October. The month of magic, and crisp autumn leaves. When goblins, ghouls, and ghost stories come out to play. I woke this morning, and stood under the old tin roof – listening to the rain. The hillside our house is nestled in is vibrant with colour. I took a long, deep breath, hoping the tranquility around me may soothe my restless soul. October is my favourite month, but it also lays heavily on my heart. When I close my eyes and remember October 2018 – it feels as though I’m watching another life entirely. How heart wrenching it is to acknowledge these last 2 years as reality. To bear the honest truth of our life, and our grief. To wake with such a heavy heart despite the beauty of the life we’ve built from the rubble. It is another October, and despite the true joy this season brings for me, there is an emptiness that I don’t believe will ever be fixed. And it all honesty, it shouldn’t be.
“I am sleepwalking on an ocean of happiness I cannot baptize myself in” – Sabrina Benaim
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. It also marks Addison’s birthday. There is still such a surreal feeling to this loss. Still the ever constant belief that there is a way to “wake up” from this nightmare. The never ending hope, and disappointment that this may have all been a terrible dream. Yet, here we are. Another October. Another month further from you. Try as I might, I cannot seem to truly describe the weight and feelings that come with this never ending ache. I often find myself still searching for answers. For the “reason” behind her death. For the sign that was missed. For the logic to it all. But in my heart, I know that will never come. We are the 1 in 4. The ones talked about in hushed voices. Met with looks of sadness, or pure ignorance depending on the situation. There was nothing about her death that didn’t become public knowledge. That was in part a result of “small town life”, but also on my own account. I refuse to erase her, and I refuse to allow others to come to their own uninformed conclusions. We are the 1 in 4. And there was nothing we could have done, that we weren’t already doing, that could’ve changed things. We are the 1 in 4. Her death, was nothing but a cold statistic – a reality possible for anyone – SIDS doesn’t care who you are, or what your life is like. It doesn’t care that the angel it comes to steal, is your entire world. It happens quietly. Without warning, or reason. A rarity I allowed my own anxiety to disregard – “It won’t happen to us”. I told myself, just as thousands of others do. But it did. And it does. We are the 1 in 4.
“In French, you don’t say “I miss you”. You say “Tu me manques” – which means, “You are missing from me”.
There isn’t an inch of my soul that doesn’t feel your absence. No piece of my heart unaware of this pain. As time passes, it doesn’t get “easier” as people may tell you. Time cannot heal all wounds. There are some things in life that cannot be fixed, they can only be carried. Loss like this is one of those. Time continues, but here we stand. My heart still rooted to yours. It never gets easier, but I am learning how to experience it differently. Some days, I feel like an archeologist, slowly unearthing these different layers of grief. Careful not to expose them to too much light, or noise – while I study that which has been buried. I keep learning new ways to navigate the hole in my soul, trying to ensure I’m tethered somewhere light and lovely, as to have somewhere to go back to once the darkness sets in. You see, this is heart work. There is no way around it, you must continue to feel through it. And my goodness, how these feelings crash like waves in an angry ocean. The archaeologist lifts a layer carefully, examining and cataloging its’ contents. Trying to determine its’ origin – but here, the origin is always you. The archeologist treads lightly, careful not to leave any footprints or marks upon the soul. You see, I am the archeologist. But I am also the excavation site. It is me trying desperately to find a way through the dark tunnels and caverns that enclose my heart. It is always me, searching for the answer or the understanding. And I suppose, with grief like this, there’s not much else I can do but study what is left behind. You see, loss is not about learning to live without someone – it’s really learning to live with the love they left behind.
“What I’ve learned, is that you cannot escape your grief. You can try to drown it in distractions, kill it with your vices, or even pretend like it isn’t there – but you cannot escape it. Eventually, it will spring back out of its’ secret hiding place and demand that you stand and face it.” – Beau Taplin
The love that rests in our hearts for you, can outweigh the darkness tenfold. But it cannot bring you back to me, despite each way I’ve cried for it to. It cannot change circumstance, or alter time. Regardless of our deepest desires, there is no magic in death. It isn’t a topic discussed for the dead, but one left for the living to stumble through in despair. You see, Addison is by far the greatest lesson in love I have ever experienced. How love holds no boundaries such as time and distance. How one soul can split, connected to another in ways that cannot be explained. I feel her still, here in a house that she’s never lived in. In the whispers from early winds, and deepness of the starry nights. I hear her most in the silence, as the crickets sing into the emptiness. I spend more time talking to the stars than most, trying to listen for the answers that I won’t ever receive. Last year, I shared our story of that day. Riddled with pain, and a longing for others to hold tightly to their loves, to understand this reality. This weight we carry, with the hope that no one else should need walk this path behind us. With a desperate desire that one day, someone will learn the true “answer” in all of this. That SIDS will be understood, and preventable. That even it’s name may offer some solace and explanation that it currently doesn’t hold. I will forever wonder who she would be. What our life may have been like. I wonder over all the tomorrows that I believed would exist. A lifetime worth of love, packaged densely into an unfair timeline. We don’t get a time stamp for life. This love has taught us the truth, and the value of time. Nothing is guaranteed.
“I will wait for you beyond the stars. For you see, perhaps those aren’t just stars. Perhaps they are the light of the ones we love, letting us know they’re happy.” – Proverb
When you lose a baby, you don’t just lose them in that instant and it’s done. No. You also lose the 1, and 2, and 10 and the 16year old she would have become. You lose Christmas mornings, and first steps. You lose prom night, and their wedding day. You lose every minute you imagined you’d have with them. It is a haunting lifetime of wonder. And I will always search for you. Your death is the tragic truth that beauty can hide deep pain. Just because we carry it well, doesn’t mean it is not heavy. It does not mean that our lives have continued forward without her. She is here. She is in every breath I take, and every song I hear. She is never missing from our hearts. And I would do it all over again, just to have those moments. The beautiful six months. Not nearly long enough, but more than enough love to last a lifetime. You see, the sun still rises in the East and sets in the West. The moon still orbits the Earth, and the flowers still bloom and die with the seasons. It’s just another October: but your footprints won’t ever fade from the lives you touched.
“I will wait for you beneath the willows, when the stars dance across the sky. My sweet girl, my heart aches in your absence. How much I long to hold you. If my love alone could have saved you, you’d be here still. I’d trade my soul a thousand times to bring you back to Earth. I am so sorry, that we must love like this. Across the boundaries of space and time. But I promise you this: For as long as my heart continues to beat, I will carry you with me. Each day – until I hold you in my arms again. With so much love, Mama.