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....