I would like to say that losing a child turned me into an indestructible momma who will fear nothing because she’s already been through the worst.
But I can’t.
Losing my daughter turned me into a feather. What was once a smallish issue with anxiety snowballed into a big lump of fear that I carry with me through life.
Hadley died suddenly. One minute my husband and I were turning from isolette to isolette to isolette, marveling at our teeny triplets and the next we were looking at the sad eyes of a respiratory therapist explain what a pulmonary hemorrhage can do to such a tiny body.
I’ve never been able to shake that suddenness. The fact that one moment I was worrying about my c-section scar and eating hospital food for lunch again and then next I was experiencing the most heart-wrenching moments of my life.
I parent much differently after suffering such a loss than I would have beforehand. We definitely live for the day and play more and hug more and say I love you until everyone rolls their eyes. But I also fear more. So much more.
I smile and nod when my kids are balancing on the edge of danger and a well-meaning parent says “they’ll be fine.” Then I reel my kids because I’d rather not find out whether they will be or not.
My “they’ll be fine” instinct is gone. It floated away with the last flutter of my daughter’s lashes and I’ve given up on it’s return.
I hope they will be fine. I hope they are always always fine. That their tears are over the minor bruises and heartaches that come with growing up and that someday I’m a white haired old woman watching them discover the first of their grays.
I want to believe there will be no more blink-of-an-eye tragedies in our family but history has played the cruelest of tricks on my mind and I can’t seem to rewrite my thoughts. Living a carefree life is one more thing that grief and loss took from me. Over time I’ve learned that’s okay, because in it’s place has grown a fierce love of the present moments, the right here and now I have with my family.
There is no better time to hold them tight than when they’re right in front of me.
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