I am answering the question posed at still life with circles as to where I am in my grief.
In my case I am actually answering three questions. 1) Where I am in my grief with Wyatt eight years after his birth. 2) Where I am in my grief with Eli three months after his birth. 3) Where I am in my grief with both boys after their deaths. Two and a half years ago I spoke at a candlelight memorial service held annually for those who have lost children. I was asked to tell our story of Wyatt and I addressed this question. I remember starting at the beginning and describing the experience of carrying Wyatt for five months knowing he could die any day and that day would be no later than the day of his birth. I compared it to a shattered piece of china. I shattered that day, broke apart into a million pieces. Over time I began putting those pieces back together but they never quite fit the same way, I was different.
So that is where I start today. I am different, sometimes in a constant state of motion. We just celebrated Wyatt's eighth birthday. I am at a place of acceptance. I can think of Wyatt and remember his beauty, his cry, his touch without my own tears. I honestly don't cry for him often anymore. Blessedly the old feelings of anger and injustice over his death are distant memories which are no longer provocative. Wyatt's special days are still painful because more often than not they seem to pass unnoticed by others and that opens a pandora's box of "why nots" which is better left untouched.
Three months after losing Eli I have relapsed. I have learned so much about grief over these last eight years so I am not consumed with the anger I felt the first time around. I am not consumed with sadness over Eli either. I am however visited by thoughts of what he would be like and what my life would be like with him here. Yesterday while riding bike with our girls it hit me that had Eli lived I likely would not be biking to the park with them. The older two ride by themselves while the youngest hitches a ride in a bike trailer attached to my bike. Eli would be too little to transport this way so we would not have been able to take that bike ride. As enjoyable as that ride was, I would trade it and a whole summer's worth for my little boy. Everywhere I go I find pregnant women. Instead the old thoughts of anger and jealousy I now wonder if they've lost babies too. I think about myself, pregnant with Eli and how I had already lost two babies and no one looking at me would have known he would be my third loss. I have my worst thoughts when I see families with children so close together it would be almost impossible for them to have experienced losses too. I try not to dwell on those families, those babies, those bellies. I have fully immersed myself in public again. My stomach no longer twists into knots at the thought of going to the park or the library. I go grocery shopping, rent movies, check out books and go to church just like before. I am different but less shattered than last time. I've learned how to repair much better. I can only hope that I never have to use these coping skills again. I use the word relapse because of the difficulties I have encountered with the medical and scientific communities after Eli's death in trying to participate in a research study and participate with a geneticist. It has been a destructive process for me mentally and emotionally.
Eight years and three months. My girls talk about Eli and Wyatt. The oldest talks about how she was our first living child. They ask if we will have another baby. They say that they hope so and they hope that baby does not die too. These are heartbreaking comments delivered in a most casual manner. Especially heartbreaking to me because it seems likely that my genetics are to blame. I find myself thinking of genetics often. Like the other day when fixing my daughter's thick wavy hair I thought to myself that at least I passed along something good. In the years since Wyatt's birth I have often wondered but rarely asked my husband whether he's missed having a son. He has always said he loves our girls and it doesn't matter to him. I however wanted a son very badly. We knew Eli would be a boy even though we were never able to find out during the pregnancy. Early on I could tell that he was very excited at that prospect. We never imagined the nightmare that would follow. Now I wonder but know it's not time to ask that question again of him. My answer has changed. I have thought about why, how, especially after losing two sons could I NOT want one? I think it is because right now I am too scared, my mind has made the association, not an irrational one, that boys equal death. So that is where I am right now. Three daughters, two sons, three alive, two not. So many questions, no answers. I am accepting of this reality though hopeful for our future. I am a piece of china that no longer looks like it was glued together by a two year old, maybe now a ten year old.