how I will make it once everyone goes home {surviving infant loss}

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how I will survive once everyone goes home {surviving infant loss}

Over the past week, I have been thinking about this day a lot.  The day our family and loved ones leave our sides and go on to resume their normal lives.

Over the past week, Graham and I have been fortunate to have a strong support system keeping us busy.  Keeping our minds and bodies busy.

At the service for Laughton, although I cried the entire time during the actual memorial, once it was done I somehow managed to act like “old Jen” being face to face with everyone, and Graham somehow did the same.  I am not sure if our bodies were just cried out of tears and tired, but I found it easier to pretend that what was going on wasn’t really happening and we were just having a nice time visiting with loved ones that we hadn’t seen in a while.  Jokes were told, laughter was present, all while my baby’s picture sat next to a candle burning in his honor.

But now everyone is gone.  And Graham and I are left to figure out what our new normal is going to be.  Graham has decided to invest his time and thoughts into the beginning of popcorn growing season to keep him busy.  I, myself, am not sure what to do.  I have tried to come up with a list of things to keep me busy.  Work on the landscape, plant flowers, work on new invitation designs, do all those fun blog posts I have always wanted to do, plan a road camping trip, get a puppy, start exercising, and on and on.

However, the list seems so meaningless.  Right now, to me, they just seem like a list of things to do, just trivial tasks.  I should be in a NICU taking care of a baby.  That has meaning.  So, how can I possibly try to fill that same time wondering if I should plant gardenias or zinnias in my planter.

With everyone being gone, I now also have a lot more time to my thoughts.  Time isn’t being filled with conversations about anything other than the sad situation that became the reason for their presence.  Now, all I do is think about Laughton and I have that constant pit-in-my-stomach, lump-in-my-throat ache.  And I am quickly learning that my body is definitely not out of tears.

During the past week, I was able to occupy my time doing things FOR Laughton.  For his memorial.  For me to know that I was doing everything I could to say goodbye to him in as special a way as possible.

Now the week has passed, his memorial has taken place, and our loved ones have packed their bags and have headed back to their own homes and their own lives.

I am finding that anything I decide I have motivation to do still has to be for Laughton or I shouldn’t be doing it.… life should be revolving around his care right now, so by doing anything other than something FOR him doesn’t seem okay to me.  Somehow I am finding a way to tell myself that planting gardenias in my planter is indeed for Laughton.  That eating a piece of toast with peanut butter at breakfast is for Laughton.  Because the second I realize I am doing something that wasn’t designated for him, I crumble and feel terrible.

Mornings have been the hardest for me.  I wake up and wonder what I can possibly do in the day that would be as meaningful as if Laughton were still here.  I find myself staring at his picture on my phone for a good portion of the morning and then I usually decide that reading a book is the best way to go as I do not have energy for much else {and I do not know why I end up thinking reading is a good idea as I just end up bawling through the story}.

The hospital gave me a book called “Sunshine after the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother” and I am almost done with it because it has been so helpful to read.  It is a book compiled of stories from other grieving moms who have had a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or an early infant loss.  They tell their story and how they survived different feelings and situations.  I find myself saying, “Yes, that is exactly how I feel” quite a bit.  Although I cry, the stories certainly help me feel like I am not alone or that how I am feeling isn’t crazy {and it also gives me hope that someday this blog, and my story, will provide that same level of comfort to a grieving mother in a similar situation}.

For now, my life’s events {and seemingly trivial tasks} will just continue to be for Laughton.  I will continue to live, for Laughton.  Eventually eating my breakfast in the morning will not need to be dedicated to Laughton, and I realize that, but for now if taking a second to think about him before I take that first bite helps get me through that minute, the next hour, or the whole day, then that is how I am going to start finding my new normal.

Need to get caught up on the story?  Read past posts that take you through our journey surviving the loss of our infant son, Laughton.

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  1. Lauren says

    I stumbled upon your blog in random search. And perhaps nothing is truly random.

    I remember writing something so very similar… 6 years ago after saying goodbye to our lil’ Akeelah born too soon. Though I think as a grieving mother we often wish we were alone- that no one could ever know this journey- there is also great comfort knowing that others have walked, stumbled and survived this path. Your blog will provide comfort to someone- just as someone’s did for me 6 years ago.

    Wishing you peaceful moments as you navigate the journey ahead, keeping your sweet Laughton cradled gently in your heart.

  2. says

    Hi Jen – thank you for sharing this link with me. I am so very sorry for your loss. This begins the period that is the most difficult… everyone starts to go back to their lives and you … well, you just keep remembering and thinking about what should be… what could be.
    I am glad the book brought you some peace and encouragement.
    I am sending love and hugs your way! And if you ever need someone to listen, we are here for you.
    xoxo Alexa

    • says

      Thank you so much for your message, Alexa. I have joined your Facebook page for the book (thank you for pointing me in that direction), it has already been helpful just as the book itself was. I look forward to chatting with you more soon.

  3. says

    Jen, I pushed “post” too soon before! What I wanted to say was that Alexa alerted me to your blog post, since I am also a contributor to SATS. I am so so sorry for your loss. I remember how difficult the days were for me after my daughter Naomi’s burial and memorial service. Those were the last things I could do for her. Then I had to figure out my “new normal”. What you said about others’ stories giving you hope describes me, too. I needed to know that it was possible to survive. I wrote something on my blog that may be encouraging to you. I am praying for you tonight.

    • says

      Thank you so much for your message, Kristi. I read your blog….beautifully spoken and every word so true and meaningful. If I were face to face with you, I would take that hug for sure!


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