Many people have asked me about the girls and my husband. While this blog is mainly about my journey with grief, they are an integral part of it. They are helping me to get up in the morning and face life without James.
When James died, I was lying in our bed, sobbing. Jim came into the room, and he looked at me quietly. Tears were running down his face. He then said, “as hard as this is for me, I have a feeling that for you, it must be even harder.” It touched me that in the midst of his grief, of missing his namesake, his sweet baby boy, he stopped to acknowledge my grief and give it more weight than his own (though grief is the same weight for everyone).
He has continued to be supportive – getting up with the girls on mornings when I’ve slept terribly, shuttling them to school so that I don’t have to get up at 7am and face others at my absolute worst, always offering to take care of me in whatever way I need. I hope that I am doing the same for him, but I have my doubts sometimes.
The girls continue to process grief in their own way.
Hazel randomly mentions that our baby died. She also wants a new baby, as well as a new dog. I think this is her way of saying that she misses both of them. She is also very concerned about James’s physical needs – milk, diapers, clean clothes. She frequently says that we need to dig him up to take care of these things. Her biggest concern however is that we take James with us if we go somewhere. At some point, Jim or I explained to her that James would come with us if we ever moved to another house. She has taken this to mean that if we go somewhere, he’ll come, as well. She seems obsessed with taking him to the “beach house.”
This past summer, we spent a week with Dee and Alison in a beach house. It was about 1 month before we got the diagnosis of trisomy 18 but after we knew that he was growth restricted. Despite this cloud hanging over us, we had a really good vacation. Hazel had a great time and talks about the “beach house” frequently. I think it’s a very strong, happy memory for her, and she wants to share it with James. It touches my heart that she thinks about James and her happiest memory. She was a very doting, sweet big sister to him.
Evaline’s concerns about James’s loss seem to center more on the possible loss of anyone she loves. She has asked me if Grandaddy will die before she grows up, as well as if one of us will die. I mistakenly used the term “brokenhearted” to explain why I was crying one day. She must have mulled this term over for a bit because about 2 days later, she came to me for clarification. She wanted to make sure that when I said “broken” in regards to my heart, I meant that I was sad and not that my heart was actually “broken”- like James’s.
If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t get up in the morning. They still make me smile so much. Evaline wanted me to bring her make-up back from New York City. Today, she applied it to Hazel, daddy, and mommy. Hazel wanted to sit in my lap and read books. She also informed me that she never wants a hair cut. She wants her hair to grow as long as Rapunzel’s so that she can wrap it around a tree(?).
They make me smile every day, even through the pain. They make me laugh. When they smile, I see James. I remember that he is part of them and they are part of him forever, so we can never truly be apart.
Mommy loves you, sweet boy.