I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it until the day I die, but there’s a lot to hate about grief. I hate how unexpectedly it throws itself upon me. I hate that even though we’re on our third time around celebrating holidays and family events without Preslee, there are times that it hurts just as much as it did as when we lost her.
When I was pregnant with Preslee I signed up to receive e-mails from Baby Center. They send weekly e-mails explaining the development of your baby. After your child is born, they continue to send e-mails, about the progress your child should be making, and give tips and tricks to help you parent. Less than a week after Preslee died, I received my weekly e-mail from them, it felt like I was punched in the gut when I stared at my inbox, and the subject read 19 months, 0 weeks. I remember thinking, “Shouldn’t they know she’s gone? Shouldn’t they know she never reached 19 months?” To this day, I have no idea why I clicked on it and read it, but I did. That particular e-mail warned me accidents happen very easily at this age, and it’s important to watch your toddler around water…
After reading the e-mail, I of course lost it, and realized I couldn't keep receiving e-mails about what she ‘should be’ doing. It may sound strange, but with it only being a week or so after the funeral, one of the hardest things I did was delete her from my account. With one click of my mouse, I was saying she no longer existed. I remember sitting at my computer and crying for a very long time.
A few months later, I signed back up while pregnant with Ledger, and it’s been a good thing. Then over the Holidays, while driving to one of our family Christmas parties, I noticed noticed I had received an e-mail from Baby Center. It stated he was officially 18 months and 2 weeks old…just a couple of weeks younger than Preslee was when she died. I had been trying really hard to not think about that concept, and that’s when it sunk in. I looked back at Ledger in his car seat, and amongst the tears that started falling, I became angry. Angry that Preslee was so young when she died. Angry that we lost her in general. Angry that I received that e-mail, because I knew it was going to make it harder to shake from my mind. And as we spent time with family over Christmas, it was hard to not look at Ledger, and then at the nieces and nephews who were Preslee’s age. Looking at Ledger and then at them, I was able to see everything we’ve missed out on over the past 2 1/2 years. I became frustrated with myself for continuing to struggle with kids around Preslee’s age, and I was frustrated that I still struggle in general. I know the people around me must get sick of it, but at times, I really can’t help it.
And now that we survived the Holiday’s, I can’t help but think about the article I’ve linked before about the Piano which states:
“You don't want to get over it. Don't act surprised. As awful a burden as grief is, you know intuitively that it matters, that it is profoundly important to be grieving. Your grief plays a crucial part in staying connected to your child's life. To give up your grief would mean losing your child yet again. If I had the power to take your grief away, you'd fight me to keep it. Your grief is awful, but it is also holy. And somewhere inside you, you know that.”
It is holy, and he’s right, even 2 1/2 years later I still would fight for my grief- even the angriness and the bitterness which I so drastically hate. And as I read over that article, my frustration with myself for still struggling disappears, because I realize my grief really is one of the only connections I still have left.