Yesterday was the birthday of one of my best friend's dear baby boy. He would have turned 5 yesterday, but he passed away in the arms of his mother 28 minutes after he was born. Willows had a whole head of dark, curly hair and the cutest little pouty lips you have ever seen. His 3yo sister has those same lips and I'm hoping the baby coming this fall will as well--they really are very cute!
Last night we went over there for dinner and birthday cake. After dinner I was sitting in the kitchen with Laura and I asked her how she was feeling about being 5 years out and the first thing she said was, "This is it. It is the year everyone else has forgotten." And I know exactly how she feels. It is almost like a dream at this point. I have to ask myself sometimes, did this really happen? Did she exist? Because obviously these babies don't exist the way our living children exist. Five years from any loss gives you enough distance that you are clearly living your daily life, caring for your children, changing diapers, doing laundry, planting a garden, driving your car, singing songs...all those things that life lets you do. Five years gives you perspective. Willows and Sophie brought so much to our lives and now we can see that losing them was a piece of a much bigger puzzle. Five years gives you back your breath...it doesn't feel suffocating like it once was. You no longer feel like a frenzied, crazy person just searching for something, anything, to hold on to. You no longer feel completely and utterly lost.
But, perhaps because you are no longer that frenzied, crazy person...people forget. And just like that, *poof*, your baby is gone. I'm sure this is very similar to other kinds of grief (losing a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a grandparent...) in that the river of time is continually flowing and it isn't that it stopped for you when you were freshly grieving, you just weren't in it. You were completely unaware and uncaring of the fact that it was even moving. Now, five years out, you are definitely back into that river--living, laughing, loving and flowing further away from that point waaaaay back there when you had just lost everything. Can you still see the spot? Absolutely. If you want, you can hike back there easily and stand on that spot and relive the whole thing just as clearly as the day it happened. You can remember the sights, smells, the feeling of that baby in your arms, the curl of his hair...all of it. You can relive it down to the second. But most will think you are crazy and the fact still remains--that spot is way back there. And if you want to go back there, fine, have a visit...but nobody is going with you. Nobody else remembers that spot anymore. And so here we are, five years down the road and we turn and look longingly back at that spot, half wanting to go back there (just to hold him one more time, just to feel her last kick) and half perfectly happy down here, away from all that. Five years.
Want to make a difference in a Babylost Mama's life? When her baby would have been 5 (or more!), just go up to her, put your hand on her shoulder and say, "I remember." Happy Birthday, Willows.