Grief VS Guilt

My children are driving me nuts today. They are loud. They are unsettled. They can’t make up their minds. They are whimpering. They are not feeling good. They won’t leave me alone for a second. Today is trying to parent four hungover college girls. Whiny, crabby and they don’t know what they want to eat because nothing sounds good.

And I am triggered.

Who knew on a day like today when I am grieving a child, my other children would be driving me so crazy.

My body and brain definitely remember this day and I am already cranky, out of sorts, angry, overwhelmed, anxious, and panicky. My Fight, Flight or freeze button is blinking, “WARNING! WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”

Every year my grief reacts differently to this day. Today I just want to be alone. I don’t want to be around my children. I don’t want to be touched or talked to. I want to hide.

I know some will say I should be grateful I have them. Some will say that I am lucky because they were never able or not able to have any children. Or grateful I didn’t have to deliver a stillborn. Or that an early miscarriage is so common it’s not a big deal. Or that because my baby was still “abortable” there should be no grief because it really wasn’t a baby yet.

( Yes. People who experience early miscarriages ARE told these things. To their face. Sometimes even during the miscarriage.)

And my heart breaks for those people, but that’s not perspective… that’s turning grief into guilt. And grief and guilt should never be paired. They are oil and water and don’t mix because they have different purposes and are made of different stuffs.

Today my mind seems to be fighting the guilt. That my grief isn’t justified. Yet my body is screaming back, “ THEN WHY DOES IT STILL HURT SO MUCH?!”

My baby was a baby. She had little arm buds and leg buds. She had a heart that did beat, if but for a moment. She had a head with a developing brain. She had nerves and a vascular system that was able to feel pain even at only 7 weeks gestation. She was growing… and then just stopped.

And left a void.

This isn’t a pro-life post. This is a pro-grief post.

We, Mothers and Fathers, who have lost children in any way are allowed to grieve. We don’t need justification. We don’t need cliche’ encouragements.

We just need to listen to our bodies, minds, and hearts and follow their cues. Always listen to the part struggling the loudest.

Today my body is struggling the loudest. It remembers this day. It’s tired. My amygdala is running loud and hot. Brain memory is POWERFUL stuff.

Today my grief will look like trying to survive this day. Trying to be gentle with myself and my children. I will not think about the stress of our current situations. I will not try to distract myself with guilt or self-sabotage. I will try to let my body rest and feel the void.

There’s no conclusion. No wrap up to this post. No cliche’ poignant moment.

It’s just me. Feeling my void, tell you that it’s ok to feel your void. Don’t let anyone try to stuff it full of guilt. It’s not their void. Voids are painful, but they are also something to cherish. There is a void because something beautiful was there to begin with.

Ria Ruth. July 2011

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