There are so many things about my daughters’ lives, my sweet babies who both died before birth, that I simply don’t remember.
It pains me to admit that.
So many loss moms talk about due dates and “angelversaries” and the day they found out they were pregnant and dates of ultrasounds and so many other moments of life and pregnancy and birth. When I hear them talk sometimes, I feel guilty. A little ashamed because I don’t remember all of those dates.
I remember a few. My oldest daughter’s due date – the day I consider her would-have-been birthday. The day I discovered I was pregnant with her. My younger daughter’s due date – mostly because it was also my dad’s birthday. I know the week in which my younger daughter died.
But honestly? That’s pretty much it.
It pains me, that small handful of dates on the calendar. I feel guilty because there aren’t more, like somehow I loved them less because I don’t remember every precious moment.
So much was swept away in the avalanche of grief and the passage of time.
I try to make myself think logically and to reason with myself for why I don’t remember all the specific dates of events during my pregnancies. I remind myself that during pretty much all of my first pregnancy I was dumbfounded and dazed with grief for the death of my fiancé, my daughter’s father, and was barely making it through. I know how grief can erase memory and make everything fuzzy and out of focus. When my second daughter died, I had severe complications and nearly died myself. I was in the hospital for days. Medication and painkillers (not to mention blood loss) have a way of blurring memories.
Logic, however, doesn’t erase the guilt. It doesn’t take away the grief for lost memories and moments – precious moments of which I would have had so few to begin with given their too brief lives.
I was only gifted a few brief months and weeks and days with each of my precious babies. And I can’t remember half of that time with them. Instead, the waves of grief stole away those memories and left me with so few to hold onto.
I grieve for those lost memories.
And I comfort myself with the knowledge that I might not be able to give dates and specifics for events, nothing and no one has ever been able to erase the memories of how I felt while I was pregnant.
The joy of feeling them grow inside of me. The way they kicked and moved under my hands. Being astounded by the intensity of the love I felt with the realization that I was a mother, their mother. The hope they brought to me, the light they brought to the darkness.
My children brought incredible love, brilliant hope, sweet joy, and so much beauty.
So while I grieve for the lost memories and missing moments, if all I get are those treasured moments of love and hope and joy and beauty?
Well, that is enough.
Because though our time was so very brief, I am theirs and they are mine.
Grief can’t erase that.
Emily works hard to increase education and improve care for bereaved mothers with medical professionals and other counselors. She also works with clients individually to provide support for grieving mothers and fathers. She writes and educates through her website, Emily Long: Archaeologist of the Living.