So after last week's therapy session (naturally, I'm getting help with all of this grief stuff), I made a plan to change the environment around me, my home where I live and work, so as to make it softer on my eyes. I added some new candles to the living room and the kitchen table. The idea of bringing more light into my life, even as the days get shorter and darker, feels so comforting. We took a family trip to IKEA this weekend and bought a new bookcase for Charlie and Sofie's room (I swear we now have every color, shape and size of the Expedit series of shelving). I also bought a new duvet cover for our bed and put up some curtains in our bedroom. For all of my pregnancies I sat in that bed staring at the same red plaid duvet cover. Since I've been home from the hospital I've spent many nights curled up under the covers, crying and aching with physical and emotional pain. The new cover is white with a grey, floral design. It is lighter and prettier, although probably not a purchase I would have made if I was busy breastfeeding, pumping , and burping all over the covers of our bed. I wish Mila and I were snuggling up together on that dingy, old duvet cover, but I'm looking for ways to make what is new and different feel ok.
Today I feel grateful for my life. My therapist also told me that it's okay to let grief and joy sit side by side together. I look around my house and am grateful that I am healthy and able to clean, organize, and decorate my home. Today I delighted in playing follow the leader with Charlie as we hopped on and off of cushions and then ran up the stairs with ease, rather than being achy and unable to walk like when I first came home from the hospital.
I think about Charlie and Sofie's experience this summer, and now, as we talk about their baby sister and where she fits in our family. This week we are supposed to bring pictures of family members to school to make a family tree. I absolutely want Charlie and Sofie to share about their sister with others, but it's a strange situation to be in. After years of planning and teaching these same kinds of activities, I know that no preschool teacher would expect a few photos to cause stress and anxiety. Do I ignore the short but beautiful life Mila lived in order to save face in front of other people in the class? Do I bring in a picture of my stillborn daughter because she is thought of and spoken about so much that she might as well be here? (and risk being one of those people.) We've decided for now to keep the pictures of Mila out of the classroom, and glue them onto the family tree as soon as we get home. I told the kids that I didn't want their friends or the other parents to be sad if they saw a picture of their sister who died. These are the situations that just suck. Every day I find a little more grace . . . and then a reminder of what has happened. I'm told the day will come when the grief isn't so sharp and powerful. I am changing my perspective and trying to look down the road to that day.