“Grief is silent, painful, unpredictable, but always there: in the mirror; in the dresser; in the wildflowers, in the sky; on Elizabeth and Martin’s faces; in Glenn’s eyes…always there.” Page 88 of my book, Journaling Away Mommy’s Grief
I remember after losing Margaret that I felt like she was always there. I just could not grasp her. She was in my every thought. I remember observing illusions of her on the beach, slapping myself as I ran towards a mirage of a crawling baby with brown hair. I so wanted to see her, hold her, feel her body breathe- at night when I put her brother to bed, my mind played tricks as if I was holding her body in my arms as well. My blanketed bundle grew lighter than his 18 pounds when I shut my eyes and rocked in the rocker. During that time my raw mommy grief was an extreme mixture of both love and pain. The pain I felt was so great in both a physical and emotional sense that at times I wished not to think of her, but at the same time I so enjoyed thinking of her. I constantly worried that if I stopped thinking of her every second I would forget her or forget what she looked like and I also worried that if I was not in pain then I did not love her enough. We mothers, all mothers, hold such immense love for our children. Even as Margaret was gone, in heaven, I worried about the amount of time I spent with her because I missed her more than I could articulate or handle.
Almost 19 years later, I still miss her. No, I don’t feel it in my bones or in between my eyes or in the depth of my gut like I did those first several years. Now it feels more like a soft chorus from a song, always playing through my body at a low volume. My sister-in-law, Jen, a mama who lost her oldest son, Joseph, (my beloved nephew) at age 2 recently asked me about my writing because she is a writer too. She wondered about writing “beyond Joseph” and asked about writing “beyond Margaret.” I pondered and replied, “Oh, I no longer write about Margaret all the time. I usually find that I subconsciously add her during my first draft of a piece but then I edit the part about her out after I realize what my essay is trying to do.”Jen and I had this discussion a few months ago. Now it becomes May, and my body, as it does every spring, begins to yearn for Margaret when I see our cherry tree bloom, when I see the daffodils blow in the wind, when I see ferns pushing out of the ground, when I see robins perched in my yard. These new beginnings always make me yearn for her, the “new” baby I never got to watch grow. Soon it will be Mother’s Day, a time I think of all my babies. I sit at my desk and take out my latest writing pieces and re-read them, and I realize what I told Jen is false: Margaret is still always there. Though she is no longer the pain in my husband’s eyes or the look on my children’s faces, she will always be the new beginnings of spring and she is still often found in my writing. I write nonfiction essays about my four living children but, low and behold, Margaret seems to always sneak into many of my pieces in a perfect small way. She just plots herself there fighting for my attention as I write about her siblings. On May 12th I will have a piece published by Brain, Child ( www.brainchildmag.com) on their website. Margaret has a small, yet significant role in that piece and, in another piece I just sent out about roadtrips, she is found right in the beginning for she is a part of each story. She always will be. To all mothers on Mother’s Day who have lost a baby: that baby is forever part of your story. He/she made you the mother you are today whether you are a mother with children here on earth or not. This Mother’s Day I think of all mothers of loss and I think of deceased dandelions that line my yard with their million of seeds blowing in the wind. Our babies are like those seeds; breathing life from their non life, from their home in the clouds. Bless them all and bless all mothers of loss.