It seems that I’m getting by, for a week or so, pretty easily. Caught up in the whirlwind of a new baby and all that goes with it, it’s easy to step away from my grief. And then… I’m getting out of the shower, or sitting in a conference, or doing some other mundane thing and BAM! It hits me. My daughter is dead. I was pregnant, my belly was growing and I was so in love with myself and the little being I was creating. I was giddy, lying in bed with a doppler, looking in a mirror with no clothes on… I was infatuated, intoxicated, by my daughter and how she was changing me in every way.
How can she still be gone? Haven’t I suffered enough? Paid my debts? Where the HELL Is my daughter, and why is no one else looking for her? Even worse, how can I go on, every day, as if nothing happened? How can I just keep living and breathing?
It is Grief Week at work. We talk a lot about how we deal with the deaths of our patients. My unit is so intense, the patients are so critical, that when averaged, we have a patient die every 32 hours. That’s a lot of death.
We also talked about the difference between grieving and mourning. As I was sitting there I kept thinking yes, yes… My whole body felt like it was starting to hum. My grief started to rise up from the bottom, float to the surface and sting my eyes. I realized, I need to mourn some more. No matter how busy. Because it’s there. It’s hurting so bad. It needs a voice sometimes, or an outlet.
On the windows in a main corridor they have set out washable markers. Everyone is invited to write messages of remembrance, or hope, or compassion in honor of Grief Week. In our huge medical center, thousands of people walk past these windows every hour. I picked up a pink marker and wrote, “Avalon- your mommy loves you now and forever. Rest in peace precious baby.” A stranger in the crowded hallway stopped behind me and said, ‘Awwww. How old was she?’ Newborn, stillborn, I said. “I will keep you in my prayers,” she replied.
In that moment I felt my voice was heard. I was grateful for this stranger. I was grateful for Grief Week, and a chance to place in public what is so close to my heart.
Categories: baby loss