Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Days

Three days from now will be Jack's very first birthday. January first. The promise of a new year, fresh resolutions just waiting to be broken... But it holds a very different meaning for us now.
 
It's not like I didn't know it was coming. As I've watched the calender pages turn at a furious pace, I've realized this date is inevitable. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to wrap my mind around it, trying to wrestle my subconscious into submitting to what will be an excruciating day.
 
So in knowing this, what have we planned?
 
Nothing.
 
Not a thing.
 
It's not that I haven't had the time, because I have. And it's not like I don't want him celebrated, because I do. And it's definitely not that I don't want to remember him , because I will, forever and ever, and until way past then. Rather, we've planned nothing, because nothing feels right.
 
There can be no birthday celebration without the bouncing birthday boy. I suspect on the day when most people are suffering from a champagne-induced hangover will be a solemn day in the McCannell household. One in which I cry a lot, and attempt to fall in and out of sleep in the safety and comfort of my bed, or my husbands arms. I'm going to unplug the house phone, silence the our cells, and tuck away my computer. And just be alone, with Jack's dad.
 
In all honestly, the very idea of spending time with anyone on our son's first birthday is suffocating to me. In the days and weeks after Jack I felt like my skin was afire anytime someone hugged me. It was unbearable, but I hugged them because they sought comfort, even though it brought me physical pain. I felt smothered, much as I do now, by people's pity. I didn't want to be touched, and I didn't want to be held, and there were (and still remain) no words which made me feel any better about what happened. No promises of "it was God's will" bring any resolution to my grief.
 
And I feel badly for the first person to tell me this inside baby needs her mother to be strong for her. The person who tells me that once this baby gets here we will feel better. Because while I can not wait to hold her in my arms and lavish kisses upon her sweet baby skin, I will never again get to do that for my son, and I am beside myself grieving that. I will never get over that.



On that note, I am really irritated by people who think I should be happier now I'm pregnant. I am happy, but I am still grieving, and one does not negate the other.  Everyone assumes it will all work out this time, and that what happened to us was such a spontaneous fluke... That history certainly can't repeat itself. But it does, and it has, and to make me feel guilty as though I'm somehow doing a disservice to my baby girl by grieving her brother...Really? To utter these words to me is unconscionable. The people who speak these words know as much about grief as I do about physics. Because until you've cuddled and kissed your baby and passed him to a nurse, knowing you will never hold him again no matter how long you live, you don't get a say, and I don't give a damn how much you feel I'm letting down my daughter. I just don't. She is loved. And she will have a wonderful life (I hope), but I'm so sick of people trying to inspire me to be happy by guilting me about her.
 
So what do I want? I want people to remember him. To say his name. To look at his photos and remember that he was, and still remains, a very loved little boy who just isn't here with us. He is as much a part of me as my heart and my lungs. 

To remember whether we have one or even twelve more babies, he will always be missing.

That's all I want. Well, that and my baby back.


 

26 comments:

SG said...

Yes, yes, yes. I am also struggling with people's expectations about this new pregnancy and how I deal with it.

We also chose to spend Elizabeth's first birthday (last week) just my husband and me, together at home, talking and doing family things and walking the dog and remembering our daughter as we saw fit in the moment, and it was absolutely the right decision for us. I am so so glad we didn't plan anything more. Hoping you will find the next week gentler than you anticipate... <3

Burt Fam said...

Well said! I can't offer any consolation, but I am so, so grateful for your honesty and eloquence. I will be thinking about you on Jan. 1. I hope it is exactly what you need/want/hope in what I am sure is an impossible day.

Melissa said...

I'll be thinking of you this NYE and NYD. In case you don't post (and I'll say it again if you do) -- Happy Birthday Jack <3

Kelly said...

Yes, so much yes to all of this. I'll be thinking of you, as always. <3

Renel said...

