I am laying in the camper listening to the rain fall while a sleeping Tobin is in his crib beside me. All weekend we have been surrounded by so much of our family - making memories, laughing, living life, but my heart and my mind have often been elsewhere. Especially when I see our sweet baby girl cousin who will soon be two. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, while it isn't May 27th, it is the day that I will always relive Koen's death and his birth. He would have been 2.
After he died I thought, Memorial Day was ruined for us. Thinking we would always be silent and huddle ourselves close to home every year. I have come very far, realizing now that life must be lived, celebrated. Hackett has a pile of memories from these few days and that is a gift. I want our family to live, but it can be a challenge when I am often thinking of death. I feel alone on my island of grief at times. Rarely is it talked about out loud. Only a few ever even speak Koen's name or ask. Most assume all has returned to a normal, or maybe just feel like enough is enough and I should get over it. It's okay, I get it, I really do, but it feels very isolating. You see I miss him. I wonder about his face, so much. So much so, that I contacted an artist hoping to get a painting done just so I could see what he might look like now - even if it was someone else's interpretation. I also feel the heavy weight of the guilt and shame of his death, somehow feeling responsible. My body failed him, I buried him, have a new baby, life has moved on, and as a result I feel like I have betrayed him. I realize that these are not rational feelings, but grief is irrational.
I have been reliving the play by play in my head all weekend. Koen had already died now, although I didn't really know it. I had felt decreased movement and was worried, pushing often on my stomach attempting to make him move. The contractions started during the night, but I just didn't believe it and waited until morning. Never did I think this was possible. Tomorrow the moments will haunt me on a loop. All while I maintain life as normal, helping my family to live.
I am Jackie.