Wednesday, September 2, 2015
It has been six months since Bradley was born.
I still can’t believe its ONLY been 6 months but at the same time, it has ALREADY been 6 months. It feels like a lifetime ago but at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday.
We did not have a lifetime of memories with Bradley. We had less than 4 days.
We didn’t have decades and decades worth of photos.
You know what we are left with? A box.
A small 8×8 cardboard box that contains his belongings: a small album of about 8 pictures that were taken by Bradley’s NICU nurse, his hospital bracelet ( and both of our bracelets are now in the box), his bili eye mask, a couple copies of his hand and foot prints and the only physical piece of him; a few strands of his hair that are separated into 3 tiny plastic baggies. That is it.
This box is still on our kitchen counter, in the same place it has been since we picked it up from the hospital. Along with all the cards we have received and the pamphlets from his funeral service are in a bag next to the box. That is the extent of what we have as a memory of our son that never came home.
Just yesterday I was telling my therapist that tomorrow marks 6 months since Bradley was born. She replied, “that is not that long at all”. She is right. At that moment, I realized she is absolutely right. Even though it feels like so much longer, it really isn’t.
In these last couple months, I have had better days than not. It’s only because in those “better days” I don’t think of Bradley as much and almost, unconsciously, block the fact that I have another son. And that kills me. It kills me. The fact that the only days where I feel like life is back to “normal” are the days when Bradley isn’t heavy on my mind. That breaks my heart, even more than its already broken. The days where it feels “easier” to forget than remember, those are the hardest of them all. The “better days” where I get caught up in life; I feel joy; I feel happiness; I actually enjoy living this life. In those days, is when I feel immense guilt after I realized several days had gone by where I felt “normal” again. Guilt. Why should I feel happy when my Bradley isn’t here to enjoy this life with me.
It is a constant struggle.
Do I choose to be happy today or do I choose to think of and remember Bradley today?
I can’t do both right now. I thought I was at the point where I could feel both but, I am not. I can’t feel joy and sadness or gratitude and grief at the same time. I am not there yet. I hope one day my two worlds can live as one. I pray for the day when I can truly feel happiness when watching Zach play outside and hearing his joyous squeals AND at the same time remember the memory of Bradley and not have to choose between the two.
My therapist calls this, “Survival mode”. I am doing what I have to do to get through each day. Some days I will have to not think about Bradley as much so I can be a mother to Zach and vice versa. I may not be the greatest mom to Zach one day but that is because Bradley is heavy on my mind. This is what I have to do to survive at this point and to function as a human being and that is completely OKAY.
The thing about grieving the loss of your child is there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no specific period of time where you will start to “heal”. There are no rules, there are no guidelines that grieving parents should follow. It is your own journey, you do what is best for you to get through each day. To wake up each morning and decide, that even though I have been through hell, I will continue living. That it is okay to feel the feelings. It is okay to feel sad, angry, bitter, joyful, guilt and all at once or one at a time. It is completely okay to do what you need to do to survive the death of your child. Give yourself grace ( I am still working on this one).
I know I have mentioned that I have been seeing a therapist once or twice before because I am not ashamed or embarrassed that I am seeing one. It isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength and courage. The fact that I had the strength and courage to seek professional help. I was feeling completely out of control, regarding my emotions and feelings. I would get angry very quickly (it has gotten better but still it sneaks up on me), zero patience (working on that as well), have emotional outbursts and just overall very unpleasant to be around. I could feel these emotions inside of me, just brewing, waiting for someone to say something (mainly my poor husband) so I could lash out. My therapist has validated what I am feeling is completely normal and that I’m not crazy. She gives me the tools to be able to handle my emotions, feelings and overall just being kind and gracious to myself.
Sorry, I kind of what on a tangent in this post, it has been awhile since I wrote out my feelings and for me, personally, it helps me in the grieving process.
Until next time!