The Early Days of Loss

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This time, three years ago, were the “early days.”  Sixteen days since we learned that Nelle had died.  Fifteen days since she had been born.  I had already been to see a therapist twice.  I don’t remember if I had started working again or not.  And Theo’s birthday loomed – a trip to a waterpark hotel, planned months in advance.  I was relieved that we were not hosting a party, and simultaneously felt so much pressure to make the weekend celebratory for him – that he could be blissfully aware of the searing pain I still felt every minute of every day. Continue reading

When the Work Isn’t Helpful

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Some things in life cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried.  -Megan Devine

I spent nearly two years with my first therapist learning how to carry my grief.  She let me talk about how I felt and gently probed deeper.  She wanted me to identify, label, and learn to be comfortable with my feelings – even if my feelings hurt.  We talked through upcoming situations so that I could learn to manage my response.  When I lost Iris, she hugged me tightly and said “I’m so sorry, hun.  This isn’t what I wanted for you.” Continue reading

To Mother Orca

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Photo: The Seattle Times

I first heard about the grieving orca on Day 2.  Her calf had died within a half an hour of being born, and the mother – J35, or Tahlequah as she is known – began carrying her baby, pushing him through the water, refusing to let him go. Continue reading

On Being a Witness

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Last night was my support group and I didn’t want to go.  I had gone to dinner with friends the night before and was out past my bedtime.  I could feel a sore throat coming on and wasn’t feeling well.  Rather than going and listening to the other parents share their stories about losing their babies, I really wanted to curl up in bed and watch Project Runway. Continue reading