When there is a huge event in life, it changes you. The moment Noah was born, I became someone new. The carefree newlywed that I had been was gone, and my life belonged to this perfect little person. Then, when we lost Zoe, I became a grieving mother. I was the mother of 2, even though to strangers, I only had Noah. More new difficult changes came when Avery was born. Then there was Heath.
The loss of Zoe was completely different from Heath. I don’t love one more than the other, but it’s different. I had time with him that I wasn’t given with her. I held him, changed and nursed him. Counted his breaths and ounces of breastmilk drank. I didn’t have that opportunity with her. These are things that I carry with me, like a suitcase filled with bricks that is strapped to my back. So heavy.
There are reminders all around of the person I used to be, you know, before. I look at photos of myself from years ago and I can only think, “who was that girl? She doesn’t have any idea what’s coming.” Would it have changed my decisions? Probably not. I am not who I used to be when we were younger. None of us are.
We all carry our experiences with us. Whether it was good or bad, it has made us who we are. I’d be lying if I said that I liked this new, angry person that I’ve become and struggle to manage. It’s something that I work on daily, every minute even. Sometimes I feel so heavy, it’s like my legs will not carry me. Sometimes, I’m able to push it all down and pretend I’m the person I want to be – carefree, easy-going, relaxed. Unfortunately, I’m not any of those.
There are times that I just want to be alone with my misery. I want to be alone with it. I want to go through my memories and feel each of one of them completely. I want to remember what each of them mean to me and how it has changed who I am. It’s not anything that anyone else can change or take away. Now, I know that may not be a “healthy” way to deal with my grief. I don’t pretend to think that I’m not absolutely crazy. I know better than anyone. Better than Noah or Avery that sometimes thinks Mommy is losing her mind. Better than my poor husband that has somehow tolerated my mood swings and sadness – I should probably order him a trophy or something. Better than my dear friends that are always there when I’m on a downward slope off the cliff of insanity. Believe me, I know. Those are the moments that I think, “hmm, maybe it’s time to up my medication.”
I’m not so crazy to think that it’s going to go away. It becomes harder and easier to talk about them. Each encounter brings its own difficulties and satisfactions. It brings me peace to let someone know they existed. It brings me pain to share that they are gone.
Embrace the changes that made you who you are. Every joy. Every pain. Every experience. Be unapologetically you.