This post is part of a weekly series of posts I am sharing called “In the Raw.” These were written early in my grief after the death of my twin daughters in 2011. My hope is to help newly bereaved parents to feel understood and to know that they are not alone.
This post was originally written in August of 2013.
Yesterday I wrote about the first day of school, and it had me thinking about the other losses that we grieve when we lose a baby.
We don’t just grieve our baby who died. Which seems unfathomable because that loss is enormous – how can we possibly add more to it? But we do. We add so much more.
Many of us grieve the loss of bringing a baby home from the hospital.
We grieve the loss of flowers and cards that people get when they bring home a new baby.
We grieve the loss of decorating the nursery (or possibly worse, we grieve the loss of a baby to enjoy in our beautifully decorated and lovingly prepared nursery).
We grieve the loss of late night feedings and diaper changes.
We grieve the loss of trips to the park and the zoo with them.
We grieve the loss of siblings for our children.
We grieve the loss of brushing their hair and dressing them in cute outfits and giving them baths and reading them stories.
At holidays, we grieve the empty spaces where their stockings or Easter baskets or gifts or presence would be. Should be.
We grieve the loss of first words, first steps, first teeth, and first days of school.
Some of us grieve the loss of having multiples when one or both of them is gone – it is such a rare thing that everyone loves to comment on. Oh wow, twins! Triplets!
There are so many facets to our losses that it is no wonder that our grief can spiral back and catch us off guard sometimes, rearing its ugly head and reducing us to tears at different times throughout the year. Years. Not just on their birthdays or on anniversaries.
Maybe that’s why it seems unending and bottomless.
Knowing that this is a normal part of grief and loss is helpful, but those things still hurt. Sometimes, people don’t understand. How are you still grieving like this is new? It’s been years.
But every one of these is a new loss. A loss of something else that we didn’t even realize that we’d be missing, reminding us of the ultimate sadness which was seeing our baby die.
What other losses do you grieve with the death of your little one?
If you can relate to this post, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.
If you are looking for understanding and support that is based in our Catholic faith, consider joining one of my healing retreats.
Other posts from this series include: