Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My New 'Normal'

I frequent a dead baby forum for grieving parents. It has been a refuge and a lifeline for me these past many months. Many of you baby loss mamas (and papas) reading my blog know of what I am writing. Those of you who read this and haven't lost children, consider yourselves blessed beyond words to not need to know about a site like the one I am describing. However, if you're a mama reading my blog and you are missing your baby like only a mama can miss the child she buried and you don't have an online refuge like this send me a message and I'll email you the address privately.

 No matter how I can laugh with you there is always a part of me that is grieving. You will never have my full attention again. I don't know if this will ever go away and if I will ever be completely joyful again. I don't think so. Despite the fact that I do believe that the joy of the Lord is my strength. In fact I am joyful in the Lord.  He is my strength, even with the tears that fall every day. I do have glimmers of joy in my day, in my life. I rejoice in so much but, no matter what, there is always that little sad spot that misses Eva (okay, big sad spot that misses Eva). I'm not going to get into how much I miss've all read it before. It hasn't changed. I still miss her. With every breath. With every heartbeat.

Back to the dead baby forum. One of the mamas there posted the note below. It spoke to me in many, many ways.

My New 'Normal'

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family’s life.
Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind.
Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.
Normal is staring at every baby who looks like she is my baby’s age. And then thinking of the age she would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.
Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my “normal”.
Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child’s memory and her birthday and survive these days.
Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special that my daughter would have loved, but how she is not here to enjoy it.
Normal is having some people afraid to mention my child.
Normal is making sure that others remember her.
Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you – it doesn’t compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unbelievable.
Normal is trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.
Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.
Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of  their child.
Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have four children or three, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have three children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.
Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.
(I want to add here that I know one day I will get over this loss. The day I die. The day I go to heaven and behold my beautiful Eva again.)
And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are “normal”.
-Author Unknown   

Tell me...what is 'Normal' for you?


  1. Thank you for posting this, Em. I relate to all of these things. All so, so tragically true.

    I'm not sure, though, what "normal" is for me. Everything still feels so abnormal, like I'm stuck in some alien world or maybe The Twilight Zone. The universe has a weird bend and wobble to it now. Will I ever accept it? Will I ever get used to it? I don't know.

    I'm very glad that your spiritual beliefs provide you with strength and joy, and I hope they continue to do so.

    Sending love. xo

    1. I totally understand "like I'm stuck in some alien world or maybe The Twilight Zone. The universe has a weird bend and wobble to it now."
      For me, it's like being thrust into a Dali painting, where clocks melt and the landscape is just not quite real. . .

  2. Normal is being able to feel the hole in my heart with every inhale and every exhale. Like there is a wall, or a window, inside of me that Nathaniel went through, and shattered. In the first few months, it felt like the hole was so bloody, raw, and new. Now the periphery is healing, but the hole is still there. Some days it howls. Some days it's like lead. Some days it holds the rocking up and down of the high seas. Other days there is a lightness, and airiness. I don't know if it's a burden or a gift, but it's there. I miss him.

  3. For me.....
    Normal is getting to the place where tears won't come anymore and that hurts even worse because then there is no release from the pain.
    Normal is choosing not to relive the day my son died but instead focusing on the joy he brought to our lives during the time he was alive.
    Normal is marveling at the miracle God performed in my heart through my sons's short life.
    Normal is feeling like a huge part of you will always be missing and then living long enough to realize that the gaping hole can actually be healed by God.
    Normal is *still* not knowing if I should tell people that I have three or four children. (Sometimes I say four and sometimes I say three. It depends if I feel like explaining.)
    Normal is waking up one morning and realizing in astonishment that I am healing and that I can think about my son without pain.
    Normal is cherishing my family and friends more than ever because I've seen how fragile life is and I never know how long I'll have someone here on earth.
    Normal is realizing that although someone who hasn't lost a child can never understand me they can still bring me comfort if I'm willing to accept it.
    Normal is understanding that grief has no rules. (Circumstances that I think will hurt sometimes don't and circumstances that I don't think will hurt sometimes do.)
    Normal is getting to the place where it doesn't hurt to share about your child's death. In fact, it's actually wonderful because you finally get to talk about him again.
    Normal is realizing that people don't always remember your dead child but it's okay. It becomes a beautiful thing between you and your husband and God.
    Normal is getting to the place where you can celebrate the time you had with your child rather than the time you didn't have.
    Normal is seeing beauty rise when all there should be is a pile of ashes.
    Normal is feeling the arms of God in a way you never would have if your child had lived.
    Normal is going on to live a life full of joy because God has performed a miracle and healed the place you didn't believe could be healed.
    Normal is always changing. Normal is different at one month, at six months, at two years. Normal is different for every person. Two years and nine months later...this is my new normal.

  4. Fawne, This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wow - this one is out of your list but feels really sadly glad that someone found a way to put it into words..

    Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my “normal”.

    Sigh - how I wish living without our child wasn't normal.