What was I supposed to do now? I was barely ready to have a baby, let alone lose one. It just happened so fast. I could barely process that it was happening at all.
Then I had a dream about Gabriel. He had died just like in real life. The mortuary called to say that I needed to pick up his body and then bring it back the next day. In my dream, I was so excited to see him again. I laid his tiny body in the back seat of my car and drove home. When I got home, I noticed that his hands were no longer clenched in fists, so I made some prints of his little hands. I spent the whole day with him and was so happy to have him with me.
When I woke up the next morning, I thought for a moment, It was just a dream. But I knew that it was actually my subconscious re-living the loss.
My baby was dead. I'd have to accept that. And everyday I'd have to find the strength to face reminders that he was gone.
As grief became embedded throughout me, I started to reflect more and more on everything I had lost. My son, of course. My dreams. My hopes. My future. My old life. My naive outlook of the world. Myself, my old self.
At first I couldn't see a way out of the darkness. I wanted to heal, to move forward, to grow, to change, but I just couldn't see how.
It took me awhile, but eventually I realized that the loss of my son had given me something in return. Actually, several things.
-Love, real unconditional powerful love
-Faith in God
-Appreciation for life & life's blessings
-Clearer understanding of the world around me
-Strength and courage
-Desire to help others and lead a more meaningful life
This realization was the first step in my healing journey. It was the match that ignited the first flame of light and actually gave me hope.
Though nothing could ever replace my son or compensate for his loss, I knew the gifts that I had been given were precious and significant. For my son, I had to make the most of whatever days I had left in my life. Wasting these gifts would mean that my son died in vain. And that was something I wasn't prepared to let happen.
So everyday, I woke up and thanked God for all the blessings He had given me. I asked Him for guidance and the strength to heal. I found understanding by reading His words.
I started writing down my thoughts instead of allowing them to keep circulating through my mind. I wrote daily thoughts in my journal, released balloons with notes to Gabriel, and wrote down the long detailed story of Gabriel's life.
I went outside more often, and found that I could easily notice beauty all around. I started taking my camera with me everywhere so I could capture the moments of beauty that I encountered. Flowers, sunsets, butterflies, trees, the ocean, children, the sky, birds, and anything else nature could come up with.
I memorialized a candle at our local church to symbolize Gabriel's neverending light. I wrote his name in the sand. I donated to charities in his honor.
I put his blankets, clothes and footprints in a wooden box. After we picked up his ashes, I made a space for his urn and surrounded it with special items.
I met other babyloss mothers online. I joined groups and made friends in the babyloss community.
I have found little ways to cope with my losses and to mourn the death of my son. I have accepted grief and welcomed healing and they are both forever a part of me. I understand that loss is not the absence of life, but instead a very real part of it. Gabriel's death will always be a part of me... his entire existence took place in my womb; I can't imagine his death ever escaping me. Pain and sadness will always accompany his memory, but so will love and joy. And though this journey of loss is a difficult road to walk, I have faith that Gabriel is waiting for me at the end of it.