Friday, September 23, 2011

Growing Up

I finally had to do some rearranging in another of Hudson’s drawers in the dresser/changing table to make room for some of the warmer hand-me-downs we’ve received for Jackson. We’re straddling seasons right now, so I need enough room for both onesies and flannel shirts. This second drawer that I was rifling through contained a bunch of Hudson’s clothes, mostly jammies and then a bunch of things she hadn’t really worn in a while but that I hadn’t packed away before she died (some sweaters and tights that didn’t really fit her, etc.). As I was making room, I pulled out one of the sets of footed fleece jammies, the kind she wore every night. This particular pair was pink and covered with monkeys. It was an 18-months size. I stretched it out between my hands and marveled at how long it was. Was my girl really that tall when she died? She was growing, and growing up, so fast. Right in front of my eyes. And then she was just plucked right out of my world. One day, here. The next day, gone.

It is getting harder and harder for me to stand my regular forays onto Facebook. This seems counterintuitive to me. I had thought this would be hardest early on, right after Hudson died. And I will admit that since she died, I have blocked several of my friends from my news feed, those whose babies just felt too close to home. (I’m sorry to those of my friends in this category. I hate that it means that I have not been there for you over these past 16 months in the ways that you have been there for me. I wish it were different. I wish I were stronger). But lately, it has become harder and harder to bear watching Hudson’s contemporaries growing, and growing up, right in front of my eyes. They are all getting ready to turn three. Three seems so very old, vastly older than two. No longer a baby but a small child. Every day, there is a new post about the funny thing this child said or the funny thing that child did or this one’s new toy or that one’s visit to a Hudson place. I’ve said before that one of the hardest things to accept is having no idea what Hudson would be like now. And I am so angry that I don’t get to watch her grow up, that I don’t get to post about the funny thing she did today. And I am so envious, horribly envious, of all my friends who still get to delight in their children’s new feats every day. Their photos and funny posts are a constant reminder of all that we have lost, all that we continue to lose each day that those kids grow another day older. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it much longer.(And to my friends, please, please don’t ever censor yourselves on Facebook or otherwise because of me. This is just a fact of my life. I don’t want it to be a fact of yours. I’ve had to adjust to countless things in this world without Hudson—this is just another one.)

Having my parenting journey with Hudson end so abruptly has also upended my place in the parenting community that I enjoyed so much. A friend recently mentioned that I should write a book about parenting. My first reaction was that I don’t know anything about parenting beyond 17 months and 12 days of a child’s life. Babies who were born long after Hudson are now older than she was when she died. The moms to whom I should be giving advice about potty training and tantrums and preschool will instead be giving this advice to me. It’s not that I care about being the one in the know. It’s just that it totally redefines who I was in relation to those people, and every time I hear about something new those babies are doing, I am reminded that I am no longer the same mom that I was before Hudson died. I no longer have any advice to give because I have no experience with those things. And I should. I should.

I’m not doing a very good job of not worrying about what should and shouldn’t be today. She should be here, growing up. I should be biting my tongue over the outfit she picked out for herself this morning and laughing at her mispronunciation of a word.  We should be fawning over Jackson together.

Should, should, should.  But never, never, never.


  1. Mandy, I am so sorry. It is just loss upon loss upon loss.

    I hadn't quite grasped so clearly until just now, reading this, that every single relationship is altered in the wake of this catastrophic loss. Of course. It's not just the bereaved who changes but every bit of her relation to the world. I wish it didn't hurt so. I'm with you as much as I can be.
    xo Liz

  2. You should and she should.. it should be so different.
    I know you don't care about being the one in the know, but it doesn't stop you form wanting to know what life would be like with Hudson in your arms. There is nothing wrong with that, and in all honesty I imagine there really won't be a day in your life when you don't wonder what your daughter's life would have become. I did not know anything about Cullen's personality, and yet still I find myself wondering about him every single day.
    As for the face you already know my feelings there. It is too hard of a place for me to visit. I think the moms who created pages just to connect with other bereaved parents are on to a good idea, but still I just can't bring myself to do it. For now I leave my page there simply to connect with people who might reach out (all bereaved at this point). If they do I tell them email is best. I don't log on to my homepage at all.. I see it as a virtual minefield that I have absolutely no desire to wade into, so I understand what you are saying completely.
    Maybe try to take a stay-cay from the face.. keep your account there but don't post or go on your homepage for a month. It might do your heart a world of good.
    Thinking of you my friend...

  3. It is wrong. So wrong. Thinking of you.

  4. I hope you realize you are learning, still learning, as most will never have to learn, how to be the mom of a deceased child. I believe you started this blog about your learning, "Learning to live without her." You are learning, and that is something I've always been taught is a good thing to celebrate! You've made it this far, and it's only going to get beter, as your life continues, and you learn new things with your son! Keep learning, keep living and keep loving!!

  5. The chasm between 'should' and 'never' sometimes seems irreconcilable. How I wish she were here to keep amazing you with the new things she learnt and to fuss over her little brother with you. It's such a difficult thing to understand, how such a lovely little child can be 'plucked' out of the world. That is the perfect word, plucked.
    Like Leslie, I still wonder about my daughter every single day and I've got a lot less to go on. I think that, sometimes, it's just too hard to force all the 'shoulds' away. I think you are doing a very good job of an impossibly hard task x

  6. Hugs, Mandy. Been there, albeit in a slightly different way since I lost a second child and you lost a first. The hurt is profound, and the healing time is unbelievably long.

  7. You know, abruptly is exactly the word. Having it all one moment, and being devoid of anything the next. It's shocking, isn't it?

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can truly empathize. We have watched our son's contemporaries graduate, marry, have kids. You're right...your precious one should be here today.

  9. That's the thing (well, of the many things) that makes losing a child so lose your future and perpetually wonder, if you dare to go there, what would have been. It takes so much time to reconcile what should be and what is.

  10. I'm sorry, Mandy. So sorry.