Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hole In My Heart

Hudson would be 21 months old today. Rounding the final bend into her second birthday. I can only imagine all the incredible things she’d be doing now—making full sentences, pronouncing syllables she couldn’t say before, eating popsicles, maybe using the potty and sleeping in a big girl bed by now. Who knows what else? I hate that I have to wonder.

I constantly have to remind myself that it’s actually been 21 months since she was born. Not 17. In my mind, it has still only been 17 months and 12 days since she was born. It’s like my entire sense of time stopped the minute her heart stopped.

I wrote before about how it still feels like this just happened yesterday. At that time, I was talking about how easily I could be pulled back into the horror of the four days we spent in the hospital before Hudson died. As hard as that is to deal with, what is even harder at times is that it sometimes still feels like Hudson was just here. It feels like just yesterday that I was feeding her dinner, giving her a bath, reading her stories, laughing at her silliness. I look at her pictures and it seems like those moments just happened and, even worse, it still feels like more are waiting just around the corner. One of the mamas I’ve met in an online community said, “I think in a way bereaved parents spend their whole lives waiting for their children.” Nothing could be truer.

Maybe I should feel grateful for this. Maybe it just means that her presence is still very much with me and I should appreciate it. But it is hard, so hard, because it’s also just a constant reminder that she’s NOT REALLY HERE. As I’ve written before, I keep telling myself that if I could just accept that she is really gone, that she is never coming back, maybe the pain will start to recede, just a little bit. I have wondered if that’s what has been happening in the last week—maybe some sense of acceptance is starting to make its way into my heart and mind. But as soon as I start to think that, I react and think, “NO! I won’t accept it! If I accept it, that means I have to start letting go.” This has got to be starting to sound like a broken record to everyone reading, but it’s what I am really struggling with right now.

My new friend, Judy, another grieving mama who lost her beautiful 29-year-old son exactly 1 month after Hudson died, posted some of the words from this song by Jewel on Facebook the other day. I listened to the song and read the lyrics and thought what a truthful expression it was of this terrible thing they call grief.

On this first day of September, as my magic season begins to ease its way in, I listen to it and dream of the day when this hole in my heart will feel more like a treasure and less like an abyss. I love you, my sweet Hudson.

The Shape of You, by Jewel

September settled softly
Leaves are starting to fall
I recall, last time you were here
Your laughter a melody that lingers still

There's a hole in my heart and I’ll carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing lonesome ending kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you

Time stealing swiftly
Children having children of their own
And around life's merry-go round goes
And there you are wanting what you cannot hold

There's a hole in my heart and I’ll carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing lonesome ending kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you

Even though my heart aches
There's a smile on my face
Just like a window to heaven
There's a light shining through

This hole in my heart and so I’ll carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing lonesome ending kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart
There's a hole in my heart
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you


  1. Mandy -

    Jewel performed this song at the Emmys and I thought of you and almost sent you the link - I am glad that you found it.

    Andrea Rose (fka Schrag :))

  2. I wished I could take your pain away.

  3. You, Ed, and Hudson are still in my thoughts daily. Wishing there was something I could do to help....

  4. Oh Mandy, I so wish I could say something to help ease your suffering. There's just nothing to say though. Life is unfair. Hudson should be here. You shouldn't have to accept that she is gone. And although rationally, we all know that we have to accept what happens in life and move forward, it's not as simple as that. Thinking of you xoxo

  5. A beautiful song. I wish you weren't hurting so. Love you.

  6. She was just here. I look at pictures we took of our son this spring and it doesn't seem like it was more than a couple of weeks ago we were taking those pictures. I see the pictures of Hudson taken this spring and wonder how it is possible for her to be gone when those pictures are so alive and recent, just like the pictures we have of our son.

    I think there has to be a way to keep Hudson close and never let her go and not have to feel immense, crushing pain. Because when I think of you letting her go, when I think about letting my son go if I were ever in this awful situation, I think hell no don't let her go. There's no need for that. Maybe that's what you have to do, not figure out how to be okay with letting her go, but figure out how to keep her close without the pain. Let go of the pain, but don't let go of Hudson. I don't think there is any way for that to happen except for with the passage of time.

    When I think of time and holding close what is most dear to us, I think of Robert Frost's poem:

    To Time it never seems that he is brave
    To set himself against the peaks of snow
    To lay them level with the running wave,
    Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low,
    But only grave, contemplative and grave.

    What now is inland shall be ocean isle,
    Then eddies playing round a sunken reef
    Like the curl at the corner of a smile;
    And I could share Time's lack of joy or grief
    At such a planetary change of style.

    I could give all to Time except - except
    What I myself have held. But why declare
    The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
    I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
    And what I would not part with I have kept.

    Why let Hudson go to time? Keep her close. Let time take the grief and feelings of trauma over those 4 awful days. Keep Hudson, the sound of her voice, the touch of her hand, the joy of her existence tucked safely away forever.

    I am so sorry you are on this terrible journey. I wish I had a hundred pictures of her you had never seen to put in a photo book for her birthday. Better still, I wish this awful thing had never happened.

  7. “I think in a way bereaved parents spend their whole lives waiting for their children.” It is true for me as well. I'm learning with each passing day that longing for my child is an innate part of mothering. How can we not want to hold, nurture and love our children?

    If you're a broken record, then maybe we should start our own band! Everything you describe-fighting acceptance of your loss, the joy and pain that memories of our children bring- are processes every mother who's lost a child has described to me. Grief is not a linear process. It is a spiraling roller-coaster with trapdoors. Please try not to be hard on yourself. It seems as though your feeling and expressing grief in its most honest form.

    Be good to yourself.


  8. I definitely feel as though a part of me is still waiting. It is even in my blog header because I feel I've been waiting all this time. Waiting for my other little girl to be restored to me.

    I think I understand what you mean about those days in hospital. It does not take much to be whizzed back there. I still catch myself writing 2008 when I sign and date things, as though time hasn't moved on since that day. Strange how it can seem to simply stop.

    I wish that you didn't have to wonder what Hudson would be doing now. I wish you didn't have to find that balance between holding on to your little girl and letting her go.

  9. Oh, Mandy. It makes me so sad. I hope that the hole will one day be filled with memories that are healing and not hurtful.

  10. Hugs, Mandy.

  11. I LOVE that you and Judy have discovered each other. I love you both...Mary Henry

  12. There is no name for a parent who has lost their child.If a friend lowers her voice a bit to tell us "she is a widow". we all wince and know what that entails.there isn't even a word for what has happened to you. the entire sentence is whispered and we dont cringe, but we recoil in our hearts and tear up for you... "their baby died."it stops us all , to think and pray. i am very sorry for your loss.i wish there was anything anyone could say or do.

  13. I am so sad for your broken heart. I have lost a sister and my dad and the healing still is painful. I cant imagine your pain and loss. I grieve just reading your pain. My heart breaks for you and I pray for your strength ewach day. Memories are good and keep us smiling. A young angle in heaven forever watching over you. Just imagine the wonderful reunion one day you will have. My prayers are with you...