Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grief - My Constant Companion

I came across this quote and it struck a chord with me:

No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.

I truly feel that I have been in a constant state of grief for well over a decade now. Not a day goes by that I don't think about and miss my parents.  My mother and I were extremely close and I would give anything to be able to confide in her and seek her advice and guidance, especially now that I'm a mother myself.  I miss her smile and her laugh and the smell of her perfume. I ache to feel her arms around me and to hear her voice. My father and I didn't have the best relationship while I was younger but we did grow closer the last few years before he passed.  I miss his sense of humor and the way he labeled and described things.  He had a language all his own. Vin, who was more like a father to me than an uncle, was my mentor.  I miss hearing him tell stories, sing silly songs or tell goofy jokes.  He was very wise and he wasn't afraid to tell it like is was, political correctness be damned. While I miss them each and every day, I have more or less accepted their deaths.  Having your parents pass before you is the natural order of things. I wish I could have had MUCH more time with each of them, but I have a lot of memories to keep them close. Unfortunately, memories can't console all types of grief.

I've also suffered from grief concerning fertility and pregnancy. When you are faced with fertility issues, you are forced to accept the fact that your dreams for a family may not ever be realized. You also forfeit your privacy once you start treatment. Not only are you poked and prodded constantly by doctors and nurses, but anyone who knows that you are struggling to start a family constantly asks you how things are going.  Some are much more supportive than others when you struggle for as long as we did; however, I heard countless times from various people, "Maybe you're not meant to have children."  For anyone who has suffered infertility, those words cut like a knife. When you want so badly to have a child and watch him/her grow, you are willing to do anything to make it a reality. Thankfully we were able to keep fighting and we ultimately won the battle; however, that victory came with a price. I was naive in thinking our biggest obstacle was conceiving.  I envy those women who are able to enjoy their pregnancies.  They get to focus on things like decorating the nursery, baby showers, maternity pictures, packing a hospital bag and picking out the outfit their newborn will come home in.  I wasn't able to experience any of those things during my pregnancy.  That grief is mild though compared to what it's like when you lose your child.

I miss Madelynn every second of every day. I try to hold on to the memories that I have of her but unfortunately, there aren't that many.  Three months was just not enough time. The only memories we have are of her hooked up to machines with tubes and wires everywhere. We didn't get to see her smile or hear her laugh. We didn't get to see her first step or hear her first word. We'll never know the little details like her favorite color or her favorite flavor of ice cream or whether or not she would have played with Barbies or preferred to play with Mason's cars instead. We'll never get to watch her grow into a woman, or choose a career, or get married. Shane will never get to walk her down the isle.  We will forever be left with empty arms and broken dreams.

While we are blessed beyond measure to be able to watch Mason grow, our dreams for him have also been shattered. Not only was he robbed of his twin, but of a typical childhood as well.  The reality is that he won't have the same experiences as his neurotypical peers. He doesn't have the same interests as they do, and as a result he is often excluded.  It breaks my heart to see him always on the outside looking in.  Every day we worry about his future and whether or not he will be able to live independently.  We struggle with the decisions we have to make on his behalf, especially those concerning his education.  We are so afraid of failing him again.  Each time a new obstacle presents itself, we grieve for what should have been.

In our case, time does not heal all wounds. The pain and heartache does not fade away. The life we had envisioned for our family will never be a reality.  Grief is simply a part of our every day lives and will likely remain so until we take our last breath.

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