This journey of grief is one difficult road that causes so many emotions and changes. I've been struggling with some deep sadness the past few weeks and have avoided a lot of activities because of it. When I leave my house I mentally prepare myself to go wherever I'm heading and prepare to speak to whoever may be there. It's a constant inner struggle between my mind and my emotions. Some days I can walk out of the house with only a slight nagging voice telling me to 'keep it together', yet other days I feel like my body is pulling a freight train to the car. Every step makes me feel weak and overwhelmed. When I see people out at the store or around town it's rarely ever a typical exchange. Many have been very kind and ask how I am doing, offering their condolences and prayers. Others just give me a pain-staking look not knowing what to say. Quit honestly, it's as uncomfortable for me as it is for them because I don't even know what I want people to say to me. I start crying when others ask about Daniel and as they apologize I tell them I'm not crying out of sadness, I'm crying out of joy for them acknowledging his life. Even though I cry when I talk about Daniel, it makes my soul happy to share my son with others. I want to talk about his life and presence because he was here, he existed. Nothing can change his passing and moment to moment I don't even know how I will feel. But, no matter what feelings I am struggling through, I always feel joy for being Daniel's mommy. The joy and pride of being his mommy never falters or fades, regardless of all my other emotions. I go through moments of despair that my baby is gone, moments of happiness and gratitude for his life, moments of longing to hold him, and moments of reflecting on his birth (which is the most beautiful memory of my existence). I go through so many different feelings from one minute to the next each day and never know what small instance will change my current emotional state. I walk into the grocery store feeling positive and begin sobbing at the sight of hot fudge because I ate hot fudge sundaes during my pregnancy. I go to the gym and feel complete depression at the sight of a person's light blue shirt because I lost my baby boy. I avoid so many people and situations while I still work to figure out my new path. I know that I will never return to who I was before Daniel, nor would I want that to happen. Daniel has changed me so much for the better and even if it takes all I can do to take one step each day, then that's what I will do. I'll get through this journey one step at a time and ensure that I positively touch many lives along the way. It's so difficult to explain the ups and downs of these last few months. I often have to remind myself that it's only been a short while, so my crazy emotions are okay. So when I have bad weeks, I need to reflect on the fact that I can't expect unreasonable progress from myself. I need to take one step at a time, one day at a time.
Today is the first day of February and I've had some anxiety lately about Feb 6th coming so soon. It will mark 3 months since we said hello and goodbye to Daniel. The 3 month mark has been on my mind often because it feels like time should have stopped for him. Each day that passes I feel like he was just born, yet it feels like such a long time since he was here. I sit in Daniel's nursery daily reading cards we received, reading the words I wrote for his obituary, looking at his photos, and reading his books. I look through all of his clothes, gifts we were given, and hold his stuffed animals. Holding his outfits from the hospital is the only way I can touch something that he touched. The smell of him on his clothes is gone, but to feel the fabric that clothed his body is a treasure I hold dear. I've been praying and talking to Daniel about my sadness of another month coming to pass. I always feel that he hears me and watch for signs of him. Yesterday, he gave us the most beautiful signs that he's around us and it's okay. At church, the first reading was Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19 which was one of the readings read at Daniel's services. It states how God knows us even before forming us in the womb. Then the second reading was the story of faith, hope, and love from 1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:13. It speaks about the greatest spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and love, yet the greatest gift is love. It made me reflect on how we devoutly carried Daniel with faith and hope, and how the love for him outweighed everything. Bill and I were discussing these readings on the way home from church when a little cardinal flew in front of our windshield from the left to the right side of the road. The bird seemed to move so peacefully across our path and looked no more than a tiny baby bird that's only purpose as to show itself to us. We both felt such a sense of peace from the readings and the cardinal that Daniel knows the pain we are in and wants us to know he hears us. I felt that this was his way of saying, "The time is passing by so you can be closer to seeing me again mommy, not for you to be sad". It amazes me how deepening my faith and sharing Daniel has changed me. My sadness will never go away, yet I can find some peace in the signs that Daniel hears me and comforts me through signs of his presence. I wish no one would ever have to go through this pain, but I hope those who do can find hope in the Lord. My faith has often been the only arms carrying me through this grief. May God bring all of you the comfort for which you seek, and may you find peace in knowing that my sweet baby boy will intercede for you from heaven. When I was pregnant, I prayed daily for Daniel, but now I pray daily to Daniel. How blessed am I to know that my Savior is holding my precious baby in heaven waiting for me to take him in my arms when I greet the gates. Yet the pain in my heart will forever be with me as I walk this earthly life.
I became a mommy in 2015 to a beautiful baby boy, Daniel John, who taught me the depth of a mother's love and the sorrow of neonatal infant loss.