September will forever be such a difficult month. Exactly one year ago, Sam was still alive. He was moving well, his heart was beating nice and strong, and we were so ready for him to arrive. Everything was in place. The nursery was complete, the diapers had been unpacked and put on the shelf, ready to be grabbed and used. The car seat even had soft toys attached to it. How could a baby that was so wanted suddenly slip away from us?
This past year has been a very difficult one. There were lots of ups and downs, without much logic to anything. Some days I’d feel good, and then some days, all of a sudden, I would feel panicked, depressed, worried and anxious. It’s been so heavy. My body is still dealing with the emotional trauma, which has resulted in physical issues. My intestines are a mess. Nothing I swallow gets digested properly anymore. I deal with cramps, headaches, memory issues (although this has improved a lot), insomnia, shortness of breath. I’m a broken shell of a mother. The feeling of emptiness overwhelms me so often. We were so close. Just a few days away. How could this happen to us?
I know his first birthday will be hard. I try not to think too much about it, but it’s there at all times, in the back of my head. I can sense the date getting closer, and this heavy feeling of sadness steadily increasing. Exactly one year ago today, I was blissfully happy, completely unaware of the tragedy that was about to unfold. Exactly one year ago, I could have had my baby, and he would be with us today.
During this whole year, I’ve had to hear a lot of different things from a lot of different people. And most of them really suck. The most common reaction, which I still get, is: “Don’t worry, you’re young, you can still have as many babies as you want.” What the hell? The next person who dares to say this to my face will get the reaction they deserve. How will another baby ever replace Sam? It won’t! Sam wasn’t some kind of failed attempt at having a child. He was my first little boy and he died. Nothing in the world will ever make this okay. No matter how many children we have in the future (if we ever do), Sam will always be missing. Every Christmas, every family celebration … And every September 23rd, we’ll be adding a year to “how old Sam would be”. Everything we have already missed with him this past year; it chokes me up. All the milestones and fun memories we should have experienced by now. The photo album we would have today … His first year, all his first achievements. How he would look and how big he would be. I miss my little boy so much, and the physical void of not being able to hold him tears me from the inside in such a violent way.
As part of my therapy, I started working on a book telling my story and trying to include advice I would give to other women in my situation. Sadly, I had to stop when I got to the fourth chapter. It was so bad for me. I thought reliving it all through my writing would help me get it out, but it only amplified my pain and I ended up crying more than I was actually writing. My symptoms worsened throughout this process. My memory and ability to focus got so bad it even affected my writing. There were words missing, sometimes half sentences. It was like my brain couldn’t deal with it anymore. So I had to make the decision to drop this project entirely. At least for the time being. Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll be strong enough to continue. But I realize now that it’s going to be a long road until I get there. If I ever do.
I think the most painful of all is that no one ever mentions him anymore. It’s like he never even existed. I suppose people are scared to hurt me. They probably think I’m “okay” now and “got over it”. But their silence hurts the most. Of course it’s sad, and of course I’m struggling with it. But he existed, and whenever someone finally says his name, it feels like such a breath of fresh air.
I’m not even sure how to prepare myself for September 23rd. Maybe I’ll just stay home and be a recluse for a couple of days. I don’t know. If the weather sucks, then I’ll probably stay in bed and watch some movie marathon or whatever. If the weather’s nice, then maybe I could keep myself busy outside. I really don’t know. One thing’s sure though: I’ll be spending it away from others. By myself, with my husband and my pets. Because I know no one else will acknowledge this first birthday, and the thought of it going unnoticed and unacknowledged hurts my heart. So I will peacefully deal with it myself. I’d like to go put a little something on his grave that day, but I’m not sure what yet. Maybe a little stuffed animal? I always seem to come up with the perfect idea afterward. Figures, right?