I have decided to join Angie and her Right Where I Am project. Angie thought up this project a few months ago as a way for BLMs to connect and to talk about "...where you are in your grief and what it is like now, so new people can get an idea of the experience of grief further down the road, and so people further down the road can reflect on how far they have come in their grief." So, here goes...
Here I stand on the cusp of my daughter hitting the double digits. She's been gone longer that she was with us...so where am I in my grief?
That's a hard question to answer.
Some days I can smile easily, I can tell people I'm okay and mean it, I can think about her and smile. Some days, it's almost as if she is still here with me.
Some days I swear I can still feel her kicking me and squirming.
Some days I almost feel brave enough to go in her room.
Some days, I feel so close to her, especially when I'm digging in her garden. I smile every time she sends me a wink. More often than not, its a butterfly.
And, on the other hand, some days I just want to quit. I'm tired of acting like everything is OK. I'm not OK and I never will be. I'm tired of faking it for all of my acquaintances, although, faking it has gotten much easier since I changed jobs. when I hear my coworkers complain about their children I just want to scream "Cherish your children...you don't know what its like!"...but I don't. I'm anonymous...and I'm not sure I like it. I tired of sucking up my emotions...I'm tired of plastering a fake ass smile on my face. Yet, I do it every day.
Why doesn't anyone talk about her anymore? Is it that they wish she never existed? Why don't they mention her to me? On a recent weekend trip, I mentioned my daughter's name to a family member and they just brushed it off. That cut deeper than any knife ever could. Do people just want to forget her? Do they want me to get over it? More importantly, am I expected to get over her death?
Sometimes I expect people to say, "You're not over it yet? Its been almost a year, don't you think its time?" Sad part of it is, I almost expect to hear it come from a family member and not a friend. I don't know why I expect this. Is like I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst. Like I'm trying to plan my answer for such a question. But, why in the world would a family member even say something like that to a grieving mother?
Some days, in a haze of grief, I wonder if I was ever a mother. Yes, I carried and loved a child for 39 weeks and 5 days. But, how does that make me a mother. My grief plays tricks on me...sometimes I KNOW I'm a mom, yet other days (like Mother's Day), I once again feel like I'm on the outside of an exclusive club...
Some days, I just wish I could stay in bed and cry.
Some days, I wish I could go back and insist that the doctor take me seriously when I said she wasn't moving as much.
Some days I wish I would have called the doctor sooner.
Some days I wish I would have gone into labor early.
Some days I just wish for the life I had before she died...I miss the old me. Don't get me wrong, I would NEVER say I regret being pregnant with her because I DON'T regret it. I just miss being the happy go lucky, carefree, optimistic person I used to be. What I regret is not having her here with me, not being able to share my life with her and to share her with the world. Most of all, I regret not being able to keep her safe. Why couldn't I keep her safe...why did I have to fail at the most important job I've ever been given? That guilt, like the grief, never goes away.
Some days, I just wish I could hold her, even just one more time, and tell her how much I love her, how much she was wanted, and how much she is missed.
My grief will always be there, will always rear its ugly head when I least expect it. No matter how long you've been gone, Addie, there will always be that hole in my heart that was carved by your soul as you left us. You carry that piece of my heart with you, always in your own.
Xavier Santillanez Jr.
4 weeks ago