Tuesday, October 16, 2012

your sister

Oh, I'm done in. My heart was focused on the 13th and the 15th and now that those days have passed I want to sit on the couch and grieve a while.

B is testing my patience like it's his job. I guess maybe it is ... ?? He deliberately gets into things he knows are off limits (he makes sure I am watching him as he gets into them) and when I redirect his attention he only becomes more determined.

This evening J was off work late. B was playing in the living room while I pulled dinner from the oven. When I heard a crash I ran, knowing he had knocked over another lamp. I snapped at him because I was scared and frustrated and tired. He laughed. Seriously, he laughed. Mama used her angry voice and still he laughed. Poor J walked in the door to B strapped in his booster seat and me furiously sweeping and trying not to cry.

We're on day six or seven of teething plus a cold. B has a terrible chest cough and is not napping or sleeping well. Feeling ill doesn't slow him down, it just makes it so he doesn't sleep. I have to learn how to balance missing Charlotte with raising B over and over and over. When J came home I called a time out for myself and took a shower, but I can't call a life time out. I can't make the world stop so I can breathe the deepest breath my lungs can handle and in the space of that breath try to recapture her fragile memory.

It's nearly been 2.5 years and all the memories are breaking apart. I'm trying to find ways to tell B about his sister, but I don't know what to say so I just point to her picture and tell him, "that's your sister."

Say "good night, Charlotte."

Say "good morning, Charlotte."

That's really all I can ask him to say.

I'm just now realizing I'll never speak the words

Say I love you, Charlotte.

How can I expect him to love someone he's never met?

Last night we sent balloons into the sky and I said, "Say bye-bye balloon. It's going to your sister. It's for sissy. That's for Charlotte." On Saturday I said the same words while B pointed at the sky and exclaimed, "that! that!" A little girl behind us said, "what a beautiful sight!" as the balloons floated away that afternoon. And it is, but it's heart breaking too, because every balloon represents a dead baby and incomplete family.

Sometimes when I get frustrated with B I wonder if that emotion is somehow linked to the anger that I can't shake since Charlotte died. I worry I am letting losing her color parenting him. But how can I do it differently? How will I ever know how the other me, the one who doesn't have an ash baby sitting above the fireplace, would parent? I long to know who I would be if she had lived. Honestly, I think this version of me is better, but I still want to know the other one.


  1. You would still get angry sometimes. How could you not? Two sinners living life together 24/7? It happens. Trust me I know.
    Love you. Sorry your days are rough right now! Praying for you! And for healing for B!

  2. You hit a big one - how would we parent differently if our babies had lived? I wonder about that...and am sad that I'll never know.

    And of course we parent differently. Unfortunately just as baby loss isn't talked about much publicly, neither is parenting after a loss. I think most of us BLMs lack support and understanding in this area - that affects us for our lifetime.

    Oh, and I get mad at Allie. Like Dana says about getting angry - how could you not? We're human. Anger is part of life. For me the key is to acknowledge when I've lost it, and repair with Allie (even if she can't understand exactly what is going on, it gets me into the practice for when she will know exactly what is going on, and role models this for her).

    Love to you in the midst of parenting after a loss. Parenting is HARD.

  3. Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time right now. It is tough having a sick, non-sleeping baby, so you are allowed to be tired and frustrated and angry. The grief for Charlotte is always going to be there, we are far enough along this road to know that it the intensity for the grief that changes, but hopefully B will get some sleep soon.

  4. I wonder what sort of a parent I'd be all the time. All the time. I get angry at myself when I snap at the kids. When pregnant with Angus, I swore I'd never do that. But these adorable cherubs can still push our buttons.
    Love to you.

  5. I struggle with the parenting after a loss too. It's so hard to give my girls the Mama that my son had and I feel extremely guilty for that.

    I pray that you're able to find the balance.

  6. My angel Addison was my 2nd baby. I already have a 3 year old son. For the first 3 months handling a busy little boy and handling loosing my daughter was overwhelming. My patients were short with everyone and I became OCD in cleaning my house. Cleaning kept my mind busy. You would think my son would, but he just kept reminding me of things I will never get to experience with my daughter. It's ok to have a meltdown, my son has seen me do this many many times. It's all part of not having something that should be there. My son never meant our daughter but we always talk about how much we love and miss her, he will say the same.

  7. Speaking as someone who has parented before and after loss I can say that losing Eva has definitely coloured my parenting of my other children. However, it's not all for the worse. Our experiences make us who we are and Charlotte is part of who you are. And you parent the way you are now. This is not a bad thing. Or a good thing. It just is.

    Much love to you and J and B and C.

  8. I try to think of it this way: If Aidan hadn't died, I might get upset with Kaia and not think anything of it. Might not worry so much about how my actions and emotions affect her. Might be quicker to anger and easier to frustrate. Because I know how lucky I am (and how easy a baby she is comparatively), it makes coping easier.

    You're doing a great job...as evidenced by the fact that you're worried you're doing something wrong.
    It's healthy to doubt yourself every once in awhile.


thank you!


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