8 Years. So much has changed. Yet, so much remains the same.
This week my body and mind remember so much, that on any given day I cant seem to find the details.
I started my bereavement group almost 8 years ago. It had been 10 days since Delaney died. It had been 5 days since I was released from the hospital. This was the first time I was sitting in a room, face to face telling “strangers” our story. The first time we shared even an inkling of our story was not even 24 hours after she died, via social media and a phone call. A phone call that changed my life. This amazing woman Lisa, had a daughter Delainey, whom became a member of this club when she lost her daughter, Tylee. And she introduced us to a set of moms whom had lost their son, Luca. The first time at our grief group, was another mother’s first time, whom also had a Delaney.
At this bereavement group, this was the first time we had to tell our story out loud, especially so new in that new journey. You tell it through tears, snot, hyperventilating and in this fog that cant be described. I remember surveying the room…. There weren’t tissues…there were other families that were there. But why? Babies aren’t supposed to die. Why were families here? It was then that I started to understand this new club that we were apart of. This new space that didn’t feel right but knowing there were others, made it feel real.
The more and more we went to these meetings, we heard more and more stories. More and More babies names. More families devasted by the loss of their beautiful child(ren). I learned that tissues were there, just hidden. A way for you to not feel like you needed to suppress your tears. Each meeting you could tell your story. You skip yourself. It was a safe space. A space in time that you could share all of the things you wanted to. Without people looking at you with a pity. Or saying some of dumb things that *outsiders* of this club could say.
Sometimes we would share some of the awful stories that friends, family, coworkers would do or say to “help us move on”. Some days we would find joy and laughter in rejoicing positive changes with each others lives. My meetings became a pivotal spot in my process of gaining my breath back. My heart, in all of its broken form, started to mend. Gathering space for other peoples babies. Growing again. I worked through some of my hardest and darkest moments along side these women, men and their children. I learned to tell my story in a way that felt comfortable. In a way that I could manage to tell a stranger, regardless of the strangers feelings. I learned I didn’t have to shelter anything that I didn’t want to.
I have changed how I tell me story many times over the course of the past 8 years. And today I am blessed to have our two beautiful sons. Our rainbow babies. They love to share time and space with their sister that lives in the stars. At the age of 5, they portray her life better than most adults. Pure love, pure innocence and zero fear of talking about their sister, who died.
The story of Delaney has grown and evolved, just as my love for her has. She is not my daughter who died. She is my reason for getting up each day. She is the whole reason I become a Mama. She gave me strength I didn’t know existed. She gave me love that helped emerge my soul. She gives me peace on my hardest days. Because yes, even after 8 years, I still ache for her. A mothers love is endless. So that love will end when I do. I am so grateful for the time I had with her in my womb. The hardest pregnancy that I fought with all my might to get through. And this life, that I continue to fight with all my might, to get through. I tell you without my Delaney strength, there are many times I would’ve given up that fight.
8 years ago, I became a Mama. HER Mama. 8 years ago, I went through 27 hours of labor knowing that my 38.5 week old growing baby had died inside my belly. 10 days from her due date. 10. I remember the feel of her. I remember the fear of what delivery would be like before we knew she had died. I remember the shift in that fear of delivering her knowing she died. I remember that dropping to my knees while I sat there alone with the Sono Tech… I remember the feeling of my inner self leaving my body shell. It was like floating above my body looking in on someone I didn’t know.
I often tell people that have met me after the loss of Delaney, that I’m not the same person. There is this quote that says: “When my baby died, I was suddenly caught up in a tornado whirlwind, spinning around in circles and upside down, finally dropping at lightening speed back to earth, but in a totally different place from where I was first picked up, and unable to find my way back to the place I had been before. That place no long we exists.”
I am here with you, if you are a parent that knows this loss. After Delaney, we experienced a miscarriage. One I don’t often speak of. I don’t know if it is due to the amount of time that had passed since her. Or if my body didn’t allow me to connect. The loss, although hard, felt different to me. The time and space hadn’t allowed for me to ache as bad. That loss almost prevented me/us from having our boys today. In Delaney’s fashion, she sent us a message to TRY again.
8 years. 8 years old our beautiful daughter would be on May 17th. A day that gives me such love. A day that fills my emptiness with fullness. The days that lead up that day are hard. My body, My soul, My Heart, my inner space feels. It aches. It remembers. I get phantom arms. I carry the heavy weight of knowing my body failed. And then, her day comes. Delaneys day, our day. The day she became a daughter and I became a mother. The day that she was placed upon my chest. The most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on, became my world. I will always share her. I will always allow for her in this time, in this space.
To all families near and far, to all bereaved families near and far: I hold your children in my heart. The greatest of all of my accomplishments in life, becoming a mother is by far my best. I am who I am because of them. My three children and my lost bean.
My daughter died 8 years ago in her physical form. Her life will continue to be celebrated. He name will continue to be said long after I am gone from this world. Delaney Ann Miller: Meaning: 'Angel from heaven' or 'descendant of the challenger'. I am your Mama. You are my daughter. My first born.
I have a blood clotting disorder. I had a blood infection. And this claimed your life. My body failed me. I forgive my body. And thank you for keeping your brothers safe.
Delaney, my wish for you this year, is that you know how loved you are. That you know how missed you are. That you look down and smile knowing you are apart of us. A part of me. Thank you for choosing me to be your Mama. And sharing this space with me.