life in love and in loss

I haven’t updated for more days than is usual for me, and mostly that’s because life has been kind of moving along with a rhythm, and routine, and not a lot of highs and lows. Except that it is constantly full of highs and lows, which life existing within the dichotomy of simultaneous grief and joy.

I continue to honor the daughter I lost by using my experience with grief to offer comfort to the families who are experiencing anticipatory grief and fear, or brand new fresh loss at the bedside of my patients. I hold out my pain and struggles to them as a bit of “you are not alone”, and as a way to lend credibility to my assurance that “you will survive this”. Sometimes they don’t even want to hear that, and I understand. I wasn’t interested in hearing it either, in the very beginning. So in that case, I tell them to sit beside their dying loved one, touch them, and fill them with love. What I don’t say is that someday you will look back on these last days with fondness and longing and be glad that you spent it in love, not in panic.

Jo Jo and I do our thing. We go to baby music class once a week and mom and tot swimming every Saturday with my sister and my niece. The girls have fun in the water, and we always go out for lunch after. Jo Jo practices her new standing skills, and climbs on everything. She comes to me with open arms wanting hugs and sometimes plants huge, wet, tongue-filled kisses on my nose. I fall more in love every day, and every night I snuggle her close once she’s asleep and not squirming around. Her breathing and soft baby sighs are the heavenly choir to my ears.

I facebook stalk her bio mom. Why do bio families never ever put privacy settings on their social media? She posts pics of herself in a million poses, and then suddenly, their is a blurry photo of a photo of a newborn, no caption, and that newborn is my baby. Her baby. Our baby. I ache inside in places I didn’t know I could, and really can’t put a firm label on how it makes me feel to see that photo there. To want her to put some kind of loving caption underneath it, to want her not to have it there at all.

I look towards December 13th with a heavy heart. On that day one year will have passed since the worst day of my life. I will have survived a then unthinkable tragedy and found new reasons to live. I dread the day and yet want it to come much like the way I dreaded the passing of her due date. And yet, it did pass, and I did survive.

I live in extreme anxiety and anticipation of our next court date. I daydream about the day I adopt my Jo Jo, and tell myself not to at the same time. I want one thing from this life, and that is to make her my “official” daughter. To take away the panic that eats at my heart every day, my fear of losing her and missing her as overwhelming to me as the memory of losing my first daughter.

This is my life.

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Categories: baby loss, foster care

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