Today it has been 2 years 2 months and 5 days since Carleigh was born still on March 28, 2009. It is hard for me to believe it has been over 2 years already since that day. Wasn’t it just yesterday I found out I was pregnant with her? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we got the news that no parent should ever get? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I held her in my arms?
Sometimes I wish I could go back to yesterday. I think that is because I feel I didn’t get enough moments with her while she was here. I got to spend 37 weeks with her in my womb. I got to feel every single kick and hiccup and gosh I am so grateful for that. I shared moments with her that no one else ever got to experience. I think because of that I grieve for her in a way that no one else ever will. No one knew her like me.
I remember being completely ecstatic when I found out she was a girl around 16 weeks. My dream was going to come true of having 2 girls close in age like me and my sister. Life couldn’t get any better. But then that horrible day came. I’ll never forget the exact moment when all my dreams were shattered. It only took one word. Anencephalic. I saw the word and I knew what it meant. We’d never take our baby home.
I am still completely amazed at the grace that God gave me that day and on the rest of our journey. While my heart was completely broken, I felt God near me and He walked beside me through it all.
The first year was the toughest for me, especially around month 6. I had to go through all of the “firsts” like holidays and her birthday. But not only that I had to get through each month of wondering what she would be doing at that stage and what milestones she would be reaching. I still wonder to this day what she would be like and I imagine I will always wonder for the rest of my life here on this earth.
Now here I am at 2 years 2 months and 5 days out. What is grief like for me now?
My grief is a lot easier to bear, even though my grief has never felt extremely heavy. I’ve never really had sad days, just sad moments. Those moments have happened less and less as time has passed. They are still unpredictable though. I can be doing just fine and then something triggers a moment. It could be a reminder or a song or just looking at my other girls and seeing the little girl in the middle that is missing. I don’t miss Carleigh any less than I do from when I last held her. I prolly miss her more. People prolly wonder how can I be less sad but miss her more? I don’t really know.
I’ve always been an optimistic person and that optimism has carried over in how I handle my grief. I’ve kept my optimism and my hope and I think that has helped cope better than if I didn’t have it. I had my rainbow baby in September 2010 and she has brought a lot of love and joy into the spaces of my heart that were empty and aching. But I don’t want people to think that my heart is completely healed because that isn’t the case and never will be. My heart will always be broken for the daughter I had to let go and there will always be a piece of it that will be hers.
I like to imagine her being so happy that her sisters make me happy. I like to imagine that when we laugh and play together she laughs along with us. I even imagine that when mommy or daddy feels sad she wants nothing more than to reach to us and hold us and tell us it’s gonna be ok.
There are things that are harder now though. Although it has gotten better, I don’t look at babies and pregnancy the way I used to before Carleigh. A pregnancy doesn’t always equal a baby even when you’re past the first trimester like so many believe. I used to have the “that’ll never happen to me” mentality. Then it did happen to me and it forever changed me. It’s harder to talk to people about how many children I have because some people don’t think that children in Heaven count and I don’t agree with that.
I see more of the blessings I have been given in this life because of Carleigh. She changed me so much and I know she made me into a better and more caring person. I would hate to think that because of her I became less than that.
I don’t visit her at the cemetery as much as I used. It’s not because I don’t want to but because the days get away from me and I’m not out that way as much as I used to be. We visited recently though and it was so nice. Kyndra has always enjoyed going to the cemetery. She laughs and plays and runs around. She should never have to associate a cemetery with her sister.
I wish people would say her name more or just talk about her. I wish people would tell me that they miss her. I want to know that there are people who miss her besides me. I’m always missing her.I never realized before Carleigh how much of an impact losing a child has on a person. It’s a pain and a grief unlike any other and can only be fully understood by those who have been there. Some people may disagree with me but I think it is the worst kind of loss. Children shouldn’t die before their parents.
I like to look at her pictures and the keepsakes I keep in her memory chest. It was not too long ago that I watched just a little bit of one of her videos from the day of her birth. The silence in the room from that day is haunting. I didn’t realize how quiet the room was then. I was so focused on her that I was unaware of what was going on around me. I do remember hearing the clicks of my friend Ashley's camera taking pictures of us. That was basically the only sound in the room aside from the whispers from our caretakers.
I don’t give myself a lot of time to sit and really think about things. Honestly, I barely have time to myself to get other things done let alone have a good grief session! But there are occasions when I am by myself at home or I’m in the car and I will take myself back there. I go back to the moments when we found out, when I carried her, when I held her in my arms, and when we said our final goodbyes. I wonder how I have made it through this. This is the stuff people tell you that they don’t know how you did it because they surely couldn’t. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told that. And I want to tell them that it hurts and it sucks but oh, she was so worth it. She was and is worth every moment, good and bad, that I have experienced these past 2 years 2 months and 5 days.