I have been a loss mama for a year and a half now - and one thing I have learned from my own experiences and from my interactions with other loss mamas is that loss anniversaries are hard. It is a frequent topic on loss communities - how to deal with the emotions that surround the day, ideas on ways you can honor you baby, etc. It is very comforting to have a safe place to express your feelings on a day that is forever etched in your mind - but probably not many other people's mind.
The thing about anniversaries - is that you don't know how you are going to be. Are you going to cry nonstop and not want to get out of bed? Are you going to want to continue on your life - business as usual? And what happens one year doesn't mean that is how you are going to feel the next year or the year after that.
This is my first anniversary of Wren's death. "One year ago" has been the theme of this week. So far I haven't thought too much about the actual time we found out she died -but more the happiness and excitement we were feeling a year ago about the addition to our family. I remember feeling that I was past the point of too much worry with my pregnancy. I remember feeling safe. I remember happily going to the midwife appointment that Friday afternoon and realizing it was the first time in my pregnancy that I was super anxious and scared about something going wrong. And then I subconsciously try to stop myself from remembering the next few days and weeks. Those experiences and feelings are still so very raw.
All week long I have been a little afraid of my feelings. So much of my life is spent trying to be in control of my feelings and to "keep calm and carry on." It can be scary to allow the thoughts and feelings to wash through me. So I knew that I needed some time alone to be with my thoughts and feel the emotions that bubbled under the calm surface. My natural inclination was to get outside and surround myself with the environment I feel the most grounded and calm. Yesterday I took the day off work and went hiking and birding. It was wonderful. Even though I spend a lot of time outside - I so rarely have time alone outside where I am not focused on a task for work. I meandered around the woods and took my time listening to the gorgeous soundtrack provided by the birds, the wind, and the trees. I watched birds through my binoculars that I normally wouldn't have spent too much time on because they are "common". And then I sat for quite a while and soaked up the gorgeous spring sun. I allowed myself to think thoughts that came in my mind - but for the most part I just enjoyed my surroundings more than I have in years. I thought some of the past year or two - or really the past 3.5 since I have had Fisher and the struggles we have been through. But in that environment I felt grateful. It hit me that I have learned so much over the last few years and I am grateful. Obviously I wish the events would have happened differently but I am grateful for the compassion I have been given and also the compassion that I have learned. For those moments in the sun I felt gratitude towards my two babies that I have lost and for the lessons they taught me. I really do feel that they have made me a better person and they have allowed me to see the good in so many other people as well.
I decided during my time out in the woods that I will make this my anniversary tradition - birding and hiking. It feels right and in such a busy life it is so nice to have the time to slow down and be.