Day 11: Emotional Triggers
Early on it was hard to predict what would send me I to a downward spiral. The sound of a baby crying in a restaurant, diaper commercials, pregnant women all sent me running for the hills, normally crying in public. As time pushes me forward, my skin has become tougher, my mind able to block out the sting. Normally keeping myself together isn't an impossible feat but there are still a few triggers that send a deep stabbing pain piercing through my heart and unfortunately, these are hard to avoid.
• Ambulances, especially number 24. I will never be able to erase from my memory how it felt to follow that ambulance through town to the hospital. Every time I see one, I'm sent back to that awful morning, reliving every painful detail.
• The emergency room at our local hospital. Same as above. I never want to step foot in that area of the hospital again. Just being near that section of the hospital is enough to send my hear racing. This is, for me, especially hard to avoid since I work very closely with the hospital for work.
• The songs we played at her funeral, Hallelujah, Heaven is the Face and When We All Get to Heaven bring me to my knees. They are all perfectly beautiful but as soon as I hear those first chords start to play, I'm sitting in the font pew at Avery's funeral all over again. The first two songs I easily avoid by turning the radio but the hymn is hard to avoid when it seems to be sung at church frequently. Every time I try so hard to make it through and every time I fail.
Day 12: Article.
I love Still Standing Magazine. There are so many articles I've read that have really resonated with me. If I need to be lifted up, there's an article. If I need reassurance that I'm not crazy for the way I feel, there's an article.
One thing I've struggled with is guilt after Avery. SIDS (and any loss) will do that to you and the guilt is amplified. The what ifs, and why's plague me. It's hard to accept that your child is gone for no real reason and yet you did nothing wrong. We are use to cause and effect. I know the effect, but what was the real cause? Did I miss a recommended precaution? Should I have checked on her 5, 10, 15 minutes earlier? The questions running through my head are endless. It's taken me the last year to stop beating myself up and to accept I did nothing wrong and this was out of my control. It's not my fault, I'm not a bad mom and I didn't do anything to deserve this.
This article helped me allow myself to let go of the guilt and accept that I am not a failure as a mother. I am a damn good mother and until my dying day I will be the best mother to Avery that I can be. Read the article here: http://stillstandingmag.com/2013/06/why-you-didnt-fail-as-a-mother/
Day 14: Family
"The people who are there for you on your darkest nights are the ones worth spending your brightest days with."
Our family is more than just those related to us through blood. To us, our family are those who have been there for us the last 16 months. They've been with us through our deepest darkest times, through our healing, through our anger, through our rejoicing, through us despair. Our family has proven their love and support for us over and over again. I am so thankful for each and every person who has made it a point to be a part of this journey with us. It's not an easy journey to be on, some have gone astray along the way, but those most important to us are here, by our sides every day helping us through.
Day 15: Wave of Light
We spent the evening with other loss parents at a beachside Wave of light ceremony. The event, hosted by Elizabeth Ministries of Melbourne, included luminaries and candles on lit on the beach. This is the second year we attended with two great friends. We attended last year but when it came time to share, I couldn't. This year, I was able to share a little bit of our story and it felt amazing to share Avery with this group. It was a beautiful evening.
It was also amazing to come home to see so many friends and family had also lit their candles in Avery's memory that night.
Day 16: Seasons
Summer will always remind me of Avery. She was born and went to Heaven during the summer. The Florida afternoon thunderstorms started the day she was born and it stormed every afternoon for the 6 days she was here with us and for the months to follow her passing. The beautiful sunny mornings and afternoon storms of summer will always bring me back to Avery's summer, the summer of 2012.
Day 17: Time
Early on, time was my enemy. I felt I was caught up in a strong current being pulled further and further out to sea, losing contact with the shore.
Every day past June 12th I felt I was being pushed further and further away from Avery. I felt like I was losing more and more of her. But now, as time continues pushing us further from the day we were forced to say our unexpected goodbyes, I no longer look at time as an enemy. Time is no longer the villain because no matter how many days it's been since I've held and loved on Avery in person, she is always here with me. And as the days add up since she was last here, the days tick away toward the day we get to be together again. Everyday that countdown clock gets closer to our sweet reunion but until that day, I carry her heart in mine.
Day 18: Release
Over the past 16 months I've struggled with the guilt over losing Avery. Deep down, I know that it's not my fault. We did nothing wrong and I know that, but as a mom, I feel I should have been able to keep her safe. The "what-ifs" make the guilt worse...what if I would have woken up a little bit earlier, what if I would have purchased one of those monitors, what if I would have just kept holding her that night instead of laying her down, what if I missed something...the list goes on and on. SIDS is awful. There are no answers, there is no closure. I am working to let go of these things. It's not my fault and no matter how many scenarios I play in my head, none will bring her back. It's getting easier to let these thoughts go but some days they still plague my thoughts.
Day 19: Support
I am beyond blessed for the support I have in my life. My husband is my rock and our friends and family hold us together when we feel like crumbling. However, over the last 16 months I have made so many connections with others who are walking in my same shoes. Nobody else can really get it like these women (and men) do. They've been walking this same path, the understand these feelings like nobody else can. I've made some beautiful new friends along this journey through our babies. Whether it be from blogging, online support groups, Facebook or local support groups, this network of support is amazing.
Last year a good friend shared this poem with me the same day it was read at an Oct 15th event we went to together. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it because it is so true. We all hate these shoes but we will forever be stuck in them.
Day 20: Hope
My hope for the future is that more awareness would be brought to pregnancy and infant loss so that the taboo would be broken and support be prevalent.
My hope for the future is that there would be a cause found with SIDS and a cure. There has to be something causing this nightmare. No parent should ever face this cruel unknown.
My hope is that technology and medicine would advance to help prevent miscarriage and stillbirth.
My hope is that no parent would ever have to suffer this heartache.
My hope is that Avery's Light will continue to shine and bring support to those in need.
My hope is that this rainbow I'm carrying helps fill our arms, our quiet house and brings us true happiness.
My hope is that one day, she will not go through the devastation we've experienced.
My hope is that I continue to live my life in a way that makes Avery proud.