The shift happened slowly when I wasn't paying attention. First I stopped crying every day, the happy moments crept in then one day was OK, then more good then bad, then my new normal. A term I hated until it was my reality. My grief journey is constantly shifting and keeps evolving. It's slippery and sneaky and drags Andy along too.
Very recently I found myself hysterically crying in the shower, crumbled on the floor, hopeful the water would muffle my sobs. Privately, I let my tears and heartache circle the drain.
In the months following Piper's death I cried everyday, sometimes all day. There was no discrimination, where I was or who I was with I let it happen. It was one of the fears I had early on that I would never stop crying. That I was so very broken that I was actually broken.
I think crying is therapuetic and I thank all of those of you who cried in unison with me. It was an honor and a tribute to my first born. The other night as I sat on the shower floor crying until my face was red I thought about all those things that I feared.
"I have a daughter, she's 6 months" I beamed at a parent of a patients. There is an entire blog post on how I would never not mention Piper in our line up but as my grief matures I find that sometimes I can't rip off the delicate stiches and explain to strangers how my blonde baby died before she even got the chance to leave her mark on this world. I feel awkward or can't cry another tear at work.
But here is a deep seeded fear all of us child loss moms have, people will forget. Time goes on and there's a natural expectation that you'll be alright. Perhaps you have another baby or clean up really good. I finally put a cap on crying in the grocery store but not my car it's free game. And I get it, I've thought to myself shape up Bennett but really deep down I'm scared that people will forget her little life because her physical presence is not here. I like to picture her with sassy pig tails causing a raucous with our tribe. It's why I casually mention that I have had two children and chit-chat about how the first go around I was just as sick. Why I feel weird to take off my Piper necklace and why I let Birdie sleep on my chest and type this blog soaking her head with tears.
Time moves on but there is a big piece of our hearts missing. I'm glad I'm a more presentable and tolerable human. Also, so relieved that I don't cry all the time and I can feel joy. Not force it, really just feel it. Pumped when I go days without Andy.
Do me a favor, don't forget our first girl. Don't forget all those babies who just didn't get their chance. It's sad and horrible and a really hard thing to think about. Time goes on but I still need y'all to hold her in your heart. Time goes on but she is burned in my soul and a part of me can't go on.
Rest easy Piper Kai.
Piper Kai Bennett
I will scream, sing and share her story may it be short. Our only child was born still at 36 weeks secondary to an umbilical cord accident. This is our journey about choosing life rather than existence.