Happy Birthday, angel

Celebrating Ethan this year was different. I didn’t cry as much as I used to (I’ll get to that in a minute)It s, but the impact of his loss was still the same. After putting it off for so long, I finally decided next year, I’m going to get Ethan his grave marker.

You’re probably wondering why so long since it’s been several years (seven to be exact). Well, a grave marker, to me, is the realization of ‘Yeah, this really did happen.’ The finality of it all.

And you know what? It really fucking sucks.

I can have all of the memorial tattoos, the little signs throughout the day that Ethan is watching over me, the little keepsakes about him, but there’s nothing more permanent than, ‘I just buried my infant son’ than a grave marker.

Ethan deserves to have one. each time we go to visit him, we see more graves around him and it breaks our heart just a little more. We’re glad he has company, but we’re also sad that he has company, you know what I mean?

It’s a long time coming and he needs one. And we need one for him. He needs to have that permanent stone so we’re in the process of getting one that would have Ukrainian lettering on it.

Celebrating Ethan this year was different. It was a quiet day spent between the two of us (Bear was at school). There was the obvious sadness but there was also joy in celebrating him.

I miss our son terribly and I hope he’s making a lot of friends and spending time with family up in heaven. It seems the mourning period takes on new levels with each passing year. I could be bawling my eyes out one year only to not cry as much the next, like this one.

But I also realized just because I’m not crying it doesn’t mean I’m finally over it. For one, you don’t get over losing a child; you just learn how to deal with it as time progresses. Two, mourning can morph into different things.

I decided to be more business-centered and concentrate more on building wealth this year. While I was super successful at it, it was just a cover of mourning. If I keep busy, I won’t have to think about it so much. And yeah, it’s worked. Our bank accounts look a lot better, our credit is amazing, and I didn’t have to spend too much time thinking about Ethan.

But late at night, that’s when the thoughts come in. That’s when it hits. And that’s when it doesn’t matter if I’m on my way to millionaire status or if I’m writing a juicy screenplay, I don’t have a son and I should have two. No amount of money and success will ever bring Ethan back.

So yeah, this year was different in honoring Ethan. I’m still new to the grieving process, even though I’ve been here for seven years. I hope one day, I’ll figure out the right way to grieve. I just don’t know what it is yet.

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What It’s Really Like To Survive The Death of Your Baby

Remembering Ethan

Weird.

That’s really all I can muster. It’s weird. Not a bad weird. Definitely not a good weird. Not weird.

There’s a hole within you that will never close. Sometimes it gets bigger and overwhelming. Sometimes it returns back to size. But it never closes. It never heals. It’s just kinda…there.

I lost Ethan seven years ago and I had Bear five years ago. I still feel someone, something is missing from my family. It’s not a situation where one loses a job, and they can get another. You wreck your car, you can get another. You end a relationship, you can be in another.

When you lose a baby, there’s no guarantee you’ll have another. Or, if you even want another.

2011 was a difficult year for us for I had two miscarriages that year – an early miscarriage in the spring when shook me to the core, and later, my late-term loss with Ethan, which flipped my world onto its axis.

There’s a feeling of constantly playing catch up. Every time we do something for Bear, we always think, ‘We should’ve done this already.’ Whenever Bear discovers something, we think, ‘His brother should’ve introduced it to him by now.’ There’s always that feeling of constantly trying to do something but felt like it should’ve been done before.

And it sucks, for real.

Sometimes the grief is small and unnoticeable. And sometimes, it hits me like a Mack truck when I’m having a relatively good day (which is the worst because it literally comes out of nowhere). And then sometimes…I’m just numb to it all.

You remember your life in two distinct phases – how you were before the epic loss and how you were after. Parts of you remain the same, but it’s very different. If you were easygoing, you might be more quick-tempered. If you were materialistic, you might not put so much value into things and possessions like you used to.

The grief comes out in different ways. You might be angrier than before. You might be confused when you knew what you wanted down to the letter. You’re trying to figure out this new normal, this thing that you didn’t ask for nor did you want, this club you’re forever a member of…while you’re trying to stay sane.

I often link to this article because it explains how I feel.

I don’t talk about Ethan very much but it’s not because I’m “over it” (I never will be), or I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable (because fuck your feelings when it comes to my grief), but rather, I want to protect him.

Mommy,Daddy, Ethan,Yoda
Us in our  maternity shoot with Bear and our Molly Bear Ethan.

I’ve never shown a photo of Ethan online and I asked family and friends not to. One, I don’t want to satisfy anyone’s morbid curiosity. Two, I want to hold onto the images of him that I do have. He’s finally hanging up on our walls at home and that’s a huge step since there was no evidence of him previously.

Bear is still trying to grasp the concept he had a brother before him and it’ll be a while before he does. We don’t force the issue. As we plan to TTC for another sibling for Bear, we do wonder how we will explain Ethan to them as well.

So yeah…surviving your baby’s death is weird. Angry at God, angry at the universe, angry at people who have normal, uncomplicated pregnancies; angry at those who can conceive just by sneezing…

And then there’s sadness. Heart-wrenching, inconsolable sadness that will follow you for the rest of your days.

Somewhere along the line…one smiles. Smile that you saw how beautiful your baby was and happy your baby doesn’t have to live in world that can be so cruel. And hope one sweet day, you can meet them again.

And then the weirdness isn’t so bad, after all.


Please light a candle for Ethan and all babies lost on this day at 7 PM.

 

One Sweet Day

Remembering Ethan

It’s weird knowing six years ago, I gave birth to one of the most beautiful children I’d ever seen. It’s equally weird that I buried him just days later.

