My Dear Sweet Turner,
It has been 24 weeks since our last perfect day together. I find myself reliving the events that unfolded on the day we found out you had passed away. I relive those events when my world fell apart and I was left, shattered into a million pieces, trying to make sense of how any of it made sense. How my precious baby I had carried for nearly 38 weeks could be gone. How you were alive, kicking me, twisting and turning just hours before and now nothing…absolute nothing.
Many events have happened in the last week that have broken me even more, but yet there have been some where I finally see the possibility of learning how to begin healing. I know I will never be healed until I am reunited with you, but I pray I can find a source of healing. Healing of the massive scars that I see, feel and touch every second of each day. Scars that are only evident to me unless someone sees me in one of my weak moments.
Most days I put on a mask, trying to shield others from the pain I feel each day. I rarely speak your name to others unless you get brought up in conversation (which doesn’t happen because I don’t think most people know what to say if I do say your name and express my feelings). I know if they could see how I truly feel no one would want to talk with or be around me, for fear that my pain may somehow be contagious. They would probably be left wondering how I am still breathing, walking and functioning each day.
However, this last week I spoke more about you to others than I have since probably about one to two months after your birth and death. I had a very good productive conversation with my Bishop at church, he listened to my heart and understood that I am in pain right now and that is ok. That I am not on any timetable to figure out my life or rebuilding my faith. That it isn’t ok for me to just be right now and not be ok. That with time, and once your father comes back home, that I will slowly figure out the steps I need to take to rebuild the shatteredness of my soul.
I also had a productive conversation with you Aunt and Uncle about the struggles I am having in my daily life. Getting used to the new normal of myself and trying to allow grace into my life and extend it to others. I feel as if my brain has shut completely down. That it is trying to protect itself from further trauma and is now on survival mode. I don’t remember things at all like I used to, not that I had great memory before, but it is really bad now. Some days I struggle even remembering what day of the week it is, what time it is, or I find myself failing to do things that I would have never forgotten to do before. It’s been hard knowing how to not beat myself up especially when my shortcomings directly affect other people.
I also had a conversation with your Aunt Katie. She listened to the anguish of my heart. The anguish of my soul. And she truly just listened and comforted me. We talked for hours about life, kids, frustrations, and my grief and life without you. Aunt Katie and Uncle Brandon were at your funeral, and while they never were able to physically see you with their own eyes and hold the weight of your beautiful precious body on their hands they knew and still know you are my son and their nephew. Always and forever. I know they miss being able to see you grow and it breaks their heart, just as it does mine. That you are always a part of our family even though you aren’t physically here. I am so grateful for their love, support, and compassion. They didn’t have to come to your funeral, nor did I ask anyone of your uncles to come, as I just didn’t have enough strength to ask. I also couldn’t bear the thought of being around others right after you passed away. I was paralyzed in my grief and don’t know what to do. But I am glad they decided to come. At the time I didn’t realize that I needed them to be here just as much as they felt they needed to be there.
I had an interaction at the grocery store on Tuesday that left me in tears. All the employees there have seen me for the last 6 years. They know our family and they knew I was pregnant with you and due anyday. Since your birth, I have seen them look at me awkwardly. Almost as if they were trying to figure out where you were, but no one has dared to ask me about you in your absence.
I’ve always wondered what other people think (people who don’t know me personally but knew of me because they see me out in public) when they see that I am no longer pregnant, but my baby is no where in sight. Do they think that you are just at home? That I am a crazy mom who doesn’t allow her baby to come to the store? Do they think you were taken away from me because I am a bad mother? Do they think I gave you up for adoption, even though I have 4 other children? Or do they actually think you passed away? And if they think that, do they think you were ill my entire pregnancy and that’s why you passed away? Some days I wish I could wear a shirt that reads, “Yes, I was pregnant. Yes, I had my baby. He would be 5 months old but he unexpectedly passed away at birth.” It would make life easier at times when I am not in a good place to explain to strangers the reason you aren’t in my arms.
Well, an employee at this grocery store finally approached me when I was in the checkout line with Reagan and Andrew and 2 carts full of groceries. She came up to me, seemingly out of nowhere, and asked, “Do you have a twin sister?” I was confused at her question and replied, “Excuse me?” She responded, “Do you have a twin sister? I see you in here all the time, but I could have sworn you were very pregnant and ready to have a baby. But you don’t look like you’ve had a baby at all and I haven’t seen you in here with a baby so I was just wondering if maybe you had a twin sister?” I was floored. Completely speechless. All I could bring myself to say was, “Yes that is me. I had a baby boy. He would be 5 months old today but he unexpectedly passed away when he was born.” She clearly wasn’t expecting this answer (who freaking does?????) and quickly said “I am so sorry” and prompletly left just as quickly as she came. I was then left standing completely and utterly paralyzed. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breathe.
Under normal circumstances, where I had my baby in my arms, I would have been flattered by her comment. However, my circumstances are far from normal…they are abnormal and completely backwards and make my head spin trying to understand how this happened. It stung really bad to hear her say that. That I looked like I “didn’t even have a baby” 5 months post birth. It shredded my heart to pieces. I realized then that I have no physical evidence to show others or prove you were ever alive and a part of me. My body has no clear signs you were ever in me. Alive and well. If you were in my arms I would be thrilled at this fact, but since you are not it stings it stings so bad to hear, “you don’t look like you’ve had a baby”. The only evidence I can show others is your pictures, and most people don’t want to see them, despite the fact that you are beautiful in them. But since they know you are not alive in them they get squimmish and it makes them uncomrtable. Pictures of my beautiful baby boy makes other people uncomfortable…it’s heartbreaking and agonizing because any mother wants to share her precious newborn baby with others…whether that baby is here on their arms or not.
It dawned on me, aftet that people who knew I was pregnant with you probably don’t even think that you died. Having a baby die at fullterm doesn’t even cross their mind as that just isn’t shooosr to happen in the year 2017. That happened on the plains and in the prairies before the early 1900’s. That is a thing of the past. Each pregnancy always ends with a screaming baby and one you get to show off to friends, family, strangers and even the employees at the grocery store you visit every week. These people get to watch your life unfold before their eyes and watch your children grow up with you. The thought of seeing you heavily pregnant one minute and then not pregnant the next never ends with “my baby died. And he wasn’t suppose to die”.
I never realized that people might even think that I am not me. That since they knew I was pregnant and due anyday and the baby they watched grow for months isn’t in my arms, that I clearly am not the same person they saw for months on end. That I must be someone else and maybe it was my twin sister who was pregnant. The non existent twin sister. That MUST Abe the explanation for the missing baby. It broke my heart and I was angry. Angry that this is my life.
I just want you back. I want to go back to March 23, 2017 when you were kicking me and I was loving on you and cherishing every minute of your life. Cherishing my gigantic swollen belly and eagerly awaiting your arrival. I want to go back to when life was simple and grief was non existent. I want to go back to a life where you were still alive. Go back to the time of where living my life had you physically present. Go back to where when I had dreams of my future you were very much included in every aspect of it. Go back to a time of when all I knew was joy, laughter, and excitement mixed with the occasional headaches of being a parent, wife, sister, and daughter. Back before my whole world fell apart and left me shattered into a million pieces…never to be made whole again until I have you back in my arms. Having to wait until the eternities to do so.
I miss you more than anyone could possibly fathom.
Love Always and Forever,