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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve written my fair share of “What NOT to do” pieces on this blog. I’ve often wondered why it seems to be so hard to think before you speak, or to consider your audience. Pregnancy announcements are an uncomfortable subject to broach when you’re sharing the news with a loss mom. There are good odds that a loss mom will come away from the conversation thinking it was handled poorly. Remember, I wrote this gem about sucky pregnancy announcements.
I’ve been laid up and sick for the better part of two weeks, and haven’t done nearly as much writing as I’d like to. A couple of months ago, I shared a post about some of the writing I’d contributed to other blogs and I figured it’s a good time for me to share again.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, so it seems fitting that we’d get a very special memory of Brady this month. Brady John Bear (finally!) arrived! I placed an order with Molly Bears back in April, knowing that the wait would be 6-8 months. I found myself consistently checking their website, hoping I would see the status of our bear change from “ordered” to “in production”. That finally happened in September, and I couldn’t wait to see what our little bear would look like.