6 months. 180 days. 26 weeks. Half a year.
That's how long it has been since I touched his soft skin and held him for the first time.
That's how long it has been since I first kissed him.
That's how long it has been since my heart was broken and scarred in ways that I could never imagine.
Today, 6 months ago, my life changed forever. On one hand it seems like an eternity. On the other, it feels like yesterday.
It was right about this time that I got the news he was no longer alive. His heartbeat had disappeared. I remember that moment as clearly as if it happened yesterday.
I was paralyzed, literally in shock. Dr. Joe was so kind to let me just lay on the table for over an hour, despite the fact that his waiting room was full of patients. Gib was pacing the room, trying to process, in shock himself. Trying to console me that I didn't do anything wrong. That this wasn't my fault. That I didn't cause this to happen. (I felt so responsible - and still do at times) We came home to deliver the heartbreaking news to our girls. Jessica was sad and in shock, but Emma Grace immediately cried out that she "didn't want Baby Grady to die". I shared in her desire, too.
Oh, how I wish he didn't die.
What does grief look like for me 6 months later? It is still so very painful and complicated.
I've come a long way, but there are definitely good and bad days. I was at a point a couple of months ago where the good days outnumbered the bad, but at this moment, it has gone the other way. The bad days outnumber the good.
I still grieve for him. Although now it's different. It's more inward grieving. Right after he died, people expected me to be sad. It was okay to openly shed tears and show my hurting heart. Now, I don't feel "allowed" or that I have "permission" to openly grieve. Because it has been 6 months, no one really wants to hear about him anymore (there are a few, and I am oh so thankful for them in my life!).
It is still therapeutic for me to talk about him and tell his story. I think that is one of the reasons that I continue to drive 50 miles one way to a support group once a month. The people there want to hear about him. Those people still care about his story and don't tire of hearing it. There are times when I'll be checking out at the grocery store or talking to someone who doesn't know about Grady, and I have to fight the urge to just say, "Did you know that I have a son who died?" Even though he died, I'm his proud momma, and I'd tell the world about him if I could.
Like I said in a previous post, Grady is "old news" to many. That makes me even more sad because he isn't "old news". He was a person who was, and still is, loved and missed very much. People don't become "old news". Their memory lives on in those who love them, and we do everything we can to keep that memory alive, wishing there were new memories to make.
I still have concentration issues and am easily sent into sensory overload. I didn't have this problem before he died and thought I was really losing it, going crazy, at first. Then, thank goodness, I read that these are symptoms of grief.
I still have a terribly hard time seeing baby boys.
I still have an especially hard time hearing a baby cry. I've gotten up and walked out before because I honestly feel as if I'm going to have a panic attack.
I still long for him.
I still sleep with his blue and white crochet blanket every night.
I still sit in his nursery and rock in the rocking chair with empty arms.
I still think about him almost everywhere I go, wondering, "Would I have him in the stroller, or the Baby B'jorn?", "Would I even be here right now?"
Six months is such a milestone for me. Not only is it half a year, but babies are starting to do so much at this age - sitting up (maybe with a little help still), sitting in a highchair with the family at meal time, enjoying the activity center while watching the family or Baby Einstein videos, eating baby foods, smiling and laughing, rolling over, etc. I miss not being able to see him do these things and so much more!
The 14th of every month is also hard for me because that is the day I was scheduled for my c-section. That is the day that he should turn a month older, if he had lived.
Despite how it all sounds, I am not stuck in my grief. I am moving forward. I have learned to live my life without his physical presence as part of it. I am able to live each day and enjoy and count my blessings. I am able to think about the future without him, but wishing it included him. I am able to use his life and death to help and impact others. I am able to live my life in productive ways, just with a broken heart, without him.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and introduce you to Grady in a whole new way. The pictures that I've shared on this blog have all been from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Gib took a few pictures of him with our camera. I'm going to post one of those pictures. Please keep in mind that he had been dead for probably 24 hours. He had a bruise on his cheek from the lack of blood flow and the way he was positioned inside of me. Despite his flaws, he's still beautiful to me. And check out those rosey red lips!!!
Dear Baby Grady,
I miss you with every breath I take! I wish you were here for me to hold and kiss and tell you how much I love you. You are my precious baby boy, and I long for the day that I get to hold you in Heaven. I am so thankful to be your mommy, the one chosen to carry you. I am so thankful to have the memories that I have of you, if only in my womb and shortly thereafter. When you died, you took a piece of my heart with you. I am glad that I'm still sad and missing you so much because that's the only way I can express my love for you here on this earth. Happy 6 Month Heavenly Birthday!!!
Love and hugs to Heaven!