Thursday, March 13, 2014

Life After Loss

Jonathan said something to me the other day, as Bauer Boys tend to do, that resonated deeply.

Even with all the excitement of party planning and teaching Owen to hold up another finger when asked his age, his birthday is an odd time for me. Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating the fact that this beautiful baby boy is here next to me. His very being was an answer to countless prayers, and one we weren't sure we would see. He is the calm after a storm in my parenting journey, but you can't help but think of the rain when you see a rainbow, right?

If you've been here a while, you know there was another baby between the Bauer Boys. I suffered a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with Owen and was told my child had passed away on the exact date he would be born a year later. As thrilled as I am that my three children are here, safe and sound and well, the ache is still there, too. It's a bittersweet time for us. I try to make Owen's birthday a fun day for everyone, but a piece of my heart is still grieving. When I finally let those emotions show through a few days ago, Jonathan asked me to remember.

He reminded me of what I said four years ago. He told me I stated that the most important thing anyone can do is not feel sorry for me and tiptoe around the situation, but remember. Remember that there was a life lost, and that life was my baby. As tiny and undeveloped as she was, she was knit together inside of my body. {note: we don't know, but my gut says girl.} She was my child when she was alive inside, she was my child when she wasn't, and she's my child in heaven watching over the five of us who aren't quite as lucky yet. It tears my heart to pieces to think about losing her, but I owe that to her. I owe it to my baby to remember that she was here, if only for a few weeks. That, my friends, is why I'm talking about her once again here on my little corner of the Internet.

If there's one thing I do not want as a mother, it's for the memory of my child to fade. Sure, I grieve the fact that she's gone, but I celebrate the life that was here, and the lives that came after.

It was not a coincidence that Owen was born on March 10. He was five days overdue, I was absolutely miserable, and I spent the morning of his birthday sobbing as I remembered where I was a year before. I believe with every ounce of my heart that this connection was meant to be. I was meant to have proof of what was in the form of what will be. After the storm of her loss, she sent me a rainbow I could hold. I am blessed beyond words.

A few months after we lost our baby, Jonathan and I planted a Japanese Maple tree in our front flower bed. We thought it an easy reminder of the memory of our child, and we loved the idea of having something we could actually watch grow year after year. Four years later it stretches far beyond the green metal pole that used to match its height. The trunk is strong and thick and the naked branches stretch upward. As I was reflecting this week, I sat on the front porch and looked at it. Tiny little buds were starting to form all over it. Life was beginning where a precious one ended.

Then, I continued noticing. Tiny shoots of green were forming on the pear trees at Nora's baby sitters' house, branches of oaks that were bare last week were dotted with hopeful leaves, dark purple blooms were peeking from their hiding places on the tulip tree beside my home. The sun is brighter, the air is fresher, and the sky is bluer. And I know why. I feel her presence in everything this time of year and I know it's because she wants to be remembered. Life after loss isn't always easy, but it's life. She helps me know that I am alive.

As much as I grieve the baby that only knew me from the inside, I am thankful for the ways she has taught me to love. And I'm thankful for the brother and sister she has sent along the way.

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Unknown said...

This is beautiful. Your babies here on earth will always have their guardian angel watching over them from heaven.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. We've known this loss, here, too. Mine would have been 36 this September, and let me tell you, the tears never really, truly, totally go away.

Which is how it should be.

Jessica Bauer said...

Thank you both! As hard as it can be to remember, remembering is extremely important to me.

Jamie said...

Breathtakingly beautiful

Jessica Bauer said...

Thank you so much, Jamie!