I was recently involved in a conversation with my sister and a friend of hers where my sister stated that “you probably do kinda wanna forget about it” after some time has passed. Forget about what? Oh, the dead babies. Well, to be fair, she didn’t mean to forget about the babies themselves, but to forget the intensity of pain and grief that followed their death. Like, wouldn’t it be unhealthy to constantly remember the intensity of that pain? Wouldn’t anyone would want to forget about and release a pain like that?
The pain is my blessing. The intensity of those feelings is a gift. To forget about the pain IS to forget about them, because those emotions are what I have that demonstrates the level of love I have for those girls. The gift of that emotion is what has enhanced my life and soul and changed me for the better. To forget what that visceral emotion feels like is, to me, a betrayal of the gift I have been given of being the mother of dead identical twin girls.
This is not to say the pain is with me every day. Actually, at this point, over two and half years later, there are days that pass where I think of them almost not at all. Where I don’t feel direct pain. Because this scar is part of me and I have learned to live with it. And then come days I want to pick at the scar tissue and make it bleed. There is comfort in the pain. There is growth, understanding, empathy, sincerity in the pain.
I have been thinking about this post and that conversation for a while and wanted to write about it because I think her well meaning assumption is common, but also misguided.
People get uneasy when I (or my babyloss mom friends) mention their dead babies. Or they think that we should attempt to forget about the pain. Certainly there are people that after a long time are still trapped in their grief. People that are guided and controlled by the pain, and that need help to keep from drowning in it. I am not talking about those people as I am ill-equipped to do so. I am talking about myself and my experiences.
When mothers with fresh losses first find themselves on the support sites, others reach out to ‘welcome’ them and offer them an ear or shoulder or sounding board for their confusion and isolation and sadness. And occasionally a mom will ‘scream’ out in frustration “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS PAIN STOP?!” and there is no useful answer to offer. Because the only answer is ‘time.’ and we don’t control that.
And minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, the time passes, the weeks, months, years… and the pain, though it ebbs and flows, gets more intense and then less…. eventually it becomes manageable. We become accustomed to the crying fits which are shorter and less foreign. The understanding that the overwhelming pain will pass- though eventually return again- becomes a familiar, even comforting thought.
I love to miss my girls. Missing them makes me miss them less, because it’s a way of being closer to them.
I never know how to end these posts that just go on and on with no direct conclusion, so I will end with this quote