Six Months With My Shadow Called Grief: What I’ve Learned

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May 3oth marked six months since I held Ava for the first and last time.

Today marks six months since I announced to the world that our Ava was gone, leaving our hearts shattered and our souls aching.

The last six months have surely been the worst of my life, and I’ve learned a lot. My shadow of grief can be all consuming. It has shrouded me in my darkest days, and taught me how dark life can be.

I’ve learned that my worst is not the same as someone else’s worst. That it all seems like the most you can handle…until you are faced with more suffering, and you realize, that wasn’t the worst, this is.

I’ve learned that no matter one’s intentions, words can pierce like a sharp knife, and they likely have no clue their impact.

I’ve learned that no matter one’s intentions, not saying anything at all is worse.

I’ve learned that all I really want to hear is her name. But don’t tell me, “It will all be good some day,” in the same breath. Or ever. Because it won’t. I’ve also learned I have incredible restraint from throat punching people who say those cheesy, half-hearted platitudes that minimize my hurt and Ava’s life.

I’ve learned that many people are fine speaking about death…just not when it regards dead babies. I’ve had others bring up the deaths of several adults many times in the last six months.. many of those same people never spoke a word to me about Ava’s life or death. I’ve overheard many conversations involving passing along one’s sympathy for the other’s deceased loved one. Those same people never passed along their condolences for Ava. I hold no ill will for these people. It’s just something I never took time to consider before, and now know is a common part of our culture.

Six months into coexisting with my grief shadow, and the sympathy casseroles have long ago ran out. I’ve realized that people only feel the need to reach out once, if at all. I’ve learned that a “like” or “love” on Facebook is seen as support and reaching out. I’ve learned that the “like” or “love” indicates who sees me and cares on some level, but those don’t provide any relief from the pain, and it feels like a cop out. See? I liked your post about your dead baby. I was there for you.

I’ve learned that friends and family won’t always step up. I’ve realized lately how few friends have even texted me in the last 5 months. I’ve also realized how I don’t have energy to sustain relationships.

I’ve learned how those closest to me can and do step up. I’ve learned how much I need them, and I realize how much I appreciate them.

I’ve learned how exhausting grief actually is. I am tired all. the. time.

I’ve learned that emotions can flow rapidly and change and mix in ways that make me feel insane. Thoughts and feelings constantly change and go back and forth so quickly, I never know what to expect, and internally I’m never the same from day to day.

I’ve learned that I am able to put on a great mask to the world, most days at least. I’ve also learned that the mask falls quickly when a mom with kids is in the vicinity, but I don’t how to tell them to excuse my RGF (Resting Grief Face.. get it? Ugh.), so they think I hate kids or am annoyed by theirs.

I’ve gone to five doctors in varying specialties in the last six months. I’ve learned that I have nothing physically wrong with my lady bits. I have a strong, healthy heart. I don’t have any currently recognized and diagnosable autoimmune disorder.

I’ve learned that it’s incredibly infuriating that “nothing is wrong” with me, yet my body just fucking kills babies for no god damn reason.

I’ve learned that I’m still learning to live with that, and always will be.

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