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  • Writer's pictureJodi Laughlin

Father's Day

Father’s Day was hard for me. Harder for me I think than for my husband. It was the Sunday after her 6 month birthday and my heart was just shattered. A year ago I remember telling my father-in-law “Next year, you’ll be a grandfather!”

Maybe I took the day so hard because I am protective over my husband. I just know that it was harder for him than he will allow himself to bear. I know that he puts on a strong face and isn't journeying through this grief as vocally as I am. And we should each grieve in our own way. But I guess I wanted to shot to everyone, all day, "THIS IS HIS FIRST FATHER'S DAY! AND HE IS THE BEST DAD EVER". We don't physically carry our baby in our arms, but she is everywhere we go.

I thought my grief over the pregnancy would be easier after Noelle’s due date had passed and that my grief would start to shift to grieving the life that was lost but I am now just getting into moment’s such as this. Reflecting on my early pregnancy excitement one year ago, all those moments where I would think “Next year, my baby will be with me”. Now, a year later, and my baby has come and gone. Now I am so lost. Now I don’t know where I am or where I am going.

I guess when it comes down to it, the pregnancy is what I will always grieve. The pregnancy and the sacred 32 minutes that followed was her life here on earth, and I never want to forget it. I am the only one who really knows all her kicks and all her cravings. The times when I think "she should be here.... what would it be like if she were?"... Those are just more dreams, it's not reality.

There have been so many moments this year that I have dreaded. Her due date. Mother’s day. Father’s day. The birth of both my nieces…. All occasions have been really hard. But I have made it. I was in the room with my sister for the birth of my niece Grace…. Grace Noelle. I am so touched by the name choice and it makes my heart so happy that when people ask Grace, “how did you get your name” she will forever be reminded of Noelle… she will share her story. And so will all of my family. I know that. I know that her life will not be forgotten.

Sometimes I am scared I am forgetting.

As these moments come and go, as life seems to flash before my eyes, I can’t help but to keep screaming inside “where is my baby!!?” Thinking about being in a room with both of my nieces at the same time makes my stomach hurt. Thinking of the possibility of them wearing the same outfit makes me so sad. I wish Noelle was here!

I just want time to stop.

Or maybe I want it to move faster so I can be with her again.

Today I am missing my brother’s birthday gathering- the first gathering where both of my nieces will be in the same room together. Looking at a picture of them on the internet makes me fall apart so how can I possibly be with the two of them at once? It isn’t right. And I don’t want to ruin anyone’s time, this should be a happy gathering. But I am not happy.

I am so excited to have children here on earth, to have another child and have a chance to bring them home from the hospital. But I am terrified of what that means for Noelle. Can my heart carry love for another child? Is it too weak from what it went through? Am I too broken?

I am scared. As badly as I know I want more children, I don’t think I want to hear the words “congratulations” about a pregnancy. I don’t think I will ever have that emotion…. Maybe it is because I am afraid that if I am excited about another baby it means I am forgetting my first. How can another child ever compare to Noelle? How could I ever love anyone else so much? Maybe I am also afraid to be excited about another pregnancy because I was over the moon excited about Noelle and she was so brutally taken from me.

As I reflect on my feelings a year ago… my excitement that “in one year we will be a family of three!” I can’t help but to be so deeply saddened. And as I prepare my heart to hope again, to dream another dream of the big family I might have, I also prepare my heart to be broken again. Maybe that will never be my story. Maybe there is another path for me and Noelle really is all the love my heart can handle. But I am not prepared to redirect my hope yet.

I see a future where I am happy, where my husband is by my side and there is love surrounding us.

But wait... My present situation is just that. My husband by my side, my doggy on my lap and a roof over my head. It’s so easy to focus on the pain. It’s hard to focus on the good stuff…

As I journey through this grief, I try to remember to go easy on myself and to take it one day at a time. But I also need to remember to not get lost in it. I need to remember that although it may seem I am cycling through phases, although this journey is not linear, it is also not a circle. I will never be in the exact same place twice. Grief is an unpredictable journey and so is life. As time goes on I hope to find a greater purpose for this suffering and to focus not on the loss of my child but the life of my child, the blessing of my baby. I hope that I can be with both of my nieces, together one day without feeling like the world is against me. I hope I can get there one day.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

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