To quote John, "There's something especially cruel about going to buy flowers for your dead baby son's grave to celebrate the birth of his brother."
I wholeheartedly agree.
I'm sure I won't even begin to cover what is going on in my mind, nor what has been since Luke was born. There's just too much, and the emotions and feelings are just too complicated and intertwined for me to be able to do more than just get them out, much less be articulate in doing so. We figured that the attempt, at the very least, would give me more 'cry about it' opportunity, and there's not much more than that than we can think of me doing to work through it all.
I should preface by saying I feel a horrendous amount of guilt in these feelings. (I know, what's new?) Seriously, though, when I have this sweet little face to love on and hug on, I realize this might verge on the edge of whining and some who read may feel that I am not nearly as grateful as I should be....I just feel like there are some topics that are not really talked about--with regard to having a healthy, living and breathing child after one has lost a baby--like the fact that the world sort of seems to expect you to all of a sudden be so overjoyed with the blessing you have been given, you are magically healed of the hurt you've been going through up to this point.
Or, that the blessing of another child who so strongly resembles the child who died is also such a strong, strong reminder of what you'll never see grow in that lost little one.
Or, what you imagined you lost (because you never even got to hold him) in your first child just throbs inside of you and makes your heart hurt almost as much as it did when he died because you now know (sort of) the reality of what you lost and it's a million times worse than you've ever imagined. You realize you didn't even have a clue.
At least I didn't. I guess I figured that I'd lost more and more deeply than anyone, even John, because it was ME who carried Matthew...ME who kept him alive and felt every little kick and jab and knew his personality more than ANYONE ever could. I lost more than anyone, and I pretty much felt like there was nothing I could imagine that would be worse than my feelings.
I figured that all the lost hope and dreams were just about the worst thing I could ever imagine losing. No one but me could know those as intimately and with my perspective but me.
Until I was able to hold Luke. And feel what his soft little body felt like in my arms...what every inch of his skin feels like and not just his shoulder and cheek. Until I was able kiss him and tell him I loved him and know he heard me...to be able to tell him that I would take care of him and let nothing happen to him...to drink in the smell of his little neck and every nuance of every stretch he makes.
Until all of that...and so much more...I guess I just really had no idea of how much I could miss Matthew.
I just had no frame of reference, save my imagination, for what those things felt like...and how desperately, desperately, desperately I still want to be able to have those things with Matthew too.
I've cried more in the last few days over how much my heart hurts than I have in months. I told John it's sort of like I'm losing Matthew all over again--realizing now what joy there is in all that is Luke--and knowing it will not be with Matthew.
Dr. Polko, God LOVE her, said they'd been concerned this might be...especially with Luke looking so much like Matthew...and is keeping an eye on the PTSD aspect. Right now, we are still in the normal 'Baby Blues' stage--where it is completely appropriate to cry because the Target cashier tells you to "Have a nice day," just in response to all the hormones one has raging through.
There's certainly not a concern about postpartum depression right now either--Luke is the highlight of our day and I can't imagine functioning for any other reason right now but to tend to his every need and want. He is doted on, fussed over and loved upon pretty much from the time I open my eyes to the time I close them.
Dr. Polko was very adamant in differentiating PTSD from Baby Blues or Postpartum...and more where I am these days. I am constantly having flashbacks to the days we lost Matthew...more the day, I guess...and the pictures (all I have, really) that we have from that time. There are times when John is holding Luke that I will literally have to tell myself to breathe (sound familiar?) because the reality I am looking at so closely matches the pictures of John holding Matthew as he died...after Matthew died....I hold Luke and snuggle him and literally just cry thinking about what would happen to my heart if I had to give him back too. I can't imagine it.
And that then leads me to John...and how unbelievably difficult it must have been for John to have that with Matthew--a sweet, precious little miracle right there in his arms...and he had to watch him take his last breath.
And give him back to the nurses.
And leave him there.
I've always appreciated what John did that night for our son...but I never, ever could have imagined how hard that had to have been. In my most vivid of vivid imaginings, I couldn't come close.
Until now...and that's just barely....because the reality is that Luke is healthy and happy and fine. There is no reason to believe that he would be anything different, and so even though I now have a bit different perspective of just what John lost that night, it's still tempered with the joy I have in a sweet smile Luke gives, or a little wiggle he makes...John didn't even have that.
So....like I said, I am sure this doesn't even hit the surface of what I am trying to put words to, but it's something. I'm trying to sleep when Luke is sleeping, but again, flashbacks and heartache make it hard to sleep. Working on that...I'll go back in a week and see how things are and John and I will continue to see our grief counselor for a bit, especially since it seems there's a whole new dimension to grief we are now dealing with and which we never expected.
They tell you how healing a new baby is. They tell you how joy will fill your heart again. They tell you that there's nothing like God's grace in a newborn life with which you are entrusted.
That's all true.
They just don't tell you how all of that makes you realize, again and even more deeply, if possible, what you lost in that precious child you never get to raise.
And how much that hurts.
Still praising God for my boys...and so grateful for the love and prayers and support of so many. I finally got to look at my email and FB messages today...over 2400!! There's no way I can get to all of them, but here I can at least say how thankful for them we are. There's just something about knowing you are covered in prayers and good wishes and love that really lifts one up in an indescribable way. My cup runneth over.
Now...off to a bath. For Luke, that is. He liked it at the hospital so we'll see how it goes here!