Day 26. Beauty – This is such a special song to me. The lyrics and the tone of the song blend so beautifully together. I hope you enjoy! “I love you to the moon and back my little winter bear. I know you know how much that is cause you’re already there. I never knew a love like this could ever possibly exist. I love you to the moon and back as long as I live.” – Winter Bear by Coby Grant
Day 27. Memory – I will never forget Emilia’s little hiccups. She would have them around the same time Every. Single. Evening. It is a memory that I will truly cherish forever. Memories fade, but this is one that still remains fresh in my mind. I believe I hold it near, because I have no memories of her actually alive while I wasn’t pregnant. It brings me comfort reflecting on the times when she was alive. Knowing that I felt her move, kick, and punch and that she had the sweetest little hiccups is just one more testament; proving that even though she was stillborn—she ‘still’ lived. I think that is what most people forget. In the beginning, they recognize that losing a baby during pregnancy is sad, but many expect you to quickly get over it. Some try to put a time stamp on not only grief but on the amount of pain you should have based on the amount of time you spent with that baby. “Can you imagine how hard it would have been if she had lived and then died?” This is just one painful remark I’ve received multiple times implying that maybe losing Emilia wasn’t as hard as it could have been. I am here to tell you, losing Emilia killed me. It does not matter if I would have lost her at 4 weeks gestation or if she had died an older woman at 40 years old. I will mourn the years that I lost with her until the day I die. Aside from not having her physically here, perhaps one of the most painful things is knowing that I lost her before I was able to even know her. I will always wonder who she would have been.
Day 28. Shadow+Light – This is such a tricky question. Right away, I wanted to begin by saying that there is NO right or wrong way to grieve, but I only think that is partially true. I believe that grief is as unique and individual as each of our fingerprints. It’s unpredictable and does not play by any set of rules. Some coping techniques that work for one individual may not be nearly as successful for another. Therefore, some may be able to incorporate and manage their grief into their daily lives much quicker than others. But this does not mean that some people grieve better than others. Healing from a loss is not a contest, no one is keeping score and no one really wins. Why should we have to question ourselves and our right to grieve in the way we feel most comfortable? Nor should we allow anyone to question our mourning, especially when they have no right to judge. Grief will make you do and think crazy things. But the fact of it, is that many crazy responses to grief are normal. However, grief is just a door away from being opened to depression and I do think depression can make us do pretty harmful things. I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe there is no right way to grieve, but I do think there are plenty of unhealthy habits that can appear after going through something pretty traumatic. Leaning on drugs, alcohol, or becoming emotionally or physically abusive towards others is never an appropriate response to grief.
Day 29. Release – I have let go of unhealthy relationships that began shortly after Emilia died. These toxic relationships were something that Dan and I had held onto for far longer than we should have, purely because they involved family members. What I have learned since Emilia died is that you do not have to subject yourself to people’s unkind remarks and actions, especially if it is affecting your day to day life. There were times when I felt guilty for pulling away from family, but once I realized how toxic the relationship had grown and how abusive all interactions were becoming, it became a necessary step in order for me to heal. I will never allow myself to feel guilty for taking care of myself while someone is quick to drag me down.
Day 30. Gift of Life – “How do you think your child would want you to live your life?” I hate this question. The response it is trying to invoke that “Emilia wouldn’t want me to be sad. Rather she would want to see me happy.” I feel like this is such a slap in the face comment to someone who is going through something really tough. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing wrong with being sad, with crying, with showing any sort of emotion that you are currently feeling in that moment. I believe it is healthy to feel and express your emotions. Suppressing your feelings does nothing, but postpone emotions that will eventually resurface. A disclaimer for anyone who is wondering: I’m not sad and crying for Emilia. I know she is in a wonderful place. I’m crying for me. I’m sad that I don’t have her with me and that (in this life) I never see her again. So, yes, while I’m sure Emilia would rather see me happy than sad, that doesn’t change the fact that there are still moments where I am very sad. And you know what, that is okay. Because there are plenty of days filled with a lot of happiness surrounding her too.
Day 31. Sunset – It’s amazing to reflect back on this past month and see all of the emotions that have been stirred by the 31-day challenge topics. I have been reminded of the first initial weeks of my loss and the searing pain that I felt in those moments. I thought the pain would kill me. It’s inspiring to see how far I have come and to see how much I have grown since then. I have experienced so much in my life, but I would not trade Emilia for anything. I want to thank all of you who have followed me on this challenge. Each year I say that I am completing the challenge to educate and advocate, but I truly believe it is always more beneficial for me than for my readers. There is something rejuvenating for the soul about revisiting topics that are emotionally sensitive. I hope that this October you were able to find peace and comfort with whatever burdens are hanging over you in life. Know that even when you feel alone in sorrow or grief, that you too have a beautiful story. Even if at times you feel broken, you and your story are always worth sharing with the world.