Just over three and a half years ago, time stood still. The sound of a thousand horses hooves beating against the ground came to a sudden halt. The silence was deafening. My life changed forever. The lives of my partner, of our family and friends changed too.
We didn't enter into the journey of parenthood with the expectation that death will preceed birth, but for too many of us that is the reality. After previous early term losses as well, the depth of this loss took on an even heavier weight. We wouldn't get to meet our son alive.
Keenan's death has affected my parenting, my confidence, my hopes and dreams. It has affected my sleep, my sense of self, tested my strength, resilience and how easily I let my emotions flow...oftentimes for fear that freedom to 'feel outwardly' may give way to a torrent of feelings I'm unable to comfortably navigate, just yet.
I cannot say that the entire experience has been negative, dark or depressing. Aspects of the journey have been empowering and enlightening. Making the decision to share with other's about our losses, most notably Keenan's - online through our photographer, a memorial picnic table and trees planted in his name - we created a circle of security, a new community, a conduit for support. These give way to a opportunities for conversation, questions, understanding, hope, silence and love which gives ongoing peace to my soul and brings warmth to my heart.
Looking ahead, I am glad to hear Keenan's name often, have his image alongside our other children's in the gallery on our wall and to have him continue to be recognized and included as a child in our family. I would never wish the loss of a child on anyone but I hold dear the continual blessings that come from our loss. I have been enriched in ways I could never have imagined.
I embrace the hard days as much as the everyday because its all valid. All of my feelings are real and must be honored for just what they are, however they present themselves. Not all of the hard days stem from my losses, some of it is aggregated over time and exhaustion coupled with the stressors of life. I take each day as it comes... grieving never really stops, it just changes form. My losses don't define who I am anymore than any other aspect of my life. Rather they are part of a bigger picture that makes up my story. I take time everyday to remember because one of my biggest fears is forgetting. Not that it happened but for some of the small details, the little memories that I associate with Keenan. Those memories keep me feeling...