I have been wanting to write about the few weeks following Grey’s passing, since I am writing this blog a little over a year from that time, I find it hard to remember what happened. I also realized that wanting to write in chronological order has made this post delayed as I don’t want to think back to those weeks. This I can say- the immediate after was utter devastation, confusion, shame and crying harder than I ever have, rivers of tears for hours on end. I tried to be strong for my husband and for our family that came over to comfort us. Someone would see that I needed a break and I would get taken for a drive or go on a walk and I would let my strength go and cry (wail really) and ask why? Over and over again, why? Our pastor came over to the house to plan Grey’s service and I told him that could literally feel my broken heart. An aching pain at the depths of my soul.
Our families, friends, co-workers and strangers rallied to comfort us and let me tell you, supporting a parent who has lost their child is so important. No one knows what to say, I don’t even know what to say, the most eloquent words I could come up with was/is usually string of curse words. One thing that is so important is simply, be present. Those that were around me could see my pain and I could see their hurt for me in their eyes, we were all aching together. I am so thankful to have the support of our friends and family because waking up every day –well, sometimes felt impossible.
I went on a search for answers. I visited my doctor, was there something that I missed? Was Grey sick and I didn’t see it? I was in communication with the investigators, a full investigation was conducted by the police and medical examiner. Did the babysitter do something to Grey? Was he sleeping safely? Was something covering his face, did he roll over? Did I put him in daycare too soon? This is my fault, I thought, I am supposed to protect my son. Who out there in the world has lost their baby? Why, why, why? I began scouring the internet to find similar stories and I, unfortunately, became a part of a community no one wants to be a member in. I got connected with local loss mom’s and started seeing my counselor regularly. Talking with other loss mom’s gave me great comfort and I became close to one who lives in Seattle. A very knowledgable lady who provided me with information about SIDS and research that is being done to help discover why babies go to sleep and not wake up (more about what I have learned in a later post).
I didn’t want to plan my son’s service. In fact, I was having the hardest time making any decisions. I am the type of person who will start cleaning to think. I was in the middle of deep cleaning our bathroom and I stopped in the middle of it, “what the hell are you doing?” I called my mother-in-law and asked her what I should be doing and she laid it out for me. I then changed my thinking, I don’t get to plan my son’s first birthday, this will be the biggest event I get to plan for him and I want to do it right. I want to throw him an event that he would be proud of – to honor him and show him how much mommy and daddy love him. Looking back, Stacy and I were happy with how it turned out.
I was told to; take care of yourself, get good sleep, drink lots of water and remember to eat. Losing a child is incredibly taxing on your body and soul. The grief manifests itself deep inside and I absolutely felt it physically – I still do. Stacy and I went out of town after Grey’s service, just to get away and have a change of scenery. We would be both going back to work when we returned and it turned out to be a good way for us to connect as a couple before getting back to our regular routine. If you are a loss parent who is reading this post I would give the advice that was given to me, take care of yourself. Be kind to your spouse or partner, lean on those that are close to you and remember that you are loved.