Life: constantly changing, constantly moving, constantly growing.
I have seen this a lot this summer.
It has been three weeks since I last wrote, I haven’t been able to find any words to fully describe what I’m feeling because I am feeling fine.
I have been constantly changing, moving and growing.
And I am fine.
When you are feeling okay after just losing a child and others surrounding you are not yet feeling that, you almost feel guilty or like somethings wrong with you. You wonder if something worse is yet to come, if a tsunami of emotions is soon to hit you and it may.
All you want is to be…ok.
And when you are, it feels weird.
I will tell you this, grief is weird but you learn a lot about yourself and the people surrounding you throughout the journey.
I have learned that people stare, gawk and scrutinize your capabilities. People wonder if you are okay, they wonder if you are coping, they wonder if you are adequately caring for your live child, husband and responsibilities. People judge you for staying home and they judge you for letting loose in public. It doesn’t matter what your situation, lifestyle or current state is… people get involved and make you their project.
The things I have learned about people throughout this grief journey are; you have to tell people straight up, you have to cope the way you are meant to, you have to grieve the way you are meant to and you have to journey through this new-found path you didn’t ask to be on… in a way your heart intends you to without worrying about the scrutiny that will come your way.
CRY, LAUGH, DANCE, DRINK, MELT DOWN, SWEAT, DO NOTHING.
Just do you whatever the fuck you want.
I haven’t meant to be absent from this space but have felt the need to keep my opinions and feelings to myself for further fear of judgement and scrutiny.
This is all: Don’t mistake my kindness, normality or willingness to be assent for weakness. I am kind to everyone and put my heart on my sleeve always but when you scrutinize my life or how myself or my family are coping… kind is not what you are going to remember about me.
(maybe I’m in the anger stage of grieving….well here it is.)
That is all.
If you have been truly wondering and concerned about how we have been doing, here is some of our summer.
And it has been FINE.
Happy four months tomorrow Sweet Willa Hain <3, we love you and have not forgotten.
A few short months ago I wrote a letter to my baby.
A letter to my first-born about how I felt guilty that our time with her as an only child was going to be cut short.
Explaining our love for her, in hopes that one day when she was old enough that she would read it and not totally detest her little sister, but instead feel the love, compassion and hopes that we had both for her and her little sissy.
I remember writing about my guilt, nervousness and about how scared I was to have two under two.
I wrote about the changes that were happening in our house, about my growing belly and how the room on my lap had become smaller with her growing sissy inside of me.
The week before we lost Willa, Oak and I went to our doctors appointment alone, she loved hearing sissies heartbeat on the doppler and loved all of the attention she got at the clinic.
She loved “helping me” get everything ready for her baby.
I read a quote today that tore me.
~Ernest Hemingway once won a bet by crafting a six-word short story that can make people cry.
Here it is: “for sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
I once worried about explaining to Oak where babies come from, why we had to pick up her small toys, why Willa couldn’t eat the foods that she could eat and that Mama’s breasts are for babies to eat from.
Now I worry about explaining more about who the picture of the baby on the wall is.
Why the dresser that they shared got emptied and solely filled back up with her clothes and instead replaced with a tiny turquoise box with a cross on it.
Why the swing that was in the living room suddenly disappeared.
Why we had a gathering where Mama was distant to everyone and in the end we ended up with a big garden.
Grief… fucking sucks.
Today we spent the afternoon in Willas garden weeding, the whole time Oakley sat with a little statue of an angel… just talking.
When she was done her conversation she kissed it and ran over to Willas swing laughing wanting me to lift her up.
I continued weeding, listening to my first-born beautiful baby girl babble to herself.
I was filled to the brim and thought it would be a good day, until I went to bed.
That’s when grief EATS you the worst.
So here I am, almost five A.M. trying to function, knowing that I will have a grief hangover tomorrow, just wanting to sleep all day but still having to be a Wife, Mom and member of society.
My Dad always told us when we were younger “life’s a bitch and then you die.”
Sometimes life does feel like a bitch, but I am going to make it my mission to LIVE before I die.
I am in the grieving phase of being mad at the world and that’s okay, its normal.
As much as I feel happiness for my friends, family and acquaintances that will have babies this year, I always feel a pang of hurt, jealousy and wanting.
Empty arms but a very heavy heart.
Finding the positives in each day is a struggle but our Oak always brings a smile to our faces.
When you are reading this down the road, I just want you to know that I am documenting our grief so that when you are feeling the pain at five, ten and twenty years old longing for the little sister that you only got to meet through the fetal doppler and the kicks on your back as you slept beside me… we get it. We wanted her just as much as you. There is nothing that we can ever do to take your pain away and for that we are sorry. We wanted to watch you play together, to see you kiss each other and to fight with each other just as you see other close in age siblings do on an everyday basis. We wanted and still want to watch you giggle together and for you to show her everything you know just as my big sister did for me.
