Life After Loss

5 Things I’ve Learned

I’ve spent a year in the trenches as a loss mom.  In that year, I’ve learned a lot about how to navigate this difficult course, as I’ve had successful (and not so successful) interactions with others.  I started this list a while ago, and slowly added on to it throughout the year.  Some of them are for loss parents, some are for the general public that interacts with loss parents, and some are for both.

Anyway, here’s my collection of 5 things I’ve learned in my first year as a loss mom:

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Brady John · Life After Loss

365 Days

It’s been a whole 365 days since Brady was here.

A year passed, and we made it through all the firsts.  In some ways, it feels like a new chapter opened today.  I no longer have to anticipate the unknown of any holiday or anniversary.  I’ve been through one of them already.  I learned that sometimes the anticipation of the date or holiday was worse than the actual day.  Of course, there were plenty of days that were unexpectedly hard too.  Moving into the second year, I know it doesn’t mean that I’ll react the same with each holiday or anniversary as I did with the first one.  There is some relief in knowing that I made it through this one horrible year.  And if I can make it through that, I can make it through anything.

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Brady John · Life After Loss

Happy 1st Birthday, Brady John!

Up until the morning of Sunday, January 14th, I had every intention of celebrating Brady’s first birthday that day.  Though he was born on the 15th, I figured that had he lived to see his first birthday, Sunday would’ve been the day we had people over to celebrate.  I doubt we would have had great turnout for a party on a Monday night.  However, when we woke up that day, we decided we’d rather visit and celebrate on his actual birthday.

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Brady John · Life After Loss

The Month of Brady

January is here and I am now fully engulfed in what I am unofficially calling “the month of Brady”.  Brady was born and died last January, so there are a lot of contrasting emotions wrapped up into this one month.  January 2017 was both the happiest and saddest month of my life.  I went into the new year last year oblivious to what was about to happen.  The only thing significant about January was supposed to be our move to our new house.  You all know how that went (and if you don’t, check this and this out).

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Life After Loss

The Schmitz Family and Other Holiday Phenomena

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, and Christmas has come and gone.  It was actually not as bad as I thought it would be.  It seems the anticipation of how bad it was going to be might have surpassed how bad it actually was.  At least I didn’t get myself as worked up about Christmas as I did about Thanksgiving.  That’s not saying it didn’t suck, knowing that we should be celebrating in a totally different way with an adorable little man.  I’ve tried consciously to fixate less on the “shoulds” and instead focus on our reality.  That helped me get through those couple tough days.

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Life After Loss

When TV Gets It Right (And Wrong)

I watch a lot of TV.  If you can call TV watching a hobby, it’s my number one.  I’ve recently watched two shows that address child loss, and I couldn’t have more different feelings about the two.  We’re going to be talking about ER (circa 2005 specifically) and This is Us.  If you’re not caught up on either show (I’m referring to This is Us more than ER.  If you’re not caught up on something from 2005, that’s not my problem.), read no further.  I warned you.

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Life After Loss

Thanksgiving: The Epilogue

It’s almost the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m going to officially put Thanksgiving into the category of “things that were not as bad as I thought they were going to be”.  No one asked me what I was thankful for, and no one got punched.  When I was younger, that was actually a “tradition” someone started.  I don’t remember who, but I do remember going around the table and everyone being expected to share.  Let’s just be thankful that little tradition didn’t make its way into 2017 Thanksgiving.

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Life After Loss

Thanksgiving: A Most Insulting Holiday

If you’ve landed here because you’re looking for an encouraging, uplifting holiday blog post about how “there’s always something to be thankful for”, you are in the wrong place.  Go ahead and close your browser window.  This one is not for you.  I’ll get it out of the way and say that, of course, there are some things I am thankful for, but that’s not what this is about.  This is about how disrespectful it is for others to shove their thankful agendas down my throat.

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Life After Loss · Pregnancy

The Trauma of HELLP

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 10 months processing the trauma of losing Brady.  Weekly appointments with a therapist, grief support groups, grief hours, journaling, and, of course, blogging.  Losing a child is a horrific, unnatural kind of loss.  Even if I you haven’t experienced it yourself, I probably don’t have to tell you this.  What I have started to realize is that I haven’t scratched the surface of processing some of the other traumas I’ve experienced.  The fact that a significant date is looming, less than 2 months away, is making this all the more clear.

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Brady John · Life After Loss

Remembering in Special Ways

I remember Brady John every day (and pretty much all day).  We all have ways to carve out time for the ones we love each day, whether those people are with us or not.  I visit Brady’s grave most days.  I look at photos of him (my phone’s lock screen and background are all Brady).  I think about him.  A lot.  These things have become a part of my routine.  Sometimes, it’s really nice to do something special in Brady’s memory, something out of the ordinary.

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