Today was my first holiday without Jonah. Technically there was Valentine’s Day, but I barely celebrate that anyway and was still so deep in the pit of grief, I don’t even really remember it happening. So, I’m counting today as my first.
As we were getting ready to drive to my brother’s house for lunch, I couldn’t help but think about how I should be dressing my fussy newborn in his brand new Easter outfit that I would have shopped for last week. We should be buckling him into his car seat and wrangling both him and the desserts I made, but instead, we left only with sweets. I debated taking my Jonah Bear, but I wasn’t sure if that would be helpful or just a sad reminder that I only have a bear, not a baby. In the end, I decided not to bring him, and then felt guilty for leaving him at home.
I had not been to my brother’s since I was pregnant at Christmastime. It was hard to return there not pregnant and with no baby, but seeing my wonderful, supportive family members made up for any difficulty in making the trip.
From my own experience today and from posts and updates I’ve read by others, I know that grief will just always be bigger on holidays. Special days that are made for holding your family close will just always be harder than normal days.
Grieving with grace is something I’ve been working on, ever since a fellow loss mom on Facebook told me that I was going through the death of Jonah “with grace and love.” That comment struck me as odd, because I don’t feel at all graceful…can there really ever be grace in messy, unpredictable grief?
In my article on SheKnows.com, I described what I decided “grieving with grace” means:
Grieving with grace doesn’t mean that you’re not fumbling around, reaching out for whatever will hold you up for a minute; family, friends, books, the words of others.
It means you’re being gentle with yourself. Allowing yourself space to be sad, or be angry, or lonely, or bitter, or whatever it is you’re feeling in that moment.
It’s acknowledging the fact that you’re going through life with the heaviest of hearts, and doing what you can to care for it with soft hands. It means that you’re doing whatever you can to practice self-love, whether that’s getting a massage, taking a bath, reading for an entire day in bed, coloring, writing, or whatever it is that comforts and heals you just a little right now.
So today, on this first holiday without Jonah, I allowed myself to feel broken. I let the hole in my heart feel as big as it needed to. My son isn’t here on this special day, and that sucks…it sucks a lot. So, I’m letting it suck, and attempting to give myself the space and gentleness I need to feel this way on this day.
And now, because my heart has had enough on this beautiful, sunny Easter Sunday, I’m going to plop down in front of my T.V. and watch “The Great British Baking Show”, because I don’t have the capacity to do anything else or be anything other than tired and grieved.
And that’s okay.