Just when it seems that life is moving forward smoothly, and my days are filled with the wonder and joy of my dear rainbow, something out of left field comes careening in and wrecks me. About a week ago, my little guy was standing at the end of our sofa, drooling and being his cute self. He turned around and walked about five steps toward our back door as if he did it every day of his life! I was standing approximately a foot to a foot and a half from him, and all I could do was scream out, “O my goodness!” followed by a series of sobs and free-flowing tears. My little boy, the infant I swaddled only a few months ago, it seems, the sunshine of my life took his first steps on his own! And while there is no greater joy than witnessing these amazing milestones, there is also such anguish for the loss parent. His brother never got to take his first steps here on earth. His brother will never do the wondrous and life-changing things Homer is preparing himself to experience. It is heart-breaking to be an excited, doting mommy to a precocious almost-one-year-old, and an angel-baby at the same time. Yes, I missed out on Rowan walking for the first time (or doing anything for the first time), but even more heart-wrenching than that, Rowan missed out on walking for the first time. This is what wrecks me. He missed out on the good there is in the world, the joy, the day to day, the all-encompassing experience that is life. And while I obviously mourn what I have lost as his mother, which is immeasurable, I mourn what he has missed, as well.
Luckily, I get to love on this beautiful, angelic face each and every day! He is my saving grace when those curve balls come a little too close for comfort. My prayer is that Homer knows how much joy he brings in just being. I pray he will always know. I pray my firstborn knows how much he is missed and cherished, too.
Have you had any experiences or moments in parenting after loss that have brought you similar anguish? What coping strategies have you used to work through them? I’d appreciate hearing your experiences!