Ugh...what a trial to have to negotiate other people wanting and willing you into being better, happier...well, it just doesn't work that way. Being happy for another child does not make you love your first one less, and having another child after your last one has died does not make you miss him less. Dealing with grief and hormones is hard for me every month when I get my period. I can only imagine how hard it must be to negotiate grief and hormones of pregnancy. It is all just so hard. I wonder sometimes if I will be paralyzed by my missing to do nothing for Camille's birthday. That sounds just like something I would do. Not knowing what to do or even how to make it special enough for the child who is not here...Nothing sometimes may feel more right than something that doesn't quite fit or capture the love we have for our children. New Years has always been my favorite holiday...No expectations except the hope for a brighter better year. I am hoping for a brighter happier year but I also want to remember how filled with joy I was at the prospect of Camille being a part of our family. It is hard sometimes for me to remember my joy becuase of how tragic it became. That being said...I think of how my idea of new years would be if my daughter had died on a day that was supposed to be filled with hope. I am just so incredibly sad that Jack is not here with you. I know you will love him with all your heart for the reset of you life. I know that Jack's baby sister will fill your heart with love but it will not fix the missing. I don't know how these too can live next to eachother but they do. I feel it with my son. My sadness and love living next to eachother in my beating broken heart, filled with love and longing. You too will find that and I hope hope hope that you will feel my love that is not searing to your skin as you cope and grieve and sob for Jack.

LookItsJessica said...

I like your idea of cutting off the outside world on Jack's b-day. I can only imagine the pain and I will be thinking of Jack and his lovely parents on NYD.

BTW-- Jack's little curled-up hand is probably the most adorable thing I've seen... ever!

Molly said...

Friend, will certainly be thinking of u, the mr, and jack. Glad u chose to do what is right for y'all.

JoyAndSorrow said...

Oh my. I relate to so much of this but in different ways. Not being pregnant after loss, but the juggling. Pain and love and feelings that seem to trip over each other. "Enjoy her." I hear that all the time from people; they say it as a way to conclude a conversation on a positive note after we've just discussed my grief. I never know how to take that comment. I tell myself it's a separate comment from the grief, that people don't REALLY expect me to just enjoy her and not grieve him. But, I'm probably wrong, and they probably do. I don't ever ask them. It's an argument waiting to happen that I just don't want to get myself into. People do mean well, but sometimes they SO miss the mark.
Much love to you. Cyber hugs, not the smothery type.

Monique said...

I know. Nodding along. Sending love as you approach Jack's day and I wish it were so different. I'll be thinking of him on NYD.

Rhiannon said...

So beautifully said. I can completely relate to this post. I remember when I was pregnant with Norah so many people assumed that my heart should just magically heal but because I had new hope in my life. But the truth is, the fact that Harper isn't here will always hurt and just as you said, no amount of babies will take her place and no one should expect them to. Sending much love to you, sweet Jack and your baby girl. <3

Tiffany said...

Wow your post gave me chills. Why? Because I feel like I could have written it word for word. That is 1 big reason I chose not to announce this pregnancy because I feel as though some people will just assume that now everything is right in the world & will want to come around & talk to me again. I have cringed everytime someone alludes to the fact that things will be "fine." how do they know? Dammit, I beg and plead with the universe to just cut us a break this time and let us raise our children & have them outlive D & I, but it's hard to return to a world of ignorance when we have had the floor snatched out from beneath us. So I continue to step lightly, but step nonetheless. & yes God help the person who ever tries to minimize Julius and his life to me. I'd probably have to cut them ;)

Thinking of you, Jack & Jack's little sister. Praying everyday for her safe arrival

Tiffany said...

& I will definitely be honoring & remembering his life on the 1st!!

Tiffany said...

I'm so with you on this one. After Ellie died, I hated people hugging me, etc. At her funeral I just wanted to scream at them to leave me alone... Thankfully no one has said anything to me about getting it together for the sake of the babies- I'd have to punch them right in the face. There is no doubt our other children are loved and will always be treasured- but we still get to grieve for our other child. People are a-holes and need to learn when to shut it.
You have been on my mind a lot this week and we will certainly be remembering Jack on his bday!

Nicole said...

