In the immediate aftermath of losing Iris, I felt alone. Isolated. If people do not know what to say to a woman after she has lost a baby, they definitely do not know what to say after she loses two babies. The silence was deafening.
But then it shifted. As weeks have passed, people have crawled out of their discomfort and extended their caring. Sometimes with an apology of “I’m sorry it has taken me so long to show up, but I’m here now.” The examples of the shift have been evolving into a living, breathing being.
It is the friend who reminded me that I will always be the Mommy of my girls.
It was the meals dropped off and the offers to help with the kids.
It is the person who reached out, even though he admitted that it was awkward and he didn’t know what to say, but he acknowledged that silence was selfish.
It is the “thinking of you” card that arrived unexpectedly and put a smile on my face.
It is the group that wrapped their arms around me from afar.
It is the words of comfort, such as “I do not know what you are going through, but I wish I could take some of your pain away.”
It is the words of solidarity, such as “I do know what you are going through, because it happened to me too, and I know how much it hurts.”
It is the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” sent to me as a sweet reminder of a moment in our past and how long our friendship has existed.
It is gentle encouragement. When I feel alone or anxious, I can send a text and receive an immediate response of “I’m listening.”
It is intervening on my behalf when I am too tired or too upset to take on something myself.
It is the plant I received after losing Nelle that has now produced a surprise bloom.
It is the phone call from someone who had kept her story to herself for a long time, but wanted to share it with me to tell me that I am not alone.
It is a work email from someone I do not know well, letting me know that a large project is far less important than what I am going through.
There are the friends who have provided much-needed distractions in the form of Mom’s Night Out.
It is the friend who admitted that she did not know what to say, so instead sent me beautiful pictures to look at every day.
It is meeting me for a cup of coffee on short notice, just to give me a good end to a bad day
It is making time in the day for a phone call and listening to my heavy sobs and feelings of meaninglessness.
It is the friend who agreed to check in on me every few days to see how I am doing, and from there a friendship has further blossomed.
There messages from periphery friends, who took the time to say “I’m thinking of you” even without a history of regular interaction.
There are the gifts; small, beautiful tokens that I can carry with me or wear as daily positive reminders.
It is the comments on my writing, daily affirmations that someone is listening to my screams.
It is reserving judgment, allowing me the space to grieve out loud and tell my story without fear.
As I began to list everything out, I realized how blessed I am to have so many meaningful people in my life. I have been lifted by their words and actions. I felt alone, but listing everything out made me realize that I am not alone. The list keeps growing. There are people holding me up and lending me their shoulders until I am strong enough to stop leaning into them.