Sunday, December 11, 2016

Grief Wears Many Faces

Had she lived, our daughter would have turned thirteen on December 9th.  I'm sure we would have celebrated such an auspicious occasion with a party, since it's not every day that a child becomes an actual teenager.  There would have been cake, of course.  And many hugs, kisses, and joyful tears. 

But Zoe did not live.  She died before she was ready to be born, and she only lives in our memories and some sonogram pictures these days.  For many years, December was a horrible, horrible month for me.  The weight of unbearable grief, on top of my usual seasonal depression, would pull me into a dark place starting December 1st.  It was a fight just to get out of bed, and sometimes I just called that a victory.  It was even difficult, especially before I had Zane, to see a pregnant woman and not just break on the spot.

Even if my battle is all inside my heart, I'm a fighter.  In the years since, I've pushed and pulled my self out of the darkness every December, because the alternative was not an option for me. And in my inner battles, something happened. Slowly, the face of my grief has changed, melded and molded by time, into something else.

This year marks the first time in thirteen years that I haven't dreaded December 9th.  Instead of feeling a fist squeezed around my heart, choking me with grief, this year I acknowledged her passing with a quiet moment of love, sent out into the world, a prayer whispered into the wind.   My grief has become...bearable, at least for now. Maybe for awhile, maybe not.

A mother never truly gets over the loss of a child, no matter the circumstances. The bonds that join us are never broken, only changed.   People want to think that grief is a finite experience, with a beginning and an end after a particular time period.  It's not.  Grief wears many faces, and lasts forever, and you never know how it will show up, or when. 

On this day, I am grateful for that.


  1. So true that you never lose grief. It just changes into hopefully a less painful form.

    I'm glad to know yours have morphed into a more hopeful form. Cheers kid.


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