The anniversary nears...
I daydream about what he would look like today
...I'm also having flashbacks from last year...
I have finally accepted within myself
that even though my son was stillborn,
I am fortunate to have known him
and I am proud to be Ian's Mother...
Entry #15~ 8/98
Reactions from Co-Workers 10 months Later
My son Ian was stillborn 9/11/97. Never a day goes by that I don't think of him, dream about him. Daydream about what he would look like today and what fun things we would be doing together as he reached closer to age 1.
Each year the company I work for puts on a family picnic. Hundreds of co-workers come with their spouses and children to enjoy food and carnival rides and games. It's always been a fun event for me, except this year.
This year I don't plan to go. Because it would be a "trigger" event for me I feel I should stay away. I don't especially want to be surrounded by hundreds of babies and toddlers. My co-workers, however, don't seem to understand this. Comments such as "oh, you'll be okay once you get there" and "you're really taking this too far" have about blown me away. I can't believe what I've heard!
Yes, it has been 10 months, nearly 11 months since I lost my son, however I'm still emotionally raw. I feel I need to do anything I can to help myself cope. Attending a picnic filled with children is not going to help me.
I just wish my co-workers would appreciate the fact that I have feelings, that these are real feelings, and that I should be able to have these feelings without their judgment.
How can any person judge another if they've never been through the same experience before?
Marcia's comment: They can't! JoAnn is wise to protect herself from being in a place that will make her uncomfortable! No one else needs to have a long discussion about the "whys" unless they plan to be understanding and supportive. The time near the year anniversary is particularly difficult for most parents. Memories of the year before become vivid. JoAnn's co-workers with children might realize that JoAnn would be bringing her own child if her life had gone as planned. I feel sure that this event is one of sharing each others children's achievements as well as a time to "show off" the specialness of having these children...a difficult time, indeed, for a co-worker who has lost a baby.
Reflections on SHARE Atlanta's Keepsake Album ~ 8/28/98
You mentioned that bereaved parents have given you the impression that it isn't safe to share pictures or perhaps display pictures in the home. I know I felt that way at first and I only felt that way because I was intimidated by "the viewpoint of others outside my loss experience." Then I realized, why should I care about them? These are MY feelings and I have a right to them.
I was very disappointed when my older sister flew in for a visit. I showed her Ian's picture. She didn't say anything! I could tell from her body language and facial expression that she was visibly upset, but I didn't ask. I'm wondering now what she was thinking. I plan to ask her, but I thought I'd wait a little while. I also was upset because she didn't mention visiting Ian's grave.
Actually, I'm not sure I should be "upset," but I'm sad. It would've meant so much to me if we had visited his grave together. Add that to your list of "what others can do for the bereaved parent." I really think that others (including my sister) must think in my case that "it's been 11 months, almost a year, so everything is back to normal." NOT SO. If anything, it's only getting more emotional again because the anniversary is just around the corner.
Again, I think your Picture page is a wonderful idea and I plan to send you a scanned photo of Ian as soon as I can get it done, as well as other photos. I'm sure other parents will feel the same way. They may hesitate at first for fear of what others might think (moreso those outside their loss experience), but once they see other bereaved parents coming forward, I'm sure you'll receive alot of responses. I'm excited to see the progress!Another thing I realized, and perhaps moreso recently because of my sister's reaction when she saw Ian's picture; I really don't think people outside of our loss experiences "visualize in their mind" that our baby really was a baby. They only see the pregnant woman (hidden baby). Then, once the baby dies, I really think they believe that "a baby never existed." Could it be perhaps because they never saw the baby (or a picture of the baby)?
A comment about the Picture page; I think you should promote bereaved parents to sending in scanned ultrasound pictures, too. This would definitely open up the minds of people outside of our loss experience; yes indeed, there definitely was a baby! Even though we know that an ultrasound means there is a baby, I don't believe alot of people associate it. Does this make any sense? Anyways, just more reason to go ahead with your Picture page idea!
Entry #16~ 9/3/98
As the 1st Anniversary Approaches
I love my son.
I'm proud to be Ian's Mother
As the first anniversary of my son, Ian's, stillbirth approaches, I've been overwhelmed with thoughts of him. I'm also having flashbacks from last year. For instance, after a long walk last night, I jumped in the shower to cool off and suddenly broke down in tears as I flashed back to the day when I heard the doctor say, "I can't find the heartbeat." And then I found myself thinking of being in the hospital room again, three days of induced labor, waiting for my son to be born, hoping the doctor would be wrong and Ian would cry after all.
Somehow, I'm still able to find hope inside of me, hope for another pregnancy, hope that it will happen soon. However these last 2 weeks my thoughts have been overwhelmed with Ian.
And if anything else, I have finally accepted within myself that even though my son was stillborn, I am fortunate to have known him and I am proud to be Ian's Mother. If I have no other children, I am able to find happiness in knowing that I had Ian; he is so special to me.
I have some special plans for Ian's first birthday, some not altogether finalized. I'm working on a memorial poem for the local newspaper and I am buying a few gifts for Ian here & there, including a Boyd's bear named "Nelson," a set of miniature lacrosse sticks (my husband's favorite game), a Precious Moments figure of a boy angel and I plan to buy pink & blue carnations and set one of each on all the other children's graves in the cemetary where Ian is buried.
