You should be here, here in my arms.
Crying, sneezing, hiccuping.
Smelling of that all too familiar newborn smell.
Wrapped in a white, pink, and blue blanket; nestled in my chest.
You should be here, searching for me; knowing my smell.
Instead, I’m here searching for you. Everywhere. Anywhere.
Just to get a glimpse of you; to feel your presence.
In the morning glow, the afternoon sunshine, the evening breeze.
I search for you everywhere; in every thing.
And I find you, for a moment; and then you’re gone.
And I’m still searching.
Forever searching. Sometimes finding. But never grasping.
One day I’ll close my eyes here and open them to you.
And I won’t have to search anymore.
January was my due date month. I really feel like I have been kicked around since Halloween ended and the holiday season began. Thanksgiving was hard, Christmas was even more difficult, and sometimes even the idea of New Years was unbearable because i knew 2019 would bring me an empty due date. January 29th really felt like a hill I just couldn’t climb. And finally the day came and the day passed. I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do. I did end up doing some of them but I also mostly just cried a lot.
I wanted to write a quick post about some of the things my family and I did leading up to this date and some of the things that I did on his actual due date. Each of these things brought healing to me in some ways and I hope that by sharing them they can help to bring healing to someone else.
When I was in the hospital, I received a care box from an organization called Luke Lives On. That box changed my life in so many ways. And I still cling to the things that were in it because they are the only physical things I have of my son. Upon receiving it, I knew immediately that I needed to be a part of something like this. You really don’t know the need for something until you are in that specific situation. And I really didn’t know a need like this even existed. I didn’t know that sometimes mothers leave the hospital with empty arms. I mean, I guess I did know this but it didn’t really click that there was something I could do that might make it a little less hard.
I attended a walk of remembrance event for miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal loss back in October and little did I know that this organization, Luke Lives On, would be there. I remember walking up to the table and really not knowing what to say to Lisa, the woman to started this organization. How do you express gratitude to someone who helped you in so many ways, brought you hope and made you feel loved in a desperate time, but that you don’t even know?
I finally gathered up the courage and approached her. I told her how I had received one of her boxes and that I was so grateful for Luke Lives On. She was amazing and we talked, shed tears, and talked about our babies. I asked Lisa how I could volunteer with them and she told me about their “boxing parties” held biannually and that the next one was coming up in January. I knew it would be a perfect way to honor my baby boy during his due date month. And it was.
Our whole family went and it was a time to talk about our baby, remember him, and pray that he felt loved by us. I wanted to pour out my love for each mother that would eventually receive each box. And I did. And it was hard remembering the day I received mine but I knew that this was such a desperate need. And it felt good honoring my boy in this way.
Write someting to your baby
On my due date, I went to a quiet place that I sometimes take my girls to during the week. But I went by myself, of course. My mom was able to watch them for me for a few hours and I was so grateful. I was able to sit alone in solitude and mourn my baby boy. It sounds funny but it was such a good time for me. Sometimes, you just need to cry. It really can help you to feel better.
I wasn’t planning on writing at all on this day but, like crying, writing helps me to feel better. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings. And it helps me to validate them. So on that day, I wrote. I wrote the poem I shared above. Which is something different I’m trying. I’ve never written any type of poetry before this loss, and mine probably doesn’t make any sense or isn’t in the proper form or whatever for poetry. Maybe it’s not even considered a poem. But you know what? I DON’T CARE! It helps me feel better. It validates everything that I’m feeling and it allows me to express myself in a way I never have before.
I also wrote a letter to my son. I wrote him telling him how much I love him, how he has changed my world. How I will always remember him on this day, every year, for the rest of my life. I wrote him many things, mostly of how I wished he could be here. I knew he would never get my letter or read my poem, here in this world. I knew it wouldn’t make any physical change in my world. But it made a world of a difference in my heart. And I pray that somehow my words and cries can reach across realms and he feels my love through them, in heaven.
On the day we lost our son, they gave us an option to make our own arrangements with a funeral home to have him cremated. Or, since our son was so small, at only 15 weeks, we could allow the hospital to take him and do a communal burial for him at a site that is owned by the hospital and that we could visit whenever we wanted. We opted for the latter. Sometimes, it is something that i regret. But at the time I just couldn’t see myself or my husband being strong enough to make phone calls to make our own arrangements. We had both just been through the most traumatic experience of our lives.
Me, delivering our dead son, and my husband having to watch it all. To say it was difficult is an extreme understatement. We just couldn’t handle the rest.
We hadn’t been to the burial site. It has been something that we have been talking about but just couldn’t muster the strength to get there. In the days leading up to his due date, i knew it was time. I knew that was the main thing I wanted to do on that day. I wanted to go to the place where his little body had been placed and mourn him there, by myself.
I went and bought him a little teddy bear, some flowers, and a butterfly wind chime. And I set out for the gravesite. By the time I got there, I was already sobbing. But I mustered the strength to get out of the car and place the things I had bought him there. I sat there, on the ground, in the freezing windy cold, for i don’t know how long. There were other people around so I know they heard my sobbing. But i didn’t care. I needed to cry, I needed to sob, I needed to grieve and wail for my baby who was taken from me. I’ll never forget how the headstone looked, covered in my tears. But I imagined all of those tears, being collected by my God, and watering a garden for me and my son in heaven. The image is something that my sister in law text me that morning to let me know she was thinking about me that day. And I just kept willing those words into existence.
I don’t think that will be the last time I see that gravestone covered in my tears. I’ve come to notice that I have pivotal healing moments in my grief journey, and I know this is one that will forever be etched on my heart.
Sometimes the pain of grief is unbearable. And I laugh that I’m about to use this example but it kind of reminds me of the character Bella from the Twilight series in the book New Moon. When Edward leaves her, he leaves without a trace, and it is as if he has died. In order to cope with her grief she kind of pretends that he didn’t exist. As if he was just some fairytale dream because when she lets the pain in and thinks of the reality of the situation it hurts too much. Sometimes she’ll “rip the hole open” and allow those thoughts in but she knows if she lets the reality of the loss in too much it will haunt her and make her hurt worse later on.
I think this is a coping mechanism I use sometimes too. Sometimes I ignore my loss, pain, and grief. Sometimes I ignore it for long periods of time because I know that when I do let it in, it will be unbearable. The reality that I felt my son move and flutter inside of me, i knew he was alive, and at one moment his little heart stopped beating and I didn’t know that moment is soul shattering. The thought that I have to live the rest of my life never knowing my son is incomprehensible. So I ignore it to survive. I ignore it because I don’t want to keep picturing my son as a small, whole, little being. I want to see him as a little energetic boy, running around acting crazy, like little boys do.
So on this day, I allowed those thoughts in. Those thoughts that I ignore because I can’t bear to face them. I imagined what he would look like. How he would probably have my husband’s dark hair and big eyes and my little mouth. How he would have been the light of my girls’ world. He would have been treated like a little king by them. He would have been so loved here. And probably gotten whatever he wanted because I wouldn’t have been able to look into his big brown eyes and say no.
On this special day, I let myself cry over the handsome little boy my son would have been. The most handsome boy to have ever lived. And it felt good to remember that he was indeed real, not some figment of my imagination, and dream of who he would have been.
I hope some of these ideas inspire you in some way to honor your angel baby on their due date. Most of all, I am sorry that you have come across this page, because of your loss. But I hope you stumbled upon something that can help you find healing on your grief journey.