I need to just rip off the band-aid and write, right? Well here I am and I have no idea what will come out, but what I know is this… I NEED to write. My heart needs it. My soul needs it. My fingers need it. It’s been impossible for anything to come out lately. I know a statement of the obvious being as my last blog was over two months ago. But every time I have sat down to write I find myself overwhelmed with too much to say and so I say nothing at all. A broken heart, I have recently learned, is not reserved for lovers. And I feel silly saying that because I have experienced enough grief to already know that truth. But I guess I forgot. Sharing this story makes it horrifyingly real and literally cracks my heart right open again. I can only imagine that this is how my sis feels everyday and that causes the lump in the back of my throat to grow and the tears to fill my eyes.
Rip off the damn band-aid, Jen.
On March 29th, my sister learned that her sweet baby girl, Aida Grace, whom she had been carrying for nearly 8 months no longer had a heartbeat. I learned of this while sitting alone in my car in bumper to bumper traffic on Highway 80. Talk about feeling helpless. Baby Aida was due to join our family this last Monday, May 6th. I know my sister was hoping she’d have been born on her birthday, May 9th. And secretly I had hoped she’d have been born on my mine, May 13th. But we would have also been happy with a Mother’s Day delivery being as both Lisa and I were Mother’s Day babies.
Instead she came on March 30th at 1:22am. My mom and I were on either side of Lisa encouraging and supporting her as she pushed and screamed with every ounce of her strength and courage and love, in order to deliver an angel. It was the rawest of my human experience. With tears streaming down all of our faces, our sweet angel was there before us still enclosed in the amniotic sac. And with great pain, comes great beauty. It was as if we were given a window into the only universe sweet Aida would know in this lifetime. Safely enclosed in her own little world.
It’s hard to make sense of it all when there are no solid answers. Sometimes this kind of thing just happens. What I know is that even in the womb she felt the massive amount love that already existed for her. What I believe is that there was something seriously amiss in her development and she knew that even with all the love it wasn’t the right time for her soul to join us in human form. What gives me peace is knowing all of our loved ones who have passed on, were there welcoming and celebrating her as she entered their world.
And as cliché as it might sound I believe everything happens for a reason. Aida Grace had purpose. And though we all grieve for the little lovie bug that we won’t get to watch grow into her own person, we know that we will have her spirit with us always. Reminding us not to be scared. Reminding us to trust and allow our intuitive abilities to guide us. Reminding us that we are stronger than we know.
Being alongside my sister as she delivered Aida shook me to my core, but it also healed me. I will always be able to see her as my little sis with her perfect pigtails sitting in front of me on my bike’s banana seat as I taught her to ride a two-wheeler. There were so many ways I could help her when we were young. But when she delivered my niece, Gianna and again with my nephew Geno… I remember feeling complete and utter helplessness. Like she didn’t need me anymore. When she delivered Aida, I felt the same helpless feeling but this time I also felt the importance of my presence giving her strength to do what had to be done. She did need me. And even though I couldn’t physically deliver the baby for her just me being there was enough.
I feel so blessed to be part of a family that doesn’t run from pain and sadness. Time and time again I watch us turn into each other and just be there. There is this mutual understanding that life can be really hard sometimes and in those moments you just shouldn’t have to walk the road alone. And for that I am grateful.
I know this loss will be with us always. I’d like to share a very poignant thought recently posted on facebook by a very talented poet friend of mine, Silvi Alcivar, when she experienced the one year anniversary of her mother’s passing:
“some thoughts about grief: this month marks the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s death. while life has come back to relative stability, and the loss has kind of “normalized,” there’s a part of me that still feels like she died 6 weeks ago. i’m pretty sure it will always feel like this, like there’s a crack in my heart that’s healing but splits open sometimes, all of a sudden, mostly when it makes little to no sense why or how. i have begun to refer to this phenomenon as “grieftershocks,” by which i mean grief aftershocks, little ruptures along the emotional fault lines that still need to release pressure. from previous experience with deep grief, i feel sure that no matter what happens, or how much time passes, these fault lines will remain, and sometimes they’ll quake. in a strange way, though they’re sometimes painful, i’ve come to be comforted by the quakes, the release of pressure, mostly because these grieftershocks are really essential reminders that yes, my mom is gone, but my love for her remains so strong and deep and powerful it will indeed shake me for all the rest of my days. mostly, i’m humbled and awed by the capacity of our hearts to forgive and heal and grow, to be so human and so alive.”
So yes we will all fall apart from time to time and then we will pick up the pieces and move forward, because what else are we to do really? We are here with lives to be lived. And we grow stronger with experience. And if a “grieftershock” (TM Silvi Alcivar) ever happens in your company just know that your presence is more than enough.