Brett and I were interviewed today by a Milwaukee radio personality, Dan O’Donnell. Dan happens to be a long-time friend of of ours, but also a former colleague of mine from back in my radio days. He’s since moved on to another radio station in town and I’ve completely moved on out of the journalism field into the nonprofit sector.
Tomorrow is the big day. Our last fundraiser before the big TEARS walk we’re participating in June. This is our Live Band Karaoke fundraiser I talked about here to help talk about pregnancy loss and let people know about support resources, both emotional and financial.
We’re excited about it and hope it will be a great turn-out. Since it’s a Monday night, not quite sure but hoping the weather will be kinda gloomy to force people inside.
The interview below aired on four different radio stations in Milwaukee today to help spark some new conversations about pregnancy loss and let a new audience know about TEARS. Take a listen…
We’ve been through a lot this year. More than we ever anticipated. We started 2016 with such joy and hope, only to have it torn away from us.
I don’t think this is anywhere close to what we imagined our life would be together. We’ve come so far in the 12 years that we’ve known each other and the almost 9 years of marriage. Looking back at those silly college-aged kids in photos, everything now seems like a lifetime ago. When our biggest troubles and our greatest fears revolved around term papers or master’s projects.
Some days I can’t even comprehend how you find the strength to stay with me. You’ve been there for all of my personal struggles in the last 10 years. You’ve missed work to go to medical appointments so I wouldn’t have to be alone and you could hold my hand. You slept on a twin bed for the first two years of our marriage in that tiny apartment so we could care together for my dad and brother. I’ve put you through a lot, and you know it’s my biggest fear that you’ll leave me. I remind you constantly of my insecurity. I’m grateful to have you by my side. I don’t know how I could go on some days without you.
So, I’m sitting at Starbucks today. Got out of the house to do some work since it’s a gloomy, drizzly fall day.
A few minutes after I sat down, a couple with twin boys, no more than 3 or 4 years old, sat down at the table next to me. The kids were bopping and bouncing to the music, happily chomping on their little snack boxes of fruit and cheese. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked over at them. One of the boys exclaimed, “Mommy! She has your computer,” while I typed away on my Mac putting together an email newsletter for a client. “Yes, hunny, that is the same as Mommy’s computer at home.” We just silently smiled at each other.
The couple started talking to the woman on the opposite side of them and I overheard, “Do you have any other kids?” My heart just sank momentarily. Thinking to myself. Oh god, please don’t talk to me. I don’t want to answer that. I’ve actually not had anyone ask if I have kids since losing Emmett so I haven’t had to answer that particular question yet. I know it’s going to come up some day. I’ll probably be honest and just say I have an angel baby. But there are times where it just takes more energy to be honest and it’s easier to utter no even though in my heart it’s an awful lie.
I have this piece of text art in my master bath. It used to hang in my office back before I started working from home. I bought it during a particularly stressful time I was having with a large project that was completely new territory for me, but also a time where I struggled with some personal demons.
I look at it every day, and today, like literally just five minutes ago, I was sitting there and pondering, and for some reason, the line: “Embrace change. Trust in yourself. Be happy. Live for today” resonated with me more than ever.
It made me think that I have to embrace this change that has happened. This new me. If I can embrace the change, I can better trust myself and move forward with living my life.
Even though Emmett is no longer here with us, those who loved him still have to live, we still have to go on. We can’t just stop and stand still, hoping, wishing, grasping for things that unfortunately will never be.
Dwelling in the past often times can be an easier path to take because it’s what you know. It’s that other road, that road where there are unknowns. That can be scary, uncharted territory but it can also be a wealth of opportunity, and if you don’t travel down that road you’ll never know what you missed.
I posted yesterday on Facebook to family and friends how we’re just not feeling the holiday spirit this year, not doing Christmas cards, barely decorating. My best girlfriend that I’ve known since I was 4 years old said: “try to find ways to live and enjoy life. Emmett would want that.”
She’s absolutely right. I think he would want that for his mommy and daddy so I’m going to try so hard and live a life that I enjoy but at the same time also keeps him close to my heart and memories.
We were shopping a week or so ago and came across a display of baby Halloween costumes outside a store, already on clearance… the little Nemo’s, pumpkins, monkeys. All of them were so cute to bundle a newborn up in. I was so looking forward to dressing Emmett up this year.
I wasn’t even really all that sad seeing them. It was more this pang of disappointment in my chest, knowing that we’ll just be missing out on something this Halloween. It has me looking towards the larger holidays still to come – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s – all with a bit of dread, instead of the usual excitement. We were walking around Home Depot this past weekend, looking at Christmas lights. Deep in my heart thinking that we have to continue through the holidays just without Emmett. It sucks. Plain and simple.
Yesterday, I was just a mess. Couldn’t find the will to get through my work to-do list, fighting a migraine. I left the house around lunchtime just to get together with Brett to see if he could cheer me up over a cup of coffee. I still have those days that are just harder than others. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could just move on, forget sometimes that this has happened to us. But I can’t. I hate crying myself to sleep at night, silently whimpering and grasping for the dog in the dark since I can just feel him breathe next to me. Something real. I find myself laying my head on his chest just moving up and down with his breath. Sometimes that’s the only thing that can calm me down as I count his breaths, slowly and methodically and drift off into a not-so-peaceful sleep.
Grief and loss just sucks. You have to continue even after the heartbeat of your loved one has stopped. Some days you can muddle your way through but others it’s so hard with the longing and the wishful thinking clouding your brain.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m adopted. My Mom, Liza, shared some of her insight about why she decided to put me up for adoption in one of her previous posts. An uncle and his wife adopted both my mom and I, so I was raised essentially calling my mom, my “sister.” She moved to California when I was still pretty young, I think maybe 5 or 6 years old. We didn’t see each other much, maybe every few years or so. Upon talking with her and reading her reflections about our relationship, I now have a slightly better understanding of why we had such a distant relationship for so long. It wasn’t until recently, that we’ve become closer and I started referring to her as “mom,” which is a completely different post for another day.
My adoptive parents – Joe and Dona – were great. Just much older. They already had grown children. My “youngest” brother, John, and I are 18 years apart. He’s like my second dad. My Dad was born in 1930 and my Mom in 1924. So…if I do the math right…they were 51 and 57 when I was born. Mom would always tell the story about the judge who did the adoption. He commented that, “Why would someone your age want to adopt a child?” She always said that they didn’t believe she was that old and they took 10 years off her age on the adoption papers. Don’t know if that’s really true or not…
Mom died back in 2001. I was 20 and a sophomore in college. My dad, who is the youngest of 13 kids, is still going at 86. He lives in a senior home back in the hometown that I grew up in.