I’m listening to a fellow bereaved mother’s reflections right now, a year after her son’s life was cut short. Anniversary of death and birthdays are the hardest for so many of the bereaved parents I know. The days leading up to the first year were extremely emotional for me. That pressure to be back to normal now, as if there wasn’t a black hole in the middle of my life forever, no matter how much sunshine gets poured in.
This week has been extremely tough too. A childhood friend of mine gave birth to a baby girl with a condition that “is not compatible with life.” I hate that expression. I hated reading that message from the baby’s aunt even more. The whole family is suffering and they are lucky to be super close yet so unlucky to have to endure this tragedy.
Another childhood acquaintance just celebrated her baby’s deathaversary this week as well, we’ve grown close in the past year and I was thinking about her so much that the post from this other childhood friend sent my mind spinning. I know their families. We grew up in the same community and have lived very different lives and yet come together in this common tragedy.
So many people in the bereaved community are the strongest, loveliest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. It’s heartbreaking that they’re subjected to the torture of losing a baby.
For me, now, it’s almost been seventeen months. Each day, each hour, something reminds me of the missing piece of my life. I don’t like any of the ethereal terms like angel baby, or starchild. When people ask about Rio or something reminds me of him I talk about him. He’s my son, my baby, a human who existed, lived for a short amount of time but died. “My first son who died last April” is what I tend to say these days as we’re expecting his brother. But it’s so much easier to say what’s on my mind than avoid the topic and later feel guilty for having denied his presence to the rest of the world by failing to mention him.
I live with the guilt of having such an amazing life too, loving the time I’ve enjoyed with my closest family and friends since Rio’s death. I’ve truly enjoyed many aspects of the past year especially, in which I’ve been finally able to write more and express myself. In which I’ve been able to connect with my fellow humans on a level far beyond the depths I could fathom prior to this experience. Rio has definitely left me a better person in the wake of his life and death, like a splash of cold water on my sweaty face after a rough nightmare-filled sleep.