One year out…

One year ago…

There is part of me that can’t believe it. Time has gone by both quickly and slow, depending on the day. I’ve never been a big fan of April. I associate it with gray skies and dreariness. After losing Charlie last April, I was ready to delete it permanently from the calendar. But the thing is…my Dad’s birthday is April 17th. He’s a pretty special guy so there is no way I could wipe out his birthday month.

And as difficult as last year was, there were many beautiful moments, particularly watching Ellie Sue grow. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of that. Even though for a good portion my heart was deeply aching.

What I can tell you a year later…

A mother/a couple who loses a baby does not forget. The world moves on but the fact is, your heart is never the same. No one ever got to meet this child but we had hopes and dreams and plans for him. All those things we suddenly had to let go of. We suddenly had to accept he would never be in our lives on this side. I remember in the early days I would go for short walks outside….it was all I could do to work off my anxious energy. I would think about how it was going to be impossible to carry the weight, the reality of the situation. How does someone do it? Bit by bit, I guess. Through the help of many people.

I’ve come to accept that this is a fact, a reality in our life. I still feel angry sometimes that this happened to us. But a tragedy like this really forces you to take a step back. I have …and I’ve looked at my life and realized as “unfair” as this felt/is, as painful as this will always be, I am fortunate for the life I have. For the friends and family who have carried us through. For our beautiful Ellie Sue.

I’ve also had to accept that sometimes you don’t get answers. You hear a story like ours and you think “oh no! What happened?” It’s human nature to want an answer. Was someone sick? Was there an accident? Did they know something was wrong? Etc etc. No. In our case, we have no answers for Charlie. Our doctors told us, although these things rarely happen, when they do, half the time they have no known cause. I remember our doctors telling me “this is nothing you could have predicted or prevented.” I wanted, I needed to know the root cause…but they had nothing…despite all the most advanced testing the best hospitals could offer. No answers just that sometimes nature goes awry. That has been both a really difficult and somewhat freeing pill to swallow. There is not always an explanation or clear answer. I think this is how many people feel when tragedy touches their lives. Why us? Why then? Sometimes, it’s just bad luck? Believe me, it’s very difficult to accept that we lost our son because of bad luck. But I’ve found trying to mull it over in my mind to try and find answers I truly don’t have, is probably one of the most depressing and draining exercises.

So yea, one year ago…the floor dropped out. I spent six weeks out of work. Two of those weeks I could barely eat or sleep. I went from a very pregnant looking 5+month pregnant woman – to a shell of myself. Somehow, Nick and I rallied through the storm. Ellie was truly the only light I could see sometimes. Both new and old friends legitimately came (and continue to come) to my rescue and for that I will always be grateful and feel lucky.

I can say that I feel much better now but I will never “get over” or “move on” from this*. Charlie is a part of our life, a part of our story. I have been able to make space for this truth. Oh and by the way, this means you can say his name to me. It actually feels quite peaceful {and yes, sometimes sad, but that’s ok} because it recognizes our truth, it acknowledges him.

I have found ways to share our story that has both helped me heal and connected me with other women who have walked a similar path. I have forged friendships and bonds like I’ve never known before. Despite all the heart ache there is hope and lots of love.

It’s interesting to be writing this in a midst of a global pandemic/quarantine. Damn you, April. But next week, no matter what, I’ll celebrate my Dad’s (70th) birthday.

I received this hand painted votive (made by a student at Fontbonne Academy) through an organization called Hopeful Connections. HC is a local pregnancy loss organization. They aggregate local events, resources, and support groups for grieving parents and families. Receiving this candle in the mail (around Christmas no less) was one of the more touching gestures. We keep this special votive right in our kitchen windowsill.  I’ll link below to HC.

After we lost Charlie, so many people reached out with support and sympathy. I kept every card, every small gift box. I packed his ultrasound pictures here, Ellie’s “big sister” onesie, and a few other pieces of paperwork. I haven’t been able to look at this for a year but Nick and I went through it yesterday. We will always be grateful for all the support we received. If you sent a note or any form of sympathy, please know we kept it (in some form) and hold it close to our hearts. 

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Picture from a special event I had the opportunity to speak at. Surrounded by incredible medical professionals and two fellow “loss Moms” who I now consider friends. We shared our experiences and aimed to connect with one another, including how we can give back to the medical community who carried us through one of our most difficult journeys.

*one of my favorite videos on grief. I’m now a huge fan (find her on Instagram @noraborealis) of Nora McInerny. she’s amazing and has written a few great books.

A couple other resources:

  • Local organization for pregnancy loss: http://www.hopefulconnections.com
  • A beautifully written book {An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination} about a woman who lost her daughter. I realize these types of stories seem “depressing” but if you’ve been through pregnancy loss it really helps to feel you are not alone. Elizabeth is an incredible writer and knows how to capture the many feelings and emotions so authentically

One thought on “One year out…

  1. I love you Beth. You write so beautifully.   I can feel your pain and your healing.Charlie is your angel looking over all of you.Sending you and Nick and Ellie Sue love and hugs.GinnySent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy Tablet

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