“The only easy day was yesterday” and other ways that grief is combat

The Navy SEALS have a motto: “The only easy day was yesterday”. Every day is hard, just in different ways. Grief is a lot like that.

You have to fight, every day.

Sometimes I feel like losing Faith and Elijah has ruined me, and someday my heart will wear out and just stop. How can it hurt so much and survive? I don’t have an answer for you, other than what my grief counselor Maria [bless her forever] says: you can’t grieve forever because humans aren’t built for it. Sooner or later our brains and hearts will protect themselves.

All this is to say, you’re going to be okay. You’re allowed to spend all day on the couch watching mindless TV one day and then have a good day the next. You’re allowed to laugh hysterically at a Netflix comedy special. It’s okay to have fun. It’s still okay to have joy. Your baby is gone, yes. Still gone. Not coming back. But your grief can’t run your life forever. So when you catch yourself having fun and think “wow I’m such a bad mom, how can I forget my baby?” YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM. You’re human, and you’re trying to live.

We’re trying to conceive again. [I’ll write about how and why we lost Faith and Elijah during a future post; suffice it to say, we know the issue and have fixed it. I can’t lose another baby for the same reason now.]

Sometimes I think “how can I try again? How many people have to die before I get the message?” and I still struggle with the idea of trying again and then losing another baby. I don’t think I would survive that, but I said that about losing Elijah too and I’m still here. It’s just that now I know how much life can hurt, I’m scared.

My husband isn’t ready to give up, and neither am I. I’m just scared.

We’re trying to move forward–not “move on”. “Move on” insinuates, in my opinion, that we’re ready and able to leave Faith and Elijah in the past, and maybe even forget a little; we are not, and will not. We are moving forward, with our babies safe in our hearts. [“My Heart Will Go On” is peak 90’s cheese, but “you are safe in my heart” is a line I’ve always loved, sue me]. Or we’re trying to move forward. Every day is a little different; I’m always at a different spot on the “okay” spectrum.

A note on grief counseling: I have to talk out my feelings, and it helps me when a person who doesn’t know me or love me says “It wasn’t your fault”. If telling your deepest feelings to a stranger freaks you out, I understand. But, please, don’t shut yourself off and torture yourself with your grief [ask me how I know that’s bad]. Find someone you trust and ask them to listen. I would recommend finding someone who isn’t your partner/spouse, since they’re grieving too. My point is, be gentle with yourself. Let people help you.

Have a good day, mama. If you can’t have a good day, have a bad day. Do what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty if you catch yourself having fun, or laughing, or having a string of good days in a row. You’re still here, and you need to live. I’m right here with you, trying to do the exact same thing. Take heart, honey.

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