Right Where I Am: 3 months, 2 weeks, 1 day

I’ve seen posts written by other people for this project. I decided to join in.

Today is not an ‘anniversary’ of anything. It’s been three months, two weeks and one day since we found out Innocent died. He died sometime in the preceding week, but we don’t know exactly when. Part of me can’t believe it’s been that long. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. It’s like a very narrow but infinitely deep chasm separating March 30th and March 31st.

I’ll go hours without thinking about it and then something will trigger a memory. A memory of looking down at my swelling stomach. A memory of how much I disliked chocolate while I was pregnant with him. I’ll look at my hand and try to remember exactly how he felt in it. How much he weighed. I remember how warm he was right after he was born, and how cold he was later when I held him next. I wish so much that I had taken twice as many pictures. That I had kissed him. That I had, silly as it may have looked, wrapped him in sequentially larger blankets until I was able to rock him.

Life does go on, but I’m realizing that there is a part of me that will never change. Raw, gaping wounds heal, but they leave visible scars. If you lose one of your fingers, the tissue will eventually heal, but the finger will never grow back. The loss of Innocent is palpable. He is intertwined with everything. Looking at a calendar to plan a retreat and there I am left staring at September 30th, his official due date. Turn the page and (sickening jolt) there’s October 6th, both my birthday, and what I had hoped would be his – and the feast of St. Innocent. I will never forget, nor will I be able to separate the two.

I still haven’t put his scrapbook together. I have everything in a plain file folder in the filing cabinet. Such a cold place. Maybe I’ll make it a goal to have his scrapbook done by his due date.

When I talk about him to anyone, I talk about him as I would any of my children. He is my child. Should we ever have another child, that child would be number 7, not number 6. It’s such a relief when I am with someone with whom I can speak freely. That is rarely the case. People don’t want to hear about your dead baby. I look back and wonder if I was sensitive to that when confronted with it in the past. I hope so. I weep for the people I must have inadvertently wounded along the way. Lord have mercy.

To anyone who is new to grief, I don’t know what I would say. Probably, “I’m sorry. Tell me about your child. What is his name?” I wouldn’t hasten to try to “fix it” by pasting a clumsy verbal bandaid over the gaping wound. I wouldn’t ignore it. I wouldn’t walk away. It’s hard to be with someone in their grief. If you ever have that opportunity, don’t walk away. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” [Rom. 12:5] Yes, it does get better, but that light at the end of the tunnel is mostly obscured by twists and turns. Travel with the person past those twists and turns until they can see the light for themselves.

I can see the light, but it’s faint and I’m still stumbling. Now I know that light is the Kingdom of Heaven and I will continue to stumble until I’ve stumbled right out of this life. May God grant that when I fall the last time, I fall into his arms.

(taken 2 1/2 months ago, Pascha)

21 thoughts on “Right Where I Am: 3 months, 2 weeks, 1 day

  1. Hugs. I've not had the chance to be a Mom since I am unmarried but knowing Mothers who have lost children through miscarriage, I know that there is real grief and loss involved. Praying for you.


  2. “I can see the light, but it's faint and I'm still stumbling. Now I know that light is the Kingdom of Heaven and I will continue to stumble until I've stumbled right out of this life. May God grant that when I fall the last time, I fall into his arms.”


    Lord have mercy…

    Words cannot heal these kind of wounds – unless they are woven into a tapestry of prayer… I'm praying with you Anna…


  3. Thank you for this posting… It seems we are rather equal in our greiving-time. The 30th of March I found out my boy had passed. Two days later he was born into my hands. And I'm fighting, striving, loving my way into hope and future…


  4. FC, I'm sorry you lost your son. To keep living is sometimes the hardest thing you can do. You have probably had a much harder time considering that he was your first (God willing, not *only*) child and the difficulty you had in getting to that point. (((hugs)))

    [I don't know if you would find it helpful at all, but you might consider visiting my other site, Lost Innocents, linked on the sidebar.]


  5. ((HUGS)) Matushka. While I don't remember my Constantine as often as I think I should—and we've had SO much happen in between his passing and now, so I see why—my kids still talk about him. Sometimes I'm surprised by the memory that John is my fourth. I'm a mother of four already! And of course, I wonder if it will happen again. Was I pregnant too soon with Constantine? Was it that my body couldn't handle nursing two and a pregnancy? (Never mind that I was pregnant with John while nursing two and he came out an extremely healthy 9lbs 13oz!)

    And then even though I have experienced this loss, I still find myself tongue-tied when it comes to other kinds of loss. While I know not to say anything superficial, the impulse remains! And instead I say nothing and hope that the long hug conveys the sentiment that I do not have words for….

    Memory Eternal, Little Innocent!


  6. I am sorry that Innocent died. What a beautiful name.

    This touched me: “Yes, it does get better, but that light at the end of the tunnel is mostly obscured by twists and turns. Travel with the person past those twists and turns until they can see the light for themselves.”

    We are very bad in our society, I think, at simply abiding with those who hurt. Fewer than I hoped were able to achieve that for me when my baby girl died.


  7. Fireflyforever, thank you. I'm so sorry about your lost children, especially your daughter. Yes, I think we try very hard in this society to avoid death, pain, hurt, sadness, etc. As I said, one of the hardest things is just to BE with the person who is grieving. It takes a lot of strength.


  8. I just want to tell you how beautiful you are. Every time I visit your blog I am blown away by your candidness. There is such honesty in your emotions and I admire you for sharing them the way you do. There is a rawness about the way you write that I love and I find is so refreshing!
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful person you are!
    Alicia Malara


  9. Thank you, Alicia. I said a long time ago that I was going to be honest (while avoiding scandal) in writing, especially about Innocent. Why would I wish to hide him? He was my precious son. It doesn't help anyone who is new to grief to feel that they are the only one struggling. Many people have written that reading what I wrote about Innocent has helped them. Glory to God.


  10. Matushka Anna, thank you for this sweet post. My sister miscarried on the feast of the birth of the Theotokos last year, and I got to be with her through it.


  11. Hello Alicia, I am looking for an acquaintance with your name, though I don't know if it is the same spelling. The person I'm looking for I knew as Sr. Monegunde when I was at a girl's school in Forestville, CA (I went by Sr. Maria at the time). Does this happen to be you?
    Kaitlin Weisman


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