I’ve never felt so much love before all this. I thought I had- when I got married, when I was hospitalized (between the care packages and the visitors, I didn’t have time to be bored). But I’m feeling it even more now. Phone calls, texts and emails. Comments on the blog. Visitors who look at pictures. This is what gets me through the day.
“Condolence cards… felt like oxygen, and only now do I fully understand why: to know that other people were sad made Pudding [my stillborn son] more real.” –Elizabeth McCracken
The cards have been pouring in. And I savor every one. I read the printed words and the handwritten ones. It amazes me that there are so many different cards made to send to people who have lost a child, a baby, a daughter. The have come from so many people. My community has rallied- cards from people who I work with in the hospital and office. I am surprised by some of them, people from other practices, people who came to calling hours, friend’s mothers and my parent’s friends, whom I’ve never met. It’s lovely. We now have a stack of cards next to Mabel’s photos and I want to tell her, see how many people wanted to meet you? One of my midwives wrote in a text, “Amazing how attached one can feel with no time to get to know her.” All this love makes me think of the times I didn’t send a card to someone. That will change. To know others are still thinking about me, about Chris and I, about Mabel, makes the days a little more bearable.
When people cry….. Hearing how others heard the news consoles me in a way. Hearing how they cried when they heard about little Mabel. Some still do when talking to me. It helps. Their tears make Mabel more real. They validate my sadness. This really did happen and it is really really sad. It’s ok for me to be sad. Because burying your child is one of the hardest things to do. Because babies are supposed to live. Because I have dedicated my career and lifestyle to help other people have babies and I should get one too. Because this just sucks.
I’m trying new things- the things that help others. I did a hot yoga session with a friend (I should probably call it warm yoga- it was hot for me, but apparently it’s one of their coolest classes). Yoga helps her distract and ease stress, so I gave it a try too. I’ve also been invited to a dance-exercise class. I have no rhythm, but I’ll probably try it. My friends (and healthcare providers at that) want me back at bootcamp with them. All good things to help clear the mind and rebuild the body. People reaching out with what helps them, hoping it might help me.
And there is always the food. I learned this early on in pregnancy, when my cousin brought two large containers of local ice cream. And in the hospital- the chocolate, the cookies, the cheese that poured in. People like to feed you when you’re pregnant. They really like to feed you when you are hospitalized. They can not feed you enough when you are bereaved. Food has shown up on our doorstep. From close friends locally to from my sister’s job in California. Food is love.
At least while I wade through all sadness and grief, I have all this around me. It doesn’t take my grief away, but it buoys me. It reminds me that I’m not alone and that though I am so unfathomably sad, I am also loved.