Sunday, November 6, 2011


Something has been bothering me lately. And when that occurs, I have to write about it in order to sort it out in my head.

It has been bothering me that Aidan's absence hasn't been bothering me as much as it use to.

At first I put this down to having Kaia. I was and continue to be so grateful for her life, her survival, her health. At first I was convinced that my joy over Kaia was currently just over ridding my sadness over Aidan's death. Surely, eventually, the sadness over his loss will return in full force. Maybe even stronger, because now I get to feel his loss not just for Brian and I, but for Kaia too.

Then I figured that maybe it's just because I'm so busy with Kaia. When 80-90% of your waking day is filled with either holding, changing, feeding, or pumping for your child, other thoughts have a harder time crowding in. I feel like before Kaia, I lived in my head a lot. I had the time to do so. I thought a lot about my life, about Aidan, about my two disastrous pregnancies and about his loss. Since she's been home, and especially since Brian has gone back to work, I don't get much of a break. It leaves little time for thinking deep thoughts beyond "did I forget to put that load of laundry in the dryer? and "what am I going to make for dinner tonight?"

But maybe it's not either of those things.

Maybe it's just true. Maybe I really don't feel the same level of sadness or loss when I think about him. Or when things happen that remind me of 'what should have been'. I can pass little boys in the street without wondering "is that what Aidan would have looked like?" I can plan, attend and enjoy family gatherings without thinking of who is missing. Kaia's room, which would have been Aidan's, has become wholly hers. I don't sit in it and think about whose room it might have been. It only gives me a bit of a twinge that my sister in law will deliver a baby in February who I suspect is a boy. If it's a boy, he will not only share the same last name as Aidan, but he will grow up in our family and will have and be and do all the things that Aidan never will. Maybe the thing that bothers me the most is that I don't cry over his loss like I use to.

And that makes me sad.

Almost without noticing I feel I have somehow entered another phase of grief. I don't know whether it is Kaia, or my own personal growth or simply time which has caused this shift, but I feel it. The intensity of his loss has lessened.

Initially after his death I felt like I was no longer living. I was surviving, dragging myself through each day. It felt like I was just 'getting by' for a long time. Nothing held the meaning it use to. I was sad about a lot of things, apathetic about the rest. And here, just over a year and a half later, I feel...good. His absence is now almost entirely bearable.

But how can that be? He was my CHILD. How can my life feel so full, so rich, so normal without him here? Shouldn't I continue to hurt and grieve and rail at fate for the lack of him? Shouldn't it burn more? Sting more? His absence felt like a jagged open wound in the wake of his death. Surely that couldn't have healed over? A good mother wouldn't have let it. A good mother would never be happy without all her children surrounding her.

Sometimes I worry that I don't miss him more because he was little. Very prematurely little. As if somehow the 23 weeks and 3 day that he existed wasn't enough time to indelibly mark my soul in a way that wouldn't heal in his absence. That if he had 'lasted' longer, been a full term baby, or a one year old, or a 10 year old, I would miss him more. Could that be it? We only spent 54 minutes together with both of us alive. Maybe it wasn't enough time.

Maybe Kaia really has 'made up' for Aidan in ways that I never wanted her to. Maybe what I craved was only a living baby all along. Maybe it didn't matter who that living baby was. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that if that was all I really wanted...then maybe he wasn't as special, as needed, as loved, as I always thought he was.

But then I think, no, that's not right either. His picture, his urn, his little plaster foot moulds wouldn't mean so much to me if that were true. If he was just A BABY and not MY BABY, I wouldn't cherish those remnants of him as deeply as I do.

So if I really did, and still do, love him as much as I remember then it stands to reason that I could lose so much more...and still be okay. My house, my job, my friends, my family, my husband, my living child...what if they were all stripped away? Would it only take a year and a half to live in happiness with ANY loss? That doesn't seem right. I absolutely dread the thought of anything happening to upset my corner of the world...but when it happened last year, I lived. I survived. I even have begun to thrive.

It feels like a conundrum. I hold on so tightly to who and what I have right now...yet I seem to be living proof that you can lose what is most precious to you and still enjoy life.

