It's hard to be here again when it was not too long ago we were "here" waiting for Cara to be born. Doing the final touches in her nursery, packing our bags for the hospital, trying to get the car seat, strollers, pack n' play all ready.
We were doing this exact thing over the weekend for the baby. We sat up in the nursery folding clothes, setting up furniture, organizing, trying to make new memories for the baby in the midst of finding painful reminders of the preparations we had made for Cara - like dried up baby wipes and some of her things that will always be hers. We remembered the next morning that it would have been Cara's 18 month birthday. A year and a half. She should have been there. But we tried to make new memories for this baby - we felt like she deserved that and it's something Cara would want for her little sister too.
One of the things I'm most afraid is dealing with the misconception (which I think comes from a society that likes us to "move on" from grief in 2 or 3 days instead of walking with it for your life) that with the baby's birth all our pain will be magically washed away. This could be no further from the truth. And I'm scared that people will forget this. That people will forget that we'll always miss Cara when the pain of not having her physically here will never go entirely away. How could it? It will never go away and it shouldn't since she will always be a part of us. A part of her is here in spirit, but a part of her is physically gone which will always hurt.
I think this is where our rituals will help with this. I was imaging today that our Sunday visits to Cara's grave with our family will be a time where we remember, where we don't forget all that Cara has meant to us. And where we also walk with the pain of her physical absence from us. Where we remember how old she would have been. Where we share with our kids how much they're missing from having an incredible older sister like Cara would have been here on earth. And where we tell them she is still there for them...watching over them...walking with them...still there as their older sister in a way we can't totally explain, but one day we'll understand.
Another hard part of not having Cara physically here is that it's easier for her to not enter those regular daily conversations that come up with family and friends in common places like church and work. I really think this is a very hard aspect of losing someone you love. With their physical absence from this world, it just becomes less commonplace for them to enter conversations. It's not that people are trying to be mean, but with that person gone it's harder to talk about common things like whether they are crawling or walking yet, what grade they're in at school this year...things like that.
Because of your loved one's absence from conversations, I think this is one of the reasons babyloss parents and all those who have lost somebody they love, greatly appreciate it when a friend is intentional and talks to them about their child. I like to think of it like you can talk to that parent like their child is still alive, not physically alive of course, but somehow still very much alive, and a part of your life.
But this can be harder with stillborn babies. For some terrible reason, stillborn babies can be more easily forgotten. Based on some comments we've gotten and other stories I've heard from other blogs, it's as if since that baby was sleeping, some people act like that baby never lived and that there were not people who loved that baby, parents with dreams for that child, and a mother who carried the baby tenderly for months. That baby lived. Just tragically the baby was born sleeping and died way too soon.
So I suppose I'm venting a little. But at the core of it all I just don't want people to forget Cara. I know we never will, but it sure seems like an uphill battle sometimes in our microwave society that doesn't seem to get it. But I'm thankful for friends that do get it. I'm thankful for family and friends that allow Cara to be a part of their lives, that live with the presence of her spirit close by and with the hope that one day they'll be reunited with our sweet baby too.