It's been 5 months since my last blog. Life seems to sail by so quickly these days, but writing fuels and heals my soul, and is something I want to re-embrace in this season. I woke up at 3 in the morning, unable to sleep, and that, for me, is the indicator that much is heavy on my heart, so today I need this outlet. I need to let myself cry.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Ache hurts more in silence, so it has always been important to me to shine a light on the darkness of loss and pain. I am not alone, and neither are so many of you. Your loss is real. Your grief is real. Its valid. Its okay to acknowledge it, experience it, and let your tears flow too. Its okay to sit in your car a bit longer tonight, linger in the shower, light a candle, curl up in your bed, go for a walk, or do whatever you need to allow yourself a chance to honor your baby and grieve that deep down missing piece of your heart.
Kevin and I grieve so different. Our relationship is beautiful, I often step back and watch how seamlessly we handle things together without words. Its like a dance for us now after 15 years of marriage, and over 22 years together, we just twirl side by side to accomplish whatever is ahead of us. Our humor and how we see the world is so perfectly matched. But, we also differ, and so often those differences complement each together. In grief, we differ. Kevin's heart was shattered - as I watched him dance and sing carrying Koen in the hospital, as I walked next to him when he carried his casket to the grave - he was broken. His jovial spirit took a hit, his ever present immaturity (and I mean that as a compliment, because he is so fun) seemed to grow up over night. Life was no longer as funny and lighthearted as it once was for him. He is still Kevin, still so fun, but it shifted. And then we had Tobin. Tobin picked the pieces of his daddy's heart off the ground and put them back together. Tobin arrived, and Kevin's smile returned. He has still been forever changed, and he still aches, but after that emotional year, he moved on, pushed forward. He carries so much stress on his shoulders on a daily basis, and he does it with ease most days. I think he was predispositioned to that, but I also think this was a gift from Koen to Kev. He knows what matters now, his perspective on life is ever present. And in his Kevin way, which makes him the perfect partner for me, he is consistently constant every day.
My grief has been different. I still remain constant on the outside, or at least I try, in an effort to keep our house stable and safe and consistent for my two boys here on earth. But internally I can be a roller coaster. Fine for weeks, months even, and then something will send me plunging down a big hill, or send me on a wild twist. This seems to be the only place I have shared my roller coaster ride. I'll let Kevin know I am having a sad day, or hard moment, but I often don't expand, not wanting to pile more on his already heavy shoulders. And it often feels so personal, so hard to relate or explain, just this ache, often flashes of visions - from that day or months after - or from what would have been. And its sacred, and beautiful, because my ache is what I have from Koen. Some days I want to swallow down my hurt, and other days I want to wrap up in it and snuggle in it with Koen for awhile.
Kevin and I are often in our own corners of grief. But last week we had a simple, sweet, no tears, conversation about Koen. Our Tobin is a wild man, his mission in life is to be a goofball, and he is very successful. He is like Kevin, but not entirely, he is enormously creative - much like me at his age. He has a carefree spirit like Kevin, but when coupled with his creativity from me, he often lives in the clouds. Unaware of so much, and often unaware of his appropriateness. Kevin was a funny kid, but it sounds as if his appropriateness meter was far more fine tuned than Tobin's. Kevin was funny, but chill. Tobin is not chill, he is chill in that doesn't stress about anything, but he has never been described as low key. Kevin and I were laying in bed after a long day and Tobin, our little Tazz came wildly spinning in. We glanced at each other and laughed, and I said, maybe Koen would have had your chill like you. Koen was calm in utero, so calm, that I didn't notice his decrease in activity until it was too late. He had his dad's tight curly hair, maybe he would have had the personality to match too. For a second, with smiles, together we dreamed what Koen would have been like. Something we will forever wonder. It was a precious moment that I will treasure.
Tobin talks about Koen all the time. He talks about heaven a lot too. I wonder if they know each other? Tobin gave us multiple scares while I was pregnant, at times it seemed like the possibility of burying two babies in one year was likely for us. I wonder if Koen was with Tobin in womb keeping him safe? Today I am going to give myself permission to cry and wonder, and snuggle in my sadness with Koen for bit. And I am giving you permission to snuggle with your lost baby too. All my love.
I went down to the lake this week to see the sunrise, and there was Koen, saying “Good morning momma, I colored you a blue heart in the sky.” See that little reflection above the waves? I like to think that's my 6 year old angel visiting me in one of the places I find the most peace.
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I am Jackie.