willing to sit down and listen, brave my Facebook posts, or follow me on instagram.

And you know what? It’s been extremely healing for me. I have not avoided my grief. I have not pushed it away or shoved it under a carpet. I opened up and shared the way I did, because to be honest, it was a cry for help, and it was all that I could figure out to do.

In order to survive.

I’m still here. So I guess it worked. (insert happy face and thumbs up emoticon) .I got turned inside out, and I let it all come out.  I let my freak flag fly, as they say.

I will continue to do it as I see fit. I will continue to do it, to let other baby loss mamas know that they are not alone and that they do not have to suffer quietly in their minds. To show them their children will remain a part of the core of their own existence, for the rest of their lives. And to cry out for help.

I will do it, so that my family , including Luca’s siblings, that will hopefully some day soon enter our lives here on earth, will always remember Luca, and know this great driving force behind us to live our days to the fullest.

9 months. It’s really just the beginning. Thank you my sweet son. On your birthday, I wish I could kiss those perfect lips just one more time.

Luca's Altar

Luca’s Altar