Wednesday, May 2, 2012

a busy day

I say this all the time, "busy". We're busy. Charlie and Sofie are busy. I've been busy. It kind of feels like an excuse or an easy response to the question, "How are you?" Yesterday was busy. It was my last day of Early Childhood Family Education, a wonderful program that includes chatting in a room with a group of wonderful, kind, and insightful parents while our kids are in preschool. It was our last day of the school year and possibly my last day ever in this terrific program. I was sad not only because my babies are going off to kindergarten in the fall, but because if Mila were here, I wouldn't be saying goodbye. It sucks and it's not fair. I didn't choose to leave, but I have to.

The rest of the day consisted of lunch, a nap, playing outside, dinner, gymnastics for Charlie, and a walk with Sofie. After our walk, my little girl and I blew bubbles. It was thrilling. We laughed, giggled, and squealed; soaked with sticky bubble solution. The entire time I thought of Mila. Mila would have loved these bubbles and the loud shrieks of joy. The wind carried the bubbles around the yard, some high into the air. I imagined Mila reaching and pointing at them as they floated away. Then I wondered if Mila was riding on one of those bubbles, dancing around in the air, coming back towards me and popping on my jeans. I think of her all the time like this. These moments make me feel light, safe, and peaceful.

Later that night, Chris's mom wrote a message on my facebook page: "Thinking of precious Mila today . . ."  I didn't understand. Why was she thinking of Mila today. Then it dawned on me. It was May 1st. Our baby girl would be 10 months. I let the whole day go by without remembering what day it was. Of course, as always, I thought of Mila all day long, but I didn't realize that another month had passed. I felt terrible.The time has come, I thought, when I start forgetting the month anniversaries, when I stop dwelling on Mila and our deep grief and start living life again.

I guess I'm grieving the loss of my grief. There's a part of me that still doesn't want to go on. I wonder why I had to survive, why Mila and I couldn't be together forever. Then I get busy. My head is so full of plans. Plans for the summer and how I can make up for the worst summer of our lives. Plans for Mila's golden birthday on July 1st. Plans for Charlie and Sofie's 5th birthday. Plans for kindergarten. Plans for the end of my duties on the ECFE Parent Advisory Council. Plans for another baby (somehow).

I also find myself pouring my grief and energy into projects that honor Mila and my experience. I've been trying to rebuild our lawn that was devastated by the awful heat wave we experienced while I was in the hospital last summer. I blame myself. I love doing yard work. It wasn't a priority for Chris while his wife was dying, and by the time I was home and physically able to do anything, we had lost a lot of grass. This spring it has reminded me of our loss and I am happy to say it looks pretty great today. Other than a few bare spots, it is lush, soft, and green.

I've also been cleaning, painting, crafting, sewing, and writing. All of these "busy" activities help me find worth in myself and my survival. They are healing, cathartic, and distracting. I've met other bereaved parents who do the same things to honor their babies or to just escape from the deep grief. Chris writes music and has created artwork for Mila and I. Baby A's dad makes amazing videos of his family and their experience. Baby M's dad writes on a beautiful and profound blog. Baby J and A's mama sews, writes, and seeks solace in her faith. There are so many of us, and we all do something as we try to manage the grief.

I can't promise I won't forget another 1st of the month. My dental hygienist, who lost a baby twenty years ago, confessed that she forgets. The sting is gone. It's just another day to her. I remember thinking that I could never forget an anniversary. Forgive me, sweet Mila, and thank you for the bubbles.