We know you are hurting, you have been acting out and showing a dire need for attention. We know that you knew, you were going to be a big sister and you my girl… are a big sister. It will always be Oakley Elsie and her little sissy Willa Hain. You are our saving grace. You have helped Dad and I through this terrible tragedy each and everyday. Daddy, you and I didn’t do anything wrong, all we did was love our sweet Willa. There is nothing we can do to bring her back to us, for that I am sorry. If there was a way that I could take this pain from you, I would. You are such an incredible blessing. Know that we love you more than anything and when people tell us to just be “grateful for the child we have” it makes us sad, not because we aren’t thankful for you… but because if these people had to choose one of their children that they could live without…they wouldn’t be able to pick one to sacrifice.
One day we will all meet again, I promise.
Into the garden of dreams we go, my girl.
I love you, Oakley.
It’s July 4 and I still have not handed in our taxes.
I am an awful procrastinator at the best of times but usually when given a deadline I can get my head in the game and complete the task at hand with very little sleep and a whole lot of coffee.
Completing tasks has not been something that I have been doing much of lately.
Honestly I kind of feel like I’m failing at life.
My vegetable garden is basically non-existent, Willas garden is getting taken over by weeds, my horses are standing in the corral not being rode, my coop needs to be cleaned again, my customer care for my fruit and veggie business has been sub-par, I have laundry coming out of my yin-yang, kombucha that should have been bottled last week, and my fridge hasn’t been cleaned out in ages.
I feel like I am constantly busy but getting no where.
You may be asking yourself… “well if she isn’t doing any of the other stuff, how are their taxes still not done?”
I’ll tell you why.
I am unorganized.
Creative minds often tend to thrive in chaos and chaos is currently my life.
When we get papers in the mail that I don’t feel like dealing with, I throw them on top of this pretty little red cabinet in our kitchen….until I am forced to deal with them.
I have to be honest, there has been a pile of clutter and junk on top of that pretty little cabinet now for months.
I said I don’t mind chaos but clutter is not my thing.
I have walked by that cabinet piled high with junk for three months now.
Each time I have gone to get a glass of water, made supper for my family, boiled the kettle or unloaded groceries I have had to look at that pile and each time my heart has sunk and my anxiety has risen.
You may be thinking… “Wow she really doesn’t like taxes.”
The taxes and my dire procrastination aren’t what have kept me from cleaning that space…fear of the unknown is.
Everything from the day we lost our Willa and beyond has been piled there.
Bills, receipts, write-offs, pay stubs and t-4s.
Reminders of what we should have had.
Reminders of how life goes on.
Cards of sympathy.
Notes from organizations who support Still Born families.
Paperwork from the funeral home, the hospital and her death certificate.
The drawing of our memorial tattoo and a letter from the day my mom left us.
I haven’t felt ready.
I haven’t wanted to admit that I wasn’t ready.
So instead I have made every excuse under the sun about how much I fucking hate taxes, to get out of looking weak.
Tonight was the night, I had to start somewhere as we are falling behind on life.
I decided to compile the papers from above the fridge first… but that’s when I saw it.
The pregnancy test that still showed the two tiny pink lines, that had sat there since the day we found out about our second sweet baby.
Pregnancy tests are very significant to me, especially after all of our troubles trying to conceive our sweet Oaks. I never thought that getting pregnant the second time around would come easy for us… I kept that test because I wanted to remember the look on Chads face and the way I giggled at him for the rest of my life.
Underneath the test were multiple ultra-sound print offs that at the time were not my favourites of my girl, so I stashed them up there and chose my favourite for the fridge.
Those three tiny pictures that were stashed up there are now some of my most cherished possessions. They are memories of the happy times I was able to experience with my baby and sadly are some of the only photos I have.
Directly slid beside the pregnancy test were a tiny little pair of handmade moccasins from Chads childhood neighbours, that will never have the chance to be worn by whom they were meant for.
I continued to find one thing after another that reminded me of happy times throughout my pregnancy and then sadly times of the worst day of my life.
I compiled the papers we needed to finish the taxes, kissed my husband goodnight and cried by myself.
Tonight I realized something.
1. No matter how long I waited I was never going to be “ready” to go through all of those things.
2. I feel 100% better now that it is done and I won’t have to walk by that space in dread.
3. Confessing your shit through writing is easier than speaking the truth.
4. I should have just been honest about why I didn’t want to finish the taxes in the first place.
5. Crying doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.
6. Connecting my family to me through my emotions is hard but will be worth it.
7. I am stronger than I think.
8. Taxes fucking suck.
When hard things happen to a lot of families it rips them apart.
