July 23, 2010

July 25, 1996 – tattooed into my heart and mind….

July 25th, 1996 is a date that is not only tattooed into my heart and mind, it is inked into my skin forever to memorialize my first born child who died when she was just 5 months and 1 day.  She suffocated on a waterbed at the sitter's house while I was at work. 

I am always forthright about having eight children when people ask me how many kids I have, or when I have to list it anywhere. But, when talking about my children I usually just refer to the fact that I have seven children at home. So, I get asked frequently about the discrepancy (7 vs. 8.) The question usually comes in the form of, “I thought you said you have eight children?” That is when I tell those who ask that I have another child, my first, who passed. Usually, it’s left at that.

Although the fact that I have a child who died comes up often, her life and death are not something I often speak of. It’s not a conversation you really care to have with a complete stranger, and I have mastered the art of side-stepping others’ attempts to garner more information.
 Unfortunately, July always ends up being a hard month for me. I usually fall into a significant depression and have a hard time coping with anything overly stressful. Suffice it to say, this year has been INTENSLY difficult for a myriad of reasons…

I guess, when trying to cope with the death of a child, one moves on. By moving on, I don’t mean forgetting in any way. I know there are some people in this world who just can’t get past the loss… people who virtually stop living. But, that wasn’t an option for me. Just a few months after Elisa died, I found myself married and pregnant (another story for another day). I had to pick myself up, dust myself off, and trudge on.

Now, I find myself, 14 years and 7 more children later, still trying to cope with “what might have been.”

But, I do think that, through my own experience, I have managed to finally answer the age old question, “How do you get over losing a child?”

The Answer? You don’t. You don’t get over her. You don’t get past her. You just learn to live with her… in a very different way than what you had ever imagined from the first time you found out you were pregnant.

The Crown Without the Trial....

1 comment:

  1. How true your words are. You never get past that moment. It is stilled in time. Forever changes your life. No one can understand the tears that still flow so easily. Nor the smell, the laugh, the touch....it is one of the most defining moments in life - either you move on and grow....and hope....and wait...for that moment when you know you'll be together again, OR you can just get into a ball and die. I choose living with the beautiful memory that I have of this most beautiful child and thank God for the time I was given to spend with his His most precious angel. Proud of the way you've handled yourself. Love ya, Mom