I am taking part in Carly Marie's Capture Your Grief photo challenge again and this day got me. I remember doing this last year and how in an unexpected way, it really triggered some emotions and memories and helped me get through another part of the grieving process. It was a lot more thought-provoking than I had anticipated and stirred up some emotions that I had not felt for a long time. It was also hard to go through the pictures on her page and see so many moms and dads early on in their journey going through some raw and fresh pain. It was a therapeutic experience in many ways for me and for this reason I decided to do it again this October. You'd think that after four and a half years, things would either be buried deep enough or the grief would subside quite a bit but this is not true. Losing a child is something we take to our graves and those emotions are always there and reachable, if we chose to make them. And the therapeutic part about it is that when you reach those emotions again, your loss feels that much closer. They are older now, but you feel them, the loss of them, and how much you love them all over again, and even though it's painful, it's fresh.
The photo for day 5 is your strongest memory of your child, whether it's good or bad, what you remember most of him. I thought about this and all kinds of memories came back to me like a huge tidal wave. Emotions flooded me and the pain felt raw again. My mind went to places I don't let it go often. Those memories hurt. I remembered the moment the doctor lost the heartbeat and what I was feeling as commotion set in place and panic and fear sort of eluded me. Patric was there by my side and I thought of what he must have been feeling to see me get wheeled into the operating room and the chaos that surounded that short but hurried trip from my laboring room. I can't imagine what he felt as he watched from the hall window and heard me screaming and moaning as the first incisions took place. This is a very vivid memory of mine but one I don't talk about or think about very often. The doctor always told me that I would remember more of the surgery as time passed but that wasn't true. All my memories of that night are the same ones I woke up with as soon as I came out of recovery. I tried very hard to keep a level of conciousness and awareness throughout all of that so everything that I remember is burned into my brain with extreme clarity and detail. I can't get it out of my brain. But I can control when those thoughts come about. And last night they all came back.
I remembered asking to see Chase and them bringing him into my room before they life flighted him to Albuquerque. I will never ever forget the image of him--his eyes open and aware. Then when the doctor came into my room in Abq and gave me the whole status update....I was in a state of shock. I don't know how I operated. And meeting Patric in the NICU the first time, seeing Chase at the same time together...And those hours and days that ensued....
These memories are all I have of my son. Nothing is happy about them. They are very dark and painful. A whirlwind that we were in as our world as we knew it shattered. Right before our eyes. Since those days, we have done several things to remember our Chase. We visit his grave and we take balloons to the mountains and we write him letters and sometimes we even buy him things. But most importantly, we talk about him all the time. We talk to him and we love him. We feel his spirit and his love and he knows we love him. These memories we create are just as important as the ones we have with him. We try to make them happy as best we can but there will always be a hint of sadness around, no matter how much time passes. And last night I felt this sadness in full force. In an emotional, therapeutic breakdown. The kind of breakdown that gets it all out and you feel exhausted afterwards. This is what keeps me going. This is how I do it. I do my best to honor my son and to mother him in any way that I know or feel is right. Mostly I carry him with me, though. As I will til the day I die.