The individuals do not know how to express how they are feeling.
They contract into themselves and keep everything bottled up.
Ultimately not knowing how to process and feel as though they are going through everything alone.
We are not the norm.
With every struggle we have had to endure throughout this crazy path we call life, we have prospered.
To many of you, that may seem so strange.
How could a relationship possibly become stronger, filled with more love and more life after death.
One word: Resilience.
Understanding, trust and reassurance have gotten us through this far and it will continue to get us through.
There have been nights where Chad has held me as I cried.
There have been nights where I have wiped tears from his face.
We have held Oakley and loved her through this.
We love each other so much and so hard that we have helped each other through this…thus far.
We have been through so much in our short lives that I am unsure at this point what it would actually take at this point to break us.
We are here waiting, waiting for what will be thrown in our path next.
There is something so powerful to say about resilience.
It is an amazing thing.
Our relationship has grown, our parenting has blossomed exponentially and our want and need to grow our family has strengthened.
When enduring life after loss, you appreciate every moment, every friendship and every family member so much more.
You toss everything that has ever made your chain hitch in its crank away about the people in your life.
You relearn how to love, live and journey on your winding path.
When life gives us lemons we make freaking lemonade.
This is us,
This is Backwoods.
I was asked for the thousandth time… “Awe how old is your daughter now?”
Me: She will be two in September.
Him: Oh right on, when are you going to have number two.
Me: Haha One day.
Me silently inside: “We already have two daughters.”
As a parent of loss.
I tell our story and I speak openly about it.
I speak openly about it, online.
Not everyone reads it.
Not everyone gets the chance to feel our every struggle, our every heartache, nor gets to experience the hurt within our eyes.
Still to this day I don’t know what to say when people ask “when are you having more kids.”
When Chad and I got married that was the first question that people always asked:
“When are you having kids?”
I wrote an entire post about our previous struggles, which I will link here in case you feel like journeying with us further. Having Kids
That, is such an open-ended question.
It’s a question that I wish, from one human to another… that no one would ever ask.
YOU, have no RIGHT to know anything about anyone else’s family planning.
Wait for the announcement and call it… fucking good.
I say this specifically because I am a Mom who struggled.
I say this because we are a couple who struggled.
And now sadly, I say this because I am a mom of loss.
We tried for years to get pregnant with our sweet Oakley and we had numerous questions, accusations, parenting and marital shame directly surrounding that open-ended question.
When we finally got pregnant with Oaks, I felt relief.
I felt relief that people would stop freaking asking me, when, who, why and how.
I cared at the time.
I cared about judgement, criticism, and being the modern-day family.
Now, to be blunt… I don’t give a fuck.
I was the mom who had an infant and got pregnant again…after having one singular period.
I was the mom who was going to have two children under two.
I was the mom who asked questions on “Mom Sites” about how to manage two kids in the grocery store.
I was the mom who got judged because I was pregnant while I had an infant in my arms.
Now I am the Mom that feels as though everyone looks at as being; unorganized, overweight and unmanageable.
I am a wreck.
And it’s okay.
Grief is a personal thing.
As a woman who struggled with infertility all you hope for, is the blessing of having another baby.
And when you see a positive sign, you get enlightened.
No protection ever, when it finally happens, it happens.
And then, when you go through 39+ weeks of pregnancy and don’t get to hear your baby cry, you get reborn.
The silence of your baby, makes you process things in ways you never thought imaginable.
You seriously stop giving a flying fuck about what anyone thinks of you.
You raise your baby, your animals and your household with a whole new perspective.
We know, life goes on.
We get it.
But when you ask us, “how we are doing?” and we respond, “good”…just leave it at that.
We aren’t good.
But one day we will be.
We will eventually find our new normal and be there for everyone and be able to answer all of the questions but for now…
We are “good”, we have two daughters, we will have another baby when it happens, yes we want more kids, no Chad is not disappointed by only having girls, yes we think of Willa everyday, we Do cry and yes Oakley will know every single thing about her little sissy.
“A Childs a child and love is love, but I’ll always be broken because. I never got to see your face a short time before you went away. I wonder what have might have been but I know one day we’ll meet again. We’ll never be too far away oh’ my Willa Hain”
ps. “If we could go and change gods plan, we would have watched those eyes of yours open, catch you on your hardest falls and be the hand right there for you to hold but like a little bird you had to fly away,
Oh my Willa Hain.”