I never thought I’d be one of those moms who only visits the cemetery every once in a while, but that’s who I am now. And I never judged those moms before, I just thought I would be different. Going to her grave was comforting. Visiting made me feel close to her. I didn’t think that would ever change.
But grief has different seasons.
Before Noah was born, I stressed about how I was going to fit those two parts of my life together – living life without my firstborn and mommy to a newborn. How am I supposed to have a place in my heart for unimaginable pain and absolute joy? How am I supposed to balance exhausting grief that seems to take all of my energy and loving and taking care of this sweet new life who needs the best of me? I never doubted that there wouldn’t be enough love to share between the two, just whether I would have the energy to give each of them what they deserve.
And then Noah was born early.
I spent the next few days after his birth thinking more and more about him and less and less about her. Even though it was the anniversary of her death and her first birthday. I didn’t have the energy to process everything and worry about Noah and think about her. My mind just focused on Noah and getting him healthy and home. I didn’t even make a conscious choice…it just happened. Having a baby in the NICU is exhausting. I felt like already I was choosing Noah over Hannah, and I felt like a horrible mom.
And the days have turned into weeks and months.
All this time I’ve been afraid that I’m not grieving her anymore. Not true. Not even possible. My grief has just changed. The all day, every day crying is gone for now. There are some days I don’t cry at all. But it doesn’t mean that I’m done grieving her or that I’ve squared all this in my soul and I’m ready to ‘move on’. I hate that phrase. If I live to be 100, I still won’t have moved on.
So that’s where I am now.
Noah is 6 months old and Hannah would have been 18 months on Tuesday. As I watch his personality develop, I find myself more than ever imagining what she would be like and look like. I try to find similarities between them, but I’ll never really know for sure. I don’t even know what color her eyes are, but I will soon.
I’m in between.
In between savoring every single second I get to spend on this earth with my precious family and longing for when I get to Heaven and am able to spend an eternity getting to know her.