Last night Nathan and I were giving Abigail a bath. He went into the closet to get the nail clippers. He came out with a blue bag that had held the nail clippers. He looked at me and said, "its all blue. This is the part people don't see. Everything is still blue." And he's right. Blue nail clippers, blue bath toys, blue laundry hamper, books about trucks and insects, blue towels and wash clothes and burp rags. Yes, we have changed the clothes out, but the other stuff remains blue. And it's all in perfect condition (something else that stings) so there is no reason not to use it. Just hard little reminders each time. Reminders that steal your joy in the midst of joyful things like giving your newborn daughter a bath. And its tiring. Trying to balance such intense joy with intense sadness feels so opposite and hard to due. I am happy, I am sad. I am looking forward to April and Abigail's baptism and yet I desperately want to skip the whole month of April. I don't want to think about Caleb and all the "should have's" and yet that is all I want to think about. I love her, I miss him. And on and on and on the dance of joy and sorrow go.
The hardest thing lately has been the feeling that I should be planning a first birthday party next month. Instead I have absolutely no idea what to do for April 16th. I don't even know what to call it- a birthday? an anniversary? a Heavenly birthday? Where is the rule book???? It breaks my heart that I have no idea how to "parent" my first born. One of the things I have noticed with grief since Abigail has arrived has been my deep need to parent Caleb in some way. I think seeing how much Abigail needs me and giving so much to her, makes my motherhood search for ways to balance that out with caring for Caleb. The problem is, there aren't many ways to parent him. And so I have found myself grieving for him more intensely. Grief is the main way I can show him love, and it seems that any free moment I have during the day I want to saturate myself with grieving him. I am pulling out his scrapbook more and more and going over the same 15 pictures of him that we have. Listening to the same sad songs I did in the weeks and months after he left. I have found myself searching endlessly on the Internet again for anything on stillbirth. The need for "answers" has come back in full swing and the only way to relieve the need is to throw myself in the world of death. Maybe I feel like I would be a better mom if I found out why it all happened. Truly I think I just want to give him something of me, want to show him that he still matters and I haven't forgotten.
Grief is strange. It comes in waves and seems like just when I think I am making progress beyond a certain phase, bam I am back there again. Many people in grief had said that the second year is actually harder than the first. I suppose its a combination of the shock and numbness from the first year wearing off. And I think that most people expect to be better by the end of the first year. I did, but now I can see that will be far from the case. I still feel so broken, still feel like I have so much to "process" in my head and sort out. If you know someone in grief and they are approaching the year anniversary of losing their loved one, please don't assume they are better. Expect that the next year will be just as hard, if not harder.