It seems somehow like it shouldn't be that way.

But I'm glad it is.

Does this apply to you? Does it make you sad that it does (or doesn't)?


  1. Does this apply to me? Yes, absolutely it does.
    You're not alone.

  2. I'm just coming to this realisation myself Emily - I'm not sure yet how to deal with it all, but in reading your post (and Sally's comment) it has shown me that I'm not alone. Thank you for putting it all into words and out there.

  3. I think it's natural that over time grief lessens. You never forget but the sting of it gets less as time goes on. As well, having another child to love would "ease" some of the pain but Aidan will always hold a special place in your heart.

  4. It does apply to me and I have felt the guilt and pain associated with it. I'm at a place now that I can accept it though. Just the timeline itself, without Blaine's death there would be no Caleb napping on my couch right now. I have to accept that Blaine died and that I have been given a wonderful second chance at this mothering thing. I don't love him less, I just hurt less.

  5. My daughter would not have been born had it not been for the stillbirth of her brother, followed by a miscarriage, so I have always had to wrestle with accepting that God had a greater plan that I won't understand until I die. I have to be content with that wait. I believe that I have a baby waiting for me in Heaven and that I will then be the lucky mother with a new baby, rather than the unlucky mother. It has been 18 years to me, and reading the BLM blogs lets me indulge in the memory of him. Enjoy Kaia without reservation. Aidan is waiting joyfully for his turn in a place where there is no sense of time.

  6. It definitely applies to me too. I have been missing the big cries I used to have for Jacob. I feel like he is further and further away from me the longer I go without having one and feeling the overwhelming grief that always used to be present. I wonder how I could be as content as I am now after losing Jacob and miscarrying August, Cub and the Twins and wonder if there is something wrong with me that I'm not a basketcase everyday. I still have plenty of sad moments, but I worry that I'm not sad enough. Maybe I have developed the ability to feel numb and I don't like it.

    Nice to know I'm not alone. I guess it's just time.

  7. Applies to me too...pretty much exactly. I could have written this post myself.

  8. Not yet, but I hope that one day it won't be all pain and I hope there will be more happiness than sad.

  9. I felt emotional reading your words of what feels like a fading memory of our beloved babies. I keep telling myself my baby lives in my heart and it feels strange to move forward without that devastated feeling I was used to. Grief is a strange process. I hope our babies can look down on us and smile when we smile. I guess if we didn't come to this point, we would've ended our lives or something.

  10. I think Elaine is onto it. You still love him just as much, you just hurt less. And I think that is what Aidan will want.
    I know that if I died, I would want my hubby to be truly happy again, not saying that he wouldnt miss me, but I would want him be fully enjoying life, and not hurting and feeling my loss all the time.

  11. I could have written this myself about Caleb and Carys. Someone gave me a bracelet the other day that had both of their names on it, and I actually physically started, when a year ago I would have been thrilled. I still love it, but it's not the same. I don't have any answers. :(

  12. This very much speaks to my expereince. Just today I was thinking how the 25th (the date Acacia was born) no longer has such a hold on me - or maybe it's that I no longer have such a hold on it. The 25th of most months now rolls around without such intense emotion for me. I've even forgotten the importance of the date at least one month (maybe more?).

  13. I don't know if it applies to me? I feel in some ways that it does but I am still so much in the mist of it. I list my identical twin girls five months ago. It has been incredibly hard! I feel like I am just enduring. I feel like I want to have another baby but what if that want is only to "replace" what I lost? That sickens me because I know they could never be replaced. I want for these emotions to be less intense. I want to enjoy and not just endure. I want to be able to walk through baby sections again without feeling like I can't breathe. I really want them here but I can't have that. I think we need to be grateful for what we do have. For what God has given us. I think if you experience a tragedy a then become and remain bitter, that that is truly the saddest part if it all. I think it sometimes takes a loss to open the eyes and the heart to fully see and be thankful. We don't know how He will bless us but we can't turn them away when He does because He chose to keep some from us. I don't know. It's hard! I'm sure there will be slot of guilt for me when as I move through all of this.thanks for the post! It was beautifully written!