Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A note to my husband

Dear Justin,
Today is International Infant Loss Day. My counselor has called to ensure I am fine, and the women who I speak to in my support group have shared their stories. My grief is validated and recognized, but  yours has been marginalized or put aside for me.

 A majority of people easily identify my loss and my pain. My physical appearance changed. My pain was obvious. The amount of resources and reminders of love I receive are huge. Four months later, people still stop to ask how I am.

I don't see the same support given to you. I know you will say that I need it. That you want me to have help and support, and that you didn't experience Teddy's death in the same way. Society tells me that Dads heal faster and are impacted less, but I know that isn't true.

I know that in the midst of of trying to be there for me, your heart was shattered. I know that you dreamed of holding our little man and had already committed a large part of your heart to him. I know that you still speak to him. That you miss him. That your grief is as large as mine.

You have bravely shouldered the burden of your own grief, and allowed me to fall apart. You have held my hand while I learn to put myself back together again. When the world was too much, you shielded me from it, but when it was time, you encouraged me to start living again.

Together we found a way to arrange cremation and choose an urn. Holding hands, we brought him  home. For the rest of our lives, he will be our baby. When we are old and gray, and I break down over a half century old loss, you will understand and hold me. Together we are figuring out this new life, this new reality. Together we will manage the questions of more children, improved health and healing.

The loss of our son has changed everything about our lives, including my love for you. I had no idea that I could love you more. That you could make me this proud. That you could love me this much. Seven years ago we swore to love one another "for better or worse", and we had no idea what "worse" meant.

Today is International Infant Loss, and we are one in four parents who lost their child. We grieve together, we heal together, we hope together. I wish that you never had to feel this, that your heart was never broken, that you never had to grieve. I know that I couldn't have come this far without you, and I rest in the knowledge that whatever may come we can face it together.

I Love You,

Juli Ann

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