In the days that we lost our son there are certain things that are singed into my memory, into my very core. One of those things I remember so clearly is sitting in my car in front of my doctors office. I had just heard our son died and was staring at your name in my phone. I was about to set off a bomb. It rang, you said, “Hello,” and I could barely breathe.
I’m not sure how, but you stayed calm as I tried to get the sentence out.
You stayed calm again when we met at the hospital. We grabbed hands in the hall and without saying a word went up to labor and delivery.
You stayed calm while we played cards and I cried in pain from contractions and heartbreak.
You stayed calm when we held our beautiful son.
You. Stayed. Calm.
In the days that followed, when all I could do was sit and stare at the walls in silence, you made it OK. You would get me to shower, get me to eat, get me to talk. In the weeks that followed, when life seemed to go back to normal for everyone but me, you let me cry. You even let me laugh. You lifted me quite literally out of the darkest moments of my life. You stayed calm.
I have to admit something horrible. I am so sorry. I had forgotten that it was the darkest moments of your life too.
I was too consumed in my grief to see yours. To realize that you had pulled yourself out. You made sure you also showered, ate, and talked. You fathered our four-year-old son. You printed pictures of our beautiful lost son. You went to work and carried the loads of our life. You were constantly asked how your wife was doing, without ever being asked how YOU were. You spoke to our neighbors, friends, family – when I couldn’t. You were my shield from the outside world. You were my air that I needed to breathe. Your quiet strength was the only thing holding us together. You asked for nothing in return. You did this all when you were as broken as me.
In the months that followed losing our son I begged to try again. You weren’t ready. In retrospect, neither of us were. But you agreed anyway. You comforted me with every negative test. You kept telling me it would be OK even though I’m not sure you believed it. When we finally got that positive you jumped up and down with excitement. You weren’t calm then – but that’s OK.
It’s been five months since we got that positive. Nine months since we lost our son.
This pregnancy has been terrifying. Complicated emotions swinging in every direction. Grief, guilt, joy, sadness, happiness, fear, excitement, anger. The closer we get to meeting our rainbow, the bigger each of those emotions become. We may bubble up on the surface and appear as a mess. We may yell. We may bounce it all off each other. We may completely lose it. But under this all the only thing keeping it together when the seas are their roughest. You. You stay calm.
I try hard in my moments to let your calmness take a hold of me.
I repeat things you say to me when I can’t find her heartbeat on our Doppler right away. I curl up next to your warmth when another panic attack has woken me up in the night. I read and reread a message you send to me as if its a new mantra. I lean on you time and time again and you are always there. Though you may not be feeling it, and maybe you never did.… you stay calm. You stay calm for me, for us, and for our three beautiful children.
In just a few months our beautiful rainbow girl will be born. I’m not sure how it will go or what will happen but I do know one thing – If I have you next to me, It will all be OK. Maybe this time, I’ll stay calm too.
Too many times the dad is overlooked. By friends, family, people in our life with good intentions. But also, too many times I have been the one overlooking you. So I just wanted to say – to you and to all of the other dads: You are loved. You are important. You are an amazing father to all of our children. To say thank you will never be enough. I love you.