I have spoken very little about this subject. Not because I don’t care. Maybe because I care so much, the sorrow so intense but not mine alone and FEAR…fear that any and every little mention or acknowledgement on my part might in any sort of way could increase the pain felt by someone else that I love.
Grief doesn’t come with a Manual to help us navigate it…not for ourselves and not when that grief is shared with others, especially when those others grief by far surpasses even what we in ours might imagine.
It very much has been like balancing on the edge of a knife…how to acknowledge it, express it, talk about it, experience it openly while at the same time terrified that any misstep might slice the wounds of others even deeper. There are deep conversations that need to be had between you but even that is a fearful thing when you so desperately fear that the conversation itself might tear the delicate scabs of your wounded loved one.
I fear my silence though has done that very thing. I hurt someone I love and maybe, just maybe, she needs to know that she’s not trapped in grief all alone. Maybe it would be salve to her wounds to know that burden is shared, that the reasons for that grief means something and is important to me too.
For me, writing has always been my outlet, a way of working out difficult feelings, emotions, problems and grief. I have been unable to write since.
My fingers have hovered above the keys and blank page almost every day since June 11th, followed by June 16th. And, I knew and know still, that if I couldn’t write it out that I would never write again. All the hurts, pain and grief yet to come in my life would only pile up against this mountain. I will never be able to move past it, beyond it, around it. But, I feared the words would shatter me and shatter this person I love and want to protect, wanted to protect from this very thing that happened….but I couldn’t and that kills me inside every… single…day.
Today I’m breaking my silence, breaking my heart further still and hoping that as the cracks shatter, that it might become like glue that might help her in putting hers back together.
I often post memories of my 8 older grandchildren and share new things concerning them but the painful truth is, is that I have 10. I have 10 grandchildren.
From the very moment that our son and daughter-in-love called on my birthday to deliver the long hoped for news that they were expecting, I had both joy overflowing and a dream that was born. When we learned that there were twins, a boy and a girl, joy only multiplied.
I had a dream of the future that filled all the days remaining in my life…first smiles, first steps, Halloween costumes, Christmas pictures, dance recitals, T-ball games, graduations, weddings, our kids becoming grandparents and we becoming greats.
On June 11th, that dream began to clash with a hard truth that I have yet to fully accept.
My grandbabies were born, much too soon at only 23 weeks gestation and so very small. My perfect, beautiful granddaughter Bridgette, was only 9oz. There was no equipment small enough to help her. She spent 3 1/2 hrs with her parents and laying against her daddy’s chest, slipped softly into the arms of our Lord, having known in her brief life,only love.
On June 16th, we recieved a call from our son and with his wife, screaming in the background, informed us that our precious grandson Porter, 1lb 9oz, left us too. He had left us to join his twin sister, leaving behind a devastating grief for the rejoicing of heaven.
You’d think that would be the end of my dream…but it wasn’t. I still have it, want it, long for it in my very soul. Each day is a haunting reminder of one more milestone that should’ve been, should BE..and I’m missing those pieces of my life.
When I said that I’ve been balancing on a knifes edge, not posting about this, not adding their names to my grandchildren posts, that I was trying to protect their mother from further pain, that was VERY true.
BUT, only just now as I break this silence and write it all out have I come to realize that I have been protecting my own heart too!
Adding their names to the memory posts of our grandchildrens 1st days at school, them in their Halloween costumes, look how they’ve grown etc posts….would be and is, a heart shattering reminder of the memories, pictures, milestones and life that I will never get to have with them and the death of a dream that I’ve not been ready to let go of yet.
Unwilling to confront my own grief, I’ve kept it to myself, bore it silently with excuses to go outside alone, to another room, to the bathroom, where with my head in my hands, cried then wiped my tears so no one would know and ask for the words I could not bear to say.
In some part of myself, I feel a parents guilt. Our strongest instinct is to protect our children and the devastating truth is that I could not stop this from happening. I couldn’t fix it, take it back, make it go away and I could not comfort their pain.
After these many months, I am only now tentatively, with much trepidation, taking those first baby steps in attempting to confront it. From the moment that I heard that I would be a grandmother again, I had been systematically buying and collecting baby things for Bridgette and Porter. Only this last week have I dared to even look at the bags filled with items stored in my closet.
Even then, I kept it to myself. The disposable items, I finally donated but I could not bring myself to open the bags of personal things I had bought for the babies nor could I bear the thought of what should’ve been theirs, seen on or possessed by another child nor could I bear to return them. I know that sounds crazy, but not everything in grief makes sense.
So, while Clay worked all week helping a friend, I placed the unopened bags deep within the bin to be taken to the curb…and cried.
Out of my comfort zone and set free.
Remarkably, it is the person most wounded and whom my silence has hurt the most that has pushed me out of my bubble, forcing me to see that grief is a journey that we can’t get through without putting one foot in front of the other and taking that journey together….Bridgette and Porters mother. She has needed me and I have failed her.
She has needed me to end my silence, to acknowledge my grandchildren, to show her how much I care and grieve WITH her. My personal grief, guilt and silence has been selfish, depriving her of what she’s needed. I was too afraid to even ask.
Without her love, openess, courage, willingness and respect…showing me every ingredient of relationship, to
reach out and communicate with me how my silence was hurting her, I would still be silent, clinging to my grief and guilt like a childs blanket, alone in it and leaving her abandoned in hers.
Bridgette and Porter. I will say, write and you will hear these names often now and I will say them with hope… hope for a day when the tears of saying them are replaced with a smile and hope for a day to come when I will embrace them for the first time and ever after.
Always with Love….and Hope – Laura💕