“I will always be jealous of people who got to meet their child alive”
“If meeting you means losing you, I wish we could stay pregnant forever”
We checked all the boxes we could with Jonah, or at least as many as you can after having already experienced a loss. We were present every day; Cassy spent special time with him in the evenings, just waiting to feel him move around in his little space. I got to feel him kick and push – things we never got the chance to do with Luke. I can tell you exactly how relieved we both felt when we heard his heart beating for the first time, knowing he was still there and as safe as he could be. But the list of things we missed is long.
We’ll never have first days of school or anything else. I’ll never play catch or soccer with him, and we’ll never go on a family trip beyond that hospital. His crib is still empty and his car seat still sits on a shelf in the garage. The things that burn my heart, though, are the most basic. I want to know what color his eyes were. Or if his hair would have changed color. I want to hear his voice and know what his cry would have sounded like, and hear his sweet baby coo when he was resting. To feel his grip on my finger. Those first things mean so much as first steps into fatherhood for me that I’ll never get over not having experienced them. I’m so excited when friends and family get to bring a new life into the world because I know how incredible these little lives will be. But my heart breaks knowing that Jonah won’t grow and play with any of them.
The blessings we have with something like this deserve to be counted in the same breath, though. I pay more attention to the feel of rain on my face and the sound of the birds outside my window. I watch the sun rise and set in a way I never would have if I hadn’t looked out the window in the only room I held my son, picturing the glow of the city scape between buildings. The brilliance so many of us take for granted we receive as gift because of our children. Those are gifts that will never leave; they can never be taken away. We don’t have many advantages as loss parents, but these are the ones I fall back on every day.
I make this confession and will make many more because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The purpose of providing this safe space is to give others who are grieving – be it as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle, or person close to someone who has experienced a loss as a way to put it out there without worrying about who is seeing them say it or what the recoil would be. This is freedom from the shackles of loneliness in loss. This is getting something off your heart that is keeping you from taking another step. This is a way to express something that you don’t have to do by yourself. True confessions of pain and heartache that you haven’t said anywhere else, out of the darkness. If you’d like to contribute to this series, type out what is on your heart and send it in a direct message to Diary of an Almost Father. No names, no identifiers. No way to track it back unless you want it to be. A safe space for all of us. Let’s help some people and help ourselves in the process.
I love you more than anything, sweet boys. Thank you for putting this on my heart #TeamJonah