My precious Sophia,
Eight weeks ago we said goodbye to you, and eight weeks ago you heard me say “I love you” for the last time. It seems like it was so much longer than eight weeks. It feels more like eight months.
When you died it felt like my world stopped. It felt like I stopped. The person that woke up each morning didn’t feel like me. It was as if the real me was frozen inside of a shell of sadness and grief. The girl who once was an extrovert now dreaded leaving the house. The girl who once loved to laugh now could only cry.
But the last two weeks mommy has begun to feel like the icy shell around her was starting to slowly defrost. I think it began the day I was able to go to an orphanage and hold lots of other babies. While I held those sweet babies I thought of you, of course. But instead of it making me completely depressed, it gave me hope that one day I would be able to hold another one of my babies in my arms. It gave me hope that one day God would give you a brother or a sister. That same day I met with your doctor, Dr. Chen, and we spent a few hours talking about you. Overall, it was just a great day.
A few days later mommy had some friends over to our house and we worked on a craft. Did you know that before I knew I was pregnant with you I did a lot of crafts? In fact this blog used to just be a craft blog. But then I found out about you, my precious girl, and all I wanted to write about was you. While my friends were over we talked a lot about you, but we also laughed. And I remember being very aware of how good it felt to laugh again. It felt so good to be with girl friends and it felt so good to be creative again.
But as quickly as I felt that goodness, it was drowned out with guilt. I felt guilty that I was laughing and smiling again. I felt guilty that I didn’t feel consumed by grief.
I think it’s really normal for mommies like me to feel guilty. First we feel guilty that somehow we caused the medical problems that led to our babies’ deaths. We think that maybe we ate something, or didn’t eat something, that caused our babies to be sick. Then we feel guilty when our babies are in the NICU or PICU because we see you getting stuck with needles and filled with tubes. After you pass we feel guilty about everything: Did I tell her I love her enough? Was she scared when she died? What if I could have done something to save her? What if we had made different medical choices, would she still be here? The guilt goes on and on…
And now, eight weeks after you leapt into Jesus’ arms, I feel guilty again.
I feel guilty because I’ve been thinking about writing blog posts that aren’t about you. Mommy is trying to make her life better by exercising and eating healthy. I’d like to share that journey on this blog, but I feel guilty. I feel like people will think I’m a bad mom or that I didn’t love you. I’m afraid people will tell me, “It hasn’t even been two whole months yet, how dare you write about and do things that aren’t only about Sophia.”
I’m feeling guilty because this past week daddy and I tried fