Wednesday, December 31, 2014

goodbye 2014

On the eve of a new year, it's only natural to become retrospective about what has happened in the previous 364 days.

I can say without hesitation that 2014 will go down as the most difficult year of my life thus far.

There were so many days this year where I found myself in a daze thinking, "has all of this really happened?  Is this real life right now?  This can't be real.  This CANNOT be my life.  This CANNOT be my reality."  And then the next day I'd wake up.

It was real.  It was devastatingly real.  It was knock the wind out of you real.  A 2014 sucker punch to the gut when you weren't looking kind of real.

In short: this year my baby boy, Reece Christian, was born prematurely.  This year Reece died in my hands shortly after birth.  This year my relationship became a victim of the grief process.  This year I had to move out of the home I was helping to create.  This year I had to find some sort of way to explain all of this unexplainable to my 6 year old daughter.

Yeah. Not my best time.

But amidst all of this I saw some of the most beautiful aspects of the human spirit.  I met my tiny, beautiful, newborn son.  I saw friends and family rally around and support me in a way I never thought possible.  I felt more loved and valued than I ever have.  I had friends who I haven't seen or spoken to in years confide their own struggles to me, as a way of saying, "I've been close to where you are, and I am here for you in any way you need."  I've discovered that my capacity to love is deep.  Because you cannot feel grief, without feeling its stunning opposite, love.  I saw my daughter grow into an even more resilient and compassionate spirit. I've connected with some absolutely incredible babyloss mothers.  Some who are years deep into the grief process and some who lost their babies this year after I did.  While I hate that this "babyloss sorority" exists, I am thankful for these tremendous mothers who still find a way to get out of bed and function every day.

I did not understand before this happened to me.  I did not know just how devastating something like this would be. I would say things like, "I can't even imagine how she is feeling, that must be so awful," because I truly couldn't imagine.  I couldn't understand.

Now I do.

While I would never voluntarily want to be on the side of the perspective fence, I've unfortunately found myself here.  For the majority of this year, I lost my voice.  Less than a week after Reece died I wrote a blog called "Yesterday I had a son."  It went a bit viral and it took pretty much every ounce of courage I had to even write it in the first place.  I had so much feedback from moms who lost babies, moms who had experienced the same feelings, friends of babyloss moms who didn't know WHAT to say to help, or HOW to say much feedback.

Some people called me brave.

I didn't feel brave.  I felt devastated.

But now that the dust has settled, and its 8 months later, I realize that yes, I was brave. Wow, I was SO brave! And yes, I did help others.  Because as I've continued through this process I've found myself devouring the stories of other loss moms. I've found myself dissolved into unexplainable tears after seeing my Facebook newsfeed scattered with the faces of new babies, all roughly the same age Reece should've been. And in those times, I seek out any babyloss mother who's been brave enough to share her story.  I'll binge read them on the bad days.  They say misery loves company, but I prefer to think of it as misery needs someone who's been there and can say, "it's okay, mama.  Today is awful, and it will always be tough, but it gets bearable. It gets less awful."

I needed someone to say, "I survived and you will too."

I have been silenced by grief for the better part of this year, but I'm not going to allow grief to take anything else away from me.  So I'm beginning this blog, Anchors for Reece, as a way of taking my voice back, helping me channel my grief, and hopefully one day, it will help another mama.  I'm beginning this blog to honor the memory of my son.  To make something tangible and purposeful out of his brief, yet precious life.

I want to make his short existence matter.

The anchor represents hope.  Hope is an amazingly beautiful thing.