I read an article in today's newspaper indicating Princess Diana's son's said something to the effect, "let our mother rest in peace because constant reminders of her death can create nothing but pain to those she left behind." How sad. How sad that those boys don't think they can continue to grieve or should continue to grieve, at least that's the way I interpret the comment.
Yes, my son Ian died nearly a year ago, and even though I have alot more better days, I still cry, I'm still sad, I still need to live through the pain. It will be with me forever. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Now, I have to go cry again. I miss my son. I love my son. I'm proud to be Ian's Mother.
Entry #17~ 9/11/98...First Year Anniversary
How silly if people think
"You shoud be over this by now"
Our first child, stillborn son
So wanted, so loved from the start
Unique on his own, special creation
Beautiful boy who stole our hearts.
How silly if people think
"Life goes on" just like before
Loneliness, sadness, forevermore.
Life does go on, in a different way
Our son will remain a part of us
Even after we're old and gray.
How silly if people think
"Time heals" the grieving soul
Time helps yet leaves behind a hole.
We miss our son each and every day
We miss what "could have been"
Dreams ... suddenly swept away.
Ian, we miss you dearly
And love you more
You are always a part of our family.
You live in our hearts
Until we see you again in Heaven.
Love, Mommy & Daddy
Entry #18~ 9/24/98
I visited my son, Ian, today 9/24/98. I bought a McDonald's "Happy Meal" on the way home from work and stopped by his gravesite. I've been doing this for a long time, it helps me cope. Before I leave, I make sure I leave the "Happy Meal" toy for Ian. It's just one of those things parents miss, simple pleasures like taking their children to McDonald's.
In regard to work issues, a situation I recently learned of really isn't an issue, but I feel it's going to be very awkward for me soon. For the past 6 months my husband & I have been attempting another pregnancy with no results. I'm being patient, but at the same time my heart yearns for another child. One of my best friends at work shared with me that she is pregnant after only 2 months of trying (her daughter died in January 1998 from cancer). Although I am extremely happy for her, I am also unhappy. I'm still unhappy for me. And, once others in our work group find out about her pregnancy, I just can't wait to hear the comments, not only towards her but also to me as well. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but I am very nervous about it. It's just another added stress to me somehow, something I don't want to have to deal with, the continued insensitive comments from others outside my loss experience.
For some time I've debated on whether to look elsewhere for employment and have recently started pursuing it, including getting some work as a freelance writer. The stresses of my job have become enormous, especially the "counselling" I do. I am a Human Resources professional and it's very difficult counselling employees who have their own real problems, let alone listening to employees chat about their successful pregnancies or even fertility issues. I've almost convinced myself it's time to "move on" and rid this stress. I can't believe I've worked almost a year in this environment since Ian's stillbirth. Some days I think Ian sends me messages in my mind saying, "do what's best for you, Mommy."
I'm interested in knowing if any other parents who have had losses found it unbearable to continue working and either just quit or found other employment. I can't be the only one!
Entry #19 ~ 10/2/98
Thoughtful Friends & Family
from family & friends
means so much to us.
On 9/30/98 I went to my monthly support group meeting; it was the first meeting since my son Ian's first anniversary on 9/11/98. Presented to me at the meeting was a painting from one of the group members, a talented soul with a compassionate heart. Carol "brought to life" for me one of my initial dreams last year after Ian's stillbirth. The painting is a picture of Ian & myself walking down a country road amongst trees full of colorful Autumn leaves. I will treasure that gift always. I hope my many tears doesn't melt the paint!
Another wonderful gesture came today from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Together with their 3 children, they "celebrated" Ian's birthday. They sent photos of preparing a birthday cake and decorating a room with streamers. The oldest girls decided to decorate the cake with blue clouds, a church and bright sunshine. The words say, "Our Angel in Heaven - We Love You Ian."
How wonderful to know that people do care. My husband & I also received a few cards on Ian's anniversary. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from family & friends means so much to us.
Entry #20 ~ 10/7/98
I'm up & down, like a rollercoaster. I'm a bit down today. Today, October 7th, is Ian's original due date. It certainly doesn't bother me as much as last year, however I am a bit blue and needed a "mental health day" today.
I can tell the difference better these days regarding how I feel, compared to early on and over the course of the last year. In fact, I am much more positive now. I tend not to think so much like "my son died" or "I" lost my son or other "I" statements. Moreso, I think of how much I miss Ian, how much I love him, and how sorry I am that he died and won't be able to share in life with us.
Of course, I also think of how much I want another child.
Entry #21 ~ 11/12/98
A Special Momento for all bereaved Moms
While flipping through the 1998 JCPenney Christmas catalog I noticed they are again offering the "Celebrations of Life" ring (page 101). It's a 10K gold birthstone ring, engravable. I bought one last year in memory of my son, Ian. On the outside of the ring I had engraved Ian's first name and his birthdate; in the center of the ring is the September birthstone. I wear it every day. It's probably the most significant momento I have for remembering my son. The ring took about 6-8 weeks to receive, but well worth the wait.
Just thought I'd pass the information along in case there are other Moms out there looking for a special momento.
as well as having him close to my heart,
so the ring has provided both for me.