Saturday, April 18, 2015

Moving On

To those of you who wonder how I am coping with my stillbirth loss, my answer is: I am doing fine now. I've undoubtedly had my better days before I was told that I'd lost my son last year but overall, I am doing way better than few months ago and I think that I am already past those painful grieving days.

Soon after I delivered my sleeping baby, I went through days and months when the sky above my head felt like constantly grey even though technically Malaysian sky was generally very clear and sunny almost all year long. There were also days when grief, self-pity, envy, anger and bitterness almost swallowed me alive. Nevertheless, months after I lost Dylan, all those feelings gradually subsided. Time does heal, apparently, although not entirely.

In my mind, he grows bigger too.

I mourned Dylan for about 4-5 months and it was a slow process for me to organize my feelings to live my normal life again. I cannot deny that sometimes I still long for my son and allow myself to think or mourn about him but lately, I don't let myself mourn for more than 5 minutes every day.

Previously, when I visited Dylan's grave, I often felt shattered and because of this, I refused to go to his grave if not necessary. These days, every time I visit his grave, I don't feel that much pain or sadness any more. I don't cry over him as often as I did either. In my daily life, I talk less about him too. I've begun to accept my loss and let Dylan go largely after I registered that (1) Dylan is never coming back. No one can bring the dead back to life. There is nothing I can do to have him back with me. (2) I cannot turn back time because there is no such thing as time machine other than those you see on movies (3) There is no point for staying in my own bubble of depression for too long. Life must go on.

What I am going to share in this post now is not the sob story of the emotional ruins post the baby I lost. As a matter of fact, I am going to share some stories that hopefully can aid those mothers who recently earned their new title as Angel Mom and still find it difficult to move on with their lives now.

Months after my Dylan flew away, three different persons virtually and literally came into my life. These three persons walked into my life with heart-wrenching stories of babies or young child that they lost in their families. Somehow, after listening or reading their stories, I felt that the sorrow and agony that had burdened me for months after Dylan left were kind of  'lighter' as compared to theirs. These people had lived more horrific hells than I did when they lost their babies, yet, they survived.

Here are their stories:

Story 1: Three little angels

A couple months after I posted about a blog post on giving birth to Dylan, a Mom-blogger in Singapore happened to read that post then shared with me that she has angel babies too. Three of them (a singleton and twins). Soon, I hopped over to her blog to find out more of her angel babies' stories and had to hold my breath several times as I read through the posts about those little angels.

While I share the resonate pains of losing a baby with her, hers were obviously tripled. I admire her and her husband's strength to finally get back on their feet despite the searing pains that they had gone through and find the courage to tell the tales.

Three angel babies... Having one angel baby in the family is already devastating and left us grasping at something that is permanently just out of reach, let alone three.

Story 2: A Niece in Heaven

Few months back, I downloaded LINE in my iPhone for fun. As I was playing around with my new app, I found that my ex-colleague whom I haven't met nor spoken in the past 5 years had LINE account too so I began contacting her. She responded pretty fast after I said hi. After few minutes of exchanging each other's news, I mentioned to her that other than Naomi, I also had another child (how many kids I have now is a tricky question to answer).

Not long after I shared a summarized story about my Dylan, my ex-colleague told me that her 1.5 y/o niece just passed away. It was a sudden death. She said the kid was playing like normal in the morning before she turned blue later in the day. When her parents rushed her to the hospital, unfortunately doctors couldn't save this little girl's life.

I was speechless and sorry when I learned this story. I could not imagine the loss that my ex-colleague's sister and brother-in-law had to face when their daughter departed. Also, the heart break from merely having 1.5 years of memory with their precious child must have been beyond belief. Not to mention that this girl was an only child and her parents waited for years to finally have her in their lives.

Story 3: Three months of life

My husband had his two Indonesian workers fix Dylan's tomb last month. Before they did that, I asked them if they're okay with fixing a tomb as I worried that working in a cemetery was a taboo thing for them and they were not comfortable with that. Both of them said they are fine with fixing the tomb. No taboos.

The night after they fixed my Dylan's tomb, I casually told one of them that the tomb they fixed was my baby son's. Few minutes later, this worker we spoke to revealed to my husband and me that he would have been a father of four had all of his children been alive. His wife suffered from miscarriage once and few years ago, they lost their youngest child at three months of age due to Dengue fever. He mentioned that he only learned about this distressing news when he just landed in LCCT. The moment he got the call that his baby had died, he had to frantically buy another ticket to fly back to Surabaya to deal with this matter. After he shared this story, I asked how his wife coped with their young baby's passing. He just shrugged and smiled.

To conclude, I don't know your mind-numbing event when your baby went away or whether your experience was more traumatic than the above. A lesson that I am trying to convey here is to quit comparing your life to others who seem to have it all. This 'looking up' attitude is hard to neglect but will certainly accumulate more envy, anger and bitterness that you naturally build up after you lost your much anticipated baby. You should try to look down and appreciate the bitter pills that life had thrown you because evidently they were not utterly bitter as those that some other people had swallowed.

I thought that I was going nuts during the time of great tribulation that I endured when I lost Dylan but moving forward, the above stories served as my wake-up calls to realize that I was not that lucky but still pretty lucky.

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