It’s not difficult to express how I feel most days to those that want to listen, but lately I’ve been pressing the mute button on myself.
I keep expecting it to change. 13 months and counting, and I am not wanting to admit that it really hasn’t gotten that much better. There are definitely more of the good times- strung closer together where I get to enjoy laughs, the sunshine, the sand between my toes, naps on the couch with my wife and the pups, spending time with beloved friends. There are a lot of good times. I do consider myself lucky to go through this, arm and arm with my love. I do consider myself mostly lucky in life in general, even through losing my son in the physical.I have a loving partner, I carry hope, two sweet and extremely funny pups, a friend family, a roof over my head, the ability to practice and share my practice of yoga, and my own self recognition that it’s okay to have a completely different journey on this earth than everyone else.
Then there are the moments that bring me right back to those same feelings-the mind numbing, body wrenching ones of walking into our house after coming home from the hospital, seeing all of Luca’s things for the first time after he had died.
Walking around childless in this world and passing a baby boy his age makes my chest tighten.
I read about a fellow baby loss mama who had lost her son 30 years ago. That same year she lost her son, her friend gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Just recently, that healthy boy was married, and the bereaved mama attended his wedding. Even 30 years later, she was overcome with such emotion that she sobbed at this happy event. People around her thought it was because she was so excited for their matrimony, when by herself, she was experiencing the loss of her son all over again. No first steps, no first words, kindergarten, graduation, or wedding. She was there thinking of everything she had never experienced with her baby boy, standing in that exact same grief she had experienced 30 years earlier.
I think about how that will be us. It breaks my heart. It makes me want to send love to the future us, and the us from 13 months ago. It will never make sense to me how I could carry my son for 9 months, and then they day he was supposed to join our family, he was born to his death.
This week I looked at a picture of myself as a newborn. Luca and I looked so much alike. I see the family resemblance and I smile. He was, he is, so my child. And I cried, I cry, for my child-that I held, all 5 lbs 3 1/2 oz of him. His weight that I felt so barely on my chest as we first met, and then he was gone.
13 months later and I’m not great in public situations. Holidays are still really hard. Who am I kidding though, any day or any moment can be hard given the right circumstance.
Yesterday, on the way to lunch on a beautiful day with my wife, I passed by a young mother with 5 children, all under the age of 8 or 9. I couldn’t help but stare and wonder what that must feel like, to have even just one of those children, to get to mother just one.
And yes, I still understand completely that talking about my deceased son is extremely uncomfortable for people. But I don’t care about any other person’s comfort level when the other option is denying his existence. Which again, lends to what I mentioned about not being so great in public situations. It makes me think on a day like today, if we are celebrating the life of a man we have only heard about in stories and his rising from the dead, why is it that such a large percentage of those same celebrators won’t acknowledge the life of my own son? Who I clearly held for 9 months and birthed. He was here, I have proof. A scar across my belly, pictures, and a physical memory of his being.
I not only speak of my blood relatives- my own mother and father, siblings, close cousins who even now, continue to show the least amount of interest in Luca or our grief, but I also speak of the other mothers out there in my community, that know very well he existed, and yet have the empty mind to come up to Gina or I and so joyfully ask how we are in the most nonchalant and superficial way they can muster up. I just finished reading The Red Tent, and it’s outrageous to me that we have lost so much of our history and connection as women. That’s a post for another day though.
I’m sensitive. I am critical (that’s something I’m constantly working on folks, I swear). And all the while I’m working on giving out love, which is a newer concept for me, but I’m also working on where to know to not bother.
They way I see it, is that we are given this body of life to fill with love and relationships and experiences that matter. Maybe that’s all relationships and experiences for some folks, which I can certainly respect. But everyone’s path is different, everyone is sowing a different life, and that’s not mine.
My life is now about living for my son’s legacy, continuing to create my own path filled with love and connection and placing importance on what matters to me.
And grieving is part of that.
I have to allow myself to live not only in the love, but also in the grief, because that is such an enormous part of who I am now. That is who I will be until the day that I die. 405 days, 13 months, 13 years, 30 years, 50 years. It doesn’t matter.
This is me, now.