I'm so glad that you shared this post with us. I know that when I was pregnant with Addalee, people assumed that we were all happy...that all the sad of losing Caroline was somehow magically gone. They didn't realize that having Addalee didn't have ANYTHING to do with Caroline. If anything, having her in our lives, only made us miss Caroline more. I guess I said all of that to say that I know what you're saying, and you're not alone in those feelings.

I will certainly be remembering Jack on his birthday. Praying for you and your family on that day, and think that it's such a great idea for you to spend that day as YOU see fit.

Becky said...

I have thought forever about what to do on Liam's birthday and have considered doing absolutely nothing for the reason of nothing would seem right. It's hard to want to celebrate when the person in honor is missing.

I too am overannoyed with the people that keep saying I should be happier now that I'm pregnant and how this can't happen again. Those people haven't got a clue on the pain we have felt and are still feeling.

I will definitely be thinking of Jack, you, and your husband on New Years though.
Happy first birthday in heaven Jack:)

Becky said...

Oh and thanks for the website about the "Liam the brave" swaddles. I had to buy them:)

Brooke said...

You know I think about Jack all the time, but I will especially be thinking of you all on his birthday. It will be such a hard day. I hope that as the years go on, though, it will become more bittersweet, and an opportunity for your family to remember and honor the sweet boy who will always be missing and never be forgotten.

B. Wilson said...

I read this over at least three times now and every time I love it. Not that you're feeling this way, but the expression of how very real this is to be who we are. It's a terrible existence that must exist concurrently with our "maybe" going to have another shot again life we're all hoping for.

I also thought I commented and then read everyone else's and just want to say, "copy that" to each and every one of them.

I will continue to think about your little guy, speak his name, and remember him. That vividness of that video you shared way back when has never left the forefront of my mind. He is such a ball of love, that little Jack. :)

JIN said...

I admire your honesty so much.

My husband and I lost our daughter on July 2,2011 and while we're thinking of trying again - I'm a little nervous about being pregnant and grieving at the same time.

I hate when people tell me, "you'll have another one" like that's going to fix the problem because as you said here they have no idea what it feels like to hand that baby off knowing you'll never see them again.

Whatever you choose to do for your little ones birthday will be the right thing. A mothers instinct is ALWAYS right.

Best of you and your family - I will continue keep up with your blog. Your words are powerful.

Caroline said...

Ever since "meeting" you - the first of the year has new meaning for me. Not just New years, but Jack's birthday. I will remember him. We will all celebrate his life - what a meaningful one it IS. Look how many it's impacted. What a guy you blessed us with Laura - thank you!

Mandy Hitchcock said...

Oh, Laura Jane, I will be thinking of you and remembering your precious Jack tomorrow on his birthday. How I wish he were here to smear icing all over his face and cry because he's freaked out by all the people loving him at his birthday party. It is just so very wrong. Much love to you.

Shaina Gadow said...

Thank you for this post. I have been worrying about how to honor our son on his first anniversary and felt I needed to do something big with people, but like you it doesn't feel right. You have given me permission to let that go and do whatever feels right to us on that day.

Today, I am remembering Jack with you and hope that you find some peace and comfort in whatever you decided to do today.

with love,
shaina

Youngins said...

It's weird, today I just wanted to stay in lounge in my pj's all day and mourn my Izzy. I decided to blog. Man i am so sorry that you don't have Jack to party with today! I'm sure it would have been a spectacular party!! i do hope you had a relaxing day enjoying your hubby and your growing belly :)
Just because you are pregnant again does not mean that Jack never was, he was your first, in all aspects. I hope people around you don't ever forget him, gosh how could they? He is so darn cute!!! Sending you love!

todd. said...

I wandered onto your blog randomly a couple of weeks ago. Jack is beautiful. I wanted to think of him on his birthday, so I lit a candle and wrote his name and spent a few quiet minutes thinking of your family.

Natasha said...

I hope you are doing ok friend.....I definitely was thinking of you and Jack on the 1st. He will ALWAYS be remembered. I love this picture of you guys sleeping together.

cheri said...

You must be having a really rough week. I thought of Jack on his birthday, and of you and your husband. Gentle, non-invasive hugs from a stranger.

C

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