“Memory is a way of  holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”- Kevin Arnold

Grief is a funny thing. In the beginning, all it will let you do is constantly replay the event of your loss every time you shut your eyes. But then, slowly, grief eats away at the clarity of those images, in almost a cruel attempt to wash them away. While those images remain painful, they are in fact precious, because an entire lifetime existed within those moments.

When I think of my memories of being pregnant with Jack, and then the days after he was born and when he died, I feel like I am holding grains of sand in my hands. And with each day, more and more of the memories begin to slip away, falling back onto the beach. Everytime a memory becomes harder to recall, shame slips into my heart as if to say “how could you not remember this anymore? how could you ever forget?”.

The truth of the matter is, I am not trying to forget, but I am desperately trying to cling to these precious memories, our only moments as a completed family. I stare at our babies picture and try to remember each little feature. I try to recall what it felt like the first time he moved inside me, I try to remember his ultrasounds and most of all, I try to remember singing to him in his incubator. I can’t utter a word of “You are my sunshine” without remembering him.

I have regrets now that I know can never be changed. In our state of shock, I never thought to unclothe Jack and actually examine what he looked like from head to toe. I don’t know if he had a cute little butt or soft belly skin. I never saw if he had hair. I never saw him open his eyes. Why I didn’t undress him and take family photos with him I don’t know. I wish with all my heart someone would have said to me, would you like to bathe him? Would you like to dress him? How about some photos of you together? I somewhat blame the hospital staff for not having the foresight to suggest these things, but mostly, I blame myself.

At this point in our loss, I’ve come up against the attitude of others that we should be moving on by now. Or for the sake of the new baby, we need to stay positive. While positivity is all well and good, if you went through what we did, you would know it is not that simple. This is a special, terrible, scarring kind of grief which leaves you with a jaded heart. I struggle daily with feelings of both joy and sadness. Joy in knowing this baby is healthy and doing the things 12 week babies do, and sadness knowing that Jack was once healthy and still, he did not come home. The very real possibility that we will experience loss again is always at the forefront of my mind.

Writing has helped me work through these emotions and fortunately, has helped me to capture some of my memories before they faded away. However, I know that as time passes, it will only become harder to remember. And I want to remember, so that Tater-tot can know their big brother and how strong he was. I want him to be an inspiration for this baby, so they know that if he could accomplish that much in two days of life, they could accomplish amazing things in their lifetime.

“Sometimes, no matter how much faith we have, we lose people. But you never forget them. And sometimes, it’s those memories that
give us the faith to go on.”