The Aftermath Of Losing A Child: Four Years Later
Time doesn’t heal all wounds, and that’s okay.
News flash: Time does not heal all wounds. If you have been saying that to people who have experienced incredible loss or tragedy it would be really great if you stopped. When you lose a piece of your heart it does not matter how much times has passed. Certain days are going to sting and living without them is always going to hurt. Grief is a never ending journey – ever changing and constantly taking griever by surprise.
Triggers // I don’t cry every day. I don’t even cry once a week. Yet, there are days and times when it hits me – it could be a trigger or a simple reminder and I feel the pain from my chest creep up to my throat. Four years later and it still burns like it did back then. It is also different for everyone. Some of my friends who have lost a child are in different stages of their grief than I am, and that is okay. Just recently I received an email from a clothing company, like I usually do, with a section about their monogramming – and guess what? The first toddler pictured was a cute, curly headed boy with the name SAWYER plastered across his chest. That’s what I call a trigger. The boy was probably about 3, so a little younger than Sawyer but it still got me. It reminds me of last Christmas when I was looking for matching PJ’s for the kids, except not for Sawyer.
Having Another Child // JD and I knew that we wanted a big family. Sawyer was and always will be our first baby. I have many friends who have lost their last baby. It all just sucks. We never intended for the next baby after Sawyer to replace him, but we didn’t wait long to start trying either because we probably wouldn’t have waited if he were still here. I was nervous going in to the appointment to find out the gender because I didn’t know if I was ready for the possibility of having another boy. We had joy but we also had fear – could I handle another boy so soon with all of the memories of Sawyer swirling around still so fresh? When the technician told me girl I did not believe her! I think the Lord knew that at that current time, for my situation, another boy would have just been an even larger roller coaster of bittersweet emotions that I may not have been ready to handle. I am considered high risk until my 20 week scan where they do an incredibly in-depth ultrasound at a specialist and double and triple check the heart and all other things about the baby. With Rhory they found bright spots on her lungs and I was considered high risk until the end – it turned out to be nothing thankfully. With Rhett, I was released from the specialist and I honestly did not know what to do with myself. It felt weird not being monitored every 2 weeks from 24 weeks on but I tried my best to enjoy what others consider “normal”. I could probably write a whole separate post on pregnancy after loss…
Holidays // Whew, holidays are hard. Sometimes the anticipation is worse. It is hard not to be reminded while I am out shopping that I should be shopping for three instead of two. Or, like I mentioned before, ordering PJ’s – which I know seems trivial but it is still a harsh reminder. My aunt always buys Sawyer a Christmas present (a new book that I take the younger kiddos to his grave to read) and that is really special to me because I love that she remembers him. We draw names on my mom’s side of the family and the first year was REALLY hard not putting Sawyer’s name in – our first Christmas without him – but it has gotten slightly easier over the years. New Years is another source of sadness for me. The first New Years after we lost Sawyer (2013-2014) I cried a lot. I was not ready to leave the year, the only year, that held the 18 living days of my baby behind. Subsequently every year is still hard because I get stuck in the thoughts between another year farther away from when I last saw my baby yet another year closer to reunited with him on the other side of this Earth in Heaven.
Meeting New People // This is probably the worst. One question that is common when you are getting to know other people is “How many kids do you have?” I don’t shy away from sharing our story. It has become easier as the years go by but the reaction from the new stranger reminds me just how sad it really is… As time has gone on I have really perfected my answer to about two sentences that I say without taking a breath. Some choose to answer with how many children they have this side of Heaven, which is perfectly fine as well. As a grieving mother, or father, you have to do what is best for your heart and your grief journey. I do wonder though, when I’m old and gray … will it be weird to still talk about Sawyer and explain to new people as the first child we lost? I don’t know… it makes me sad to think about all that time passing by.
Grieving the loss of Sawyer does not make me focus any less on my other children. I don’t NOT focus on the memories with my living children because I am so wrapped out on what I wish Sawyer was here for on the day to day. I am just a grieving mother with a hole in my heart for the baby I loved so deeply and wanted to stay here on Earth so badly. I do a lot to honor his memory and bless others through our grief. If you are a grieving mother, please know you are not alone. If you need a listening ear – I am here! Or I can help direct you to a local support group – mine was so VITAL in my grief journey. Much love to you.