Ethan, had I carried him to term, would’ve been five this year. He would’ve entered kindergarten. As other April 2012 mothers celebrated and posted pictures of their kids’ first day in kindergarten, I wondered what could’ve been.

You see, it’s different with Bear. He was born a year later, in 2013. Had I carried Ethan to term, there’s a chance Bear would’ve been here, anyway. It’s something I often wonder.

IMG_0076
Me and Ethan early in my pregnancy. Maks took the picture. 

This year was incredibly hard but it was also wonderful in many ways. As always, I donated to one of my favorite charities in honor of Ethan – the LA Food Bank. I feel his presence where ever I go. And I visited his gravesite for the first time in years. I hope to decorate it for Christmas and give him a toy.

It’s still a blur about everything. Every December I’m reminded of his birthday and how close it is to Christmas. I’m reminded how much I loved life and was hopeful on December 12th, just for all of it to be taken away from me the next day.

However…

I’m reminded how much unconditional love I have for my babies. I’m reminded how I want to help other parents who have lost their babies. I’m reminded that despite it all, there are some really good people in the world who care.

So I celebrate Ethan. I celebrate his short life. I celebrate the lessons he taught me. He taught me how to forgive. How to mourn. How to love.

I’ll love him forever and ever until the end of my days. And I can’t wait to see him again. Until One Sweet Day.

Why Picking Out Your Son’s Grave Marker Really Sucks

img_0046Ethan died five years ago and this is something most people who follow me know. I haven’t been shy in my grief, and I make it a point to let everyone know I had a son before Bear.

What a lot of people don’t know is that we haven’t purchased a grave marker for Ethan.

It’s complicated. It really has nothing to do with money nor time. It’s the finality of it all. Once that marker is in place, then I know for sure, this did happen.

Now you might be wondering, ‘Well, how could you not have known since you’ve talked about it?’ Grief is a funny thing. Sometimes, if you try hard enough, you can think it didn’t happen at all and it was just a bad dream. Does someone really want to reminisce the time they went to Target to pick out an outfit to bury their son in? Does anyone want to remember what mood they were in when a certain song is playing because it reminds them of their son’s funeral?

But almost all of the time, you know it did happen and your mind is trying to keep you from going insane by inserting that defense mechanism to protect you.

I’m not sure what spurned me to look up grave markers. Maybe it’s because it’s been five years and I figured it’s time my baby boy actually has a marker on his grave. Originally, we wanted Ethan to be buried with us but moving his grave might be too costly to do so. I do hope we can be buried near him, though.

I don’t visit Ethan as much as I should have and to be perfectly honest with you, it’s been a long while since I’ve visited his gravesite, though I talk to him regularly and feel his presence. I’m not too sure if having a marker means I’ll start visiting more often, honestly. But I just hate the fact he’s there with no marker on his grave at all.

So, now I’m in the process of searching for the perfect grave marker for my son. I’m going to make an appointment next week to talk to the folks at his memorial park and see what options I have.

But yeah, it sucks. There’s no two ways about it. I wish I could be all light and joyful about this but I just can’t. One of the many aftereffects of dealing with infant and child loss. It truly stays with you forever.

 

 

 

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Series

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I know I’m late in the game posting about this and honestly, I was wondering if I should. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not ‘over’ anything, rather I want to make a post that will consolidate everything into one.

It’s been a so-so month for me, emotionally-wise. I haven’t felt like I was in the dumps but I haven’t felt 100%. Fall is usually tricky like that. It’s my birthday, then Bear’s, then Maks’s and inevitably, Ethan’s.

I have learned that it’s the time leading up to his birthday that’s worse than the actual day itself. It’s something I still haven’t gotten used to and I’m approaching his five-year angelversary. While I’m sipping on everything pumpkin, there’s a quiet melancholy underneath.

I’m fine for the most part. I think once it comes to Ethan’s birthday, I’ll be happy. I’ll bake a cake, light a candle, and celebrate my baby boy as if he were on Earth.

I did want to show all the new angel parents that, well, a couple of things:

One, you’ll never get over your loss. A new baby won’t make things instantly better. Sometimes, it might make things worse. This is not to deter you from having a baby but to prepare you. There will always be an underlying feeling the things you go through in parenthood is something you should’ve “done already,” even if you already have a child.

Two, a loss doesn’t just go away. You don’t wake up one morning and think, ‘I’m all better now!’ Oh how I wish it were that easy. It is something you’ll deal with for the rest of your life. You’ll be fine one moment and then it’ll hit you like a freight train the next.

You’ll hear stories about women with their easy pregnancies and become instant jealous because you wish you had that problem.

You’ll hear parents complain about how much of a brat their child was and you’ll be jealous because you wish you had a bratty child to complain of.

You’ll have resentment of couples who got pregnant without trying or medical intervention while you’re going through numerous treatments for a pregnancy that’s not guaranteed to stick.

Sigh…I know. I know, I know, I KNOW.

But it does get easier. While you’ll have the aforementioned moments and feelings, you’ll also have this incredible joy about your baby and your pregnancy. You’ll feel proud that you had your angel, even if it was only for a brief time. You’re going to smile knowing they’re in Heaven and hope they’re having a good time.

To the new angel parents and those who’ve followed me for a while, here are links to previous posts and an article I will forever link to that, I feel, best describes what angel parents really go through.

Why Are Dead Babies Still Taboo?

What NOT to Say After a Miscarriage.

How to Cope with Sudden Loss

When Other People Don’t Acknowledge Your Loss

Different Ways to Honor Your Angel

The Land of Not OK (<—– I will reblog this post a million times. Though the Mom speaks of having a special needs child, I also feel this can relate to pregnancy and infant loss as well.)

Love and Light,

Crys