** I wrote this last week .. but never actually shared it.. I can’t remember why now! **
I need to write.. I want to write but something keeps stopping me. Like I am just scared to let all that is bubbling inside of me out.
This weekend was a lot.
It started out with her party.. Saturday morning we finished up decorating the cupcakes and then it was time to go. To get in the car for a thank you to our community and all the people that cared about our family . . and a chance to celebrate with them and our friends this spectacular girl of ours.
But I was scared to go.. about how hard this might really be. Was it the right choice for me and Tony.. the right choice for our kids. I make none of the decisions lightly.. but that doesn’t mean I don’t have tons of self doubt. Right then I was having it.. Was this the right way to say thank you? Would she want this?
Before we left a toy went off. A microphone that Jennifer had bought for her sister before she died.. That I saved to give Charlotte on her first birthday. When I heard it I had to find it .. to figure out how it started. It was in my purse on a chair at the kitchen table. I was at the garage door. ..It started playing.. and I started crying. I held myself up on the wall and sang along.
“Here I go
burning like a spark
light up the dark again..
again.. again.. again and again and again”
So many things I can think she might have been trying to say to me looking back at the words in writing now.. But then .. in that moment I just said something like.. ok baby .. ok.. We can do this. I tapped the keepsake that carries just a bit of her ash in my pocket.. and we headed out.
The park was packed.. its soccer season. We grabbed a table and put a few things out.. I only brought one of her photo albums..I have a few and she would help decide which ones she wanted out for her birthday.. so I brought the one she always picked. Of her monthly pics from her first year of life.
That one year.. those first 12 months.. that was 1/6 of her life.
It was almost all friends that showed up .. it was surprising but just perfect I think. . We hired princesses. Ariel and Sleeping beauty to paint faces and make balloons. The kids seemed to really like it. I had her framed kindergarten picture on the table. Her smiling face watching over all these kids doing one of her favorite things. I did my best to avoid watching it from that angle.
Jonathan came up and asked for a walk.. just me and him. When I asked him questions and tried to engage him in conversation he told me he didn’t want to talk. So proud of my 5 yr old (I hate saying that.. I hate that he is 5.. her last good age) for knowing what he needed and asking for it.
We came back and greeting some more friends and he was ready to really start playing!
The princesses said they wanted to grab all the girls and do a sing along. I feel like I may have literally stumbled back a little physical reaction to the emotional punch in the gut. I gathered all the kids (all the girls and I think just one boy) that wanted to join in.. As I was getting the last of the kids they had already started.. So I joined from the front… watching this sea of princesses dress wearing girls singing along..
I saw her face. Frozen in her school uniform.. A year younger than she should be ..
because she wasn’t there.. she. wasn’t. there.
And I cried. I turned my back and tried to stifle it. I couldn’t so I just did my best to allow the tears to fall silently.. and pulled farther back.. And just stared at her.. longed for her.. missed her.
At some point I ended up closer.. Maybe I thought they were done? And I was feeding Charlotte a tube of yogurt.. and they started in with Let it Go from frozen.. And I broke open. Broke apart. On my knees yogurt in my hand I sobbed. Fully aware of all the people around me. Of charlottes mouth and messy hands on top of mine.. but also lost in myself and my own desperate heart ache.
Tony came to me. I need that. How much I just needed to be touched. He got down on the ground and held me while a friend seamlessly took over with Charlotte. He whispered c’mon lets go .. we can walk.. get away from here. But I didn’t move. When I am like that I am rooted to my spot. Like my emotions ground me solidly where I am.
I remember on her 6th birthday.. right after hearing the words that will forever echo in mind “there is no cure”.. I remember being grabbed and chairs being moved. . I remember hearing my name and people trying to get me to sit. I remember my feet staying planted and my body collapsing into my husband..
.. wow.. so eerily similar.. These 2 snapshots of time just shy of 1 year apart. ..
And both times when it was done it was done. 1 year ago I stopped. Looked at my sister in law and said I wanted a party for her. A perfect gluten free celebration.. This weekend I stood up and returned to being Libby. funny. loud. Libby.
I am glad it happened. I would truly love to hear people’s perspective that were there. That were witness to my truth.. and a moment of our lives. All aspects of it.
See that’s the thing with child loss. Likely all loss in general. You never ever know. If you got to the park 5 minutes after the sing a long you never would have known.. would have had no idea what a intimate moment.. between a husband and wife.. and a mother and her sorrow had just occurred.
I know people look at me and think I am so strong, that I am doing so much better than they ever could. Maybe even think its getting better.. that time heals all wounds. – uh ps- whoever penned that quote I’m guessing never lost a child. . My point is often times people see me.. talk with me moments after I have finished crying. .. or moments before I start again and have no idea.
I don’t share this to be treated differently or make people feel sorry for me. I write to share our story.. what its like for us.. for me, in the hopes I can help other people. To know you are not alone if you feel like me.. then hey thats two of us at least. .. And for those that know of somebody in my shoes.. greener or more seasoned than me.. Know that they are hurting.. unspeakable amounts and its likely just below the surface ..
Remember our children. Say their names. Because even if they hurt.. even if they cry.. They will pick themselves up and be grateful for their child being remembered .. And a person that walks in the room 5 minutes later won’t even know it happened.
Its a constant burning..
an unquenchable thirst. ..
That I don’t think ever goes away..
you just get better at ignoring it..
…until there is a cure…