As the weeks of summer have passed with the aching slowness of a heat wave, not a lot has changed since we lost our babies. I’m giving myself healing space – I’ve taken a hiatus from my coursework and stepped back from providing therapy. Writing here is healing. Being completely, utterly, bold-faced honest about each week is healing. But the healing is building only minutely. For every second that I feel confidently up is another second that I am devastatingly down.
This week has felt largely emotional. I think for multiple reasons the waves of grief have crashed over me and I have felt the weight of it in my bones. I spent weeks laughing and forcing myself into life’s moments; weeks choosing to show the joy my sweet twins should be known for, instead of the pain caused by their absence. This is still my goal, to live in a way that proves their light … but this week my pain, my heartache, my longing has filled every pore of my body. My eyes have been leaking non-stop. The salty tears fall around the corners of my down turned mouth. My contacts are so blurred with salt deposits that the world looks as foggy as it feels. But I accept this – crying is as much a part of my humanity as laughing is.
Today marks 16 weeks since my sweet babies left this earth. It also marks 16 weeks since they entered the earth. Baby loss is a unique loss because it intertwines the experience of new life so closely with the experience of death. I think all losses have component of realizing the importance of life – the delicate balance of your heartache with what your heart loves. Grief will always be a balance of pain and honoring their life by living ours. Baby loss just intensifies this notion because pregnancy is full of new life promises, full of planning and dreams and growing life.
Losing my infants has made me hyper aware of how deeply a heart can love. Becoming a mother changed me. My heart expanded in ways I did not know were fathomable. I am learning how to understand that and also comprehend the intense pain of having it taken away as soon as it arrived. The depth of my grief is slowly chasing down the depth of my love. But I will always love them more than I am pained by their loss. That feels like an absolute truth.
Tomorrow will be the doubling point of the length of my pregnancy. I find it difficult to breathe when I think about this. Their existence was short ‘in the scheme of things.’ In the big picture of life, we were only given the joy of them for mere moments. But I’ve learned something about love … it doesn’t care. Love doesn’t care how long you have known someone. Love doesn’t create depth based on familiarity alone. The kind of love you feel for your child - when you look down at their tiny nose, their little feet, their precious fingers wrapped around the tip of yours - the love you feel then is shaped by so much awe that it sends roots immediately down through your core. Finnian and Maisie are deeply rooted in my soul. I feel so much love I could burst.
And yet in a couple days I will have lived their loss longer than I lived their life.
This fact alone has convinced me of one thing:
Time does not erase the pain as much as it doesn’t not determine the amount of love we have for each other. Time is merely a marker between our last goodbye and our hopeful next hello. Time will breed familiarity with the feeling of their absence … so that we become better acquainted with living in a world without them. I’ve learned that in other losses. That’s the only “better” there might be.
Love does not care about time as much as time does not control how and if and when I feel anything, for better or worse. My love for those two humans, my love for Finnian and Maisie, is infinite. It is without the bounds of time. 16 weeks is meaningless in recounting the lifetime that I will spend loving them, even without the gift of holding them or seeing their faces light up, or attending their school functions, or watching them fall in love, or kissing the cheeks of their future children. My babies will never have those things… but I will love them with the same intensity as though we had experienced it all together.
Throughout my pregnancy I sang them the chorus from the Dixie Chick’s song, Lullaby. I’d walk around with a hand on my belly singing. When they were born, I held them in my arms and sang this song to them over and over; until I kissed their little foreheads goodbye. And we engraved this lyric on the box that holds their remains:
“How long do you wanna be loved,
is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up. “
I am forever their mommy and they are forever mine.
Grief is big. Love is bigger.
And right now, that’s the only thing I am really, truly sure of.
Hi, I'm Tiffany. I believe in the power of stories to connect us to each other. I write about life after loss and all the love, longing, and learning that comes from it. Grief is big, love is bigger. My newest stories are about motherhood (after both infertility and loss). In my experience, love doesn't get bigger than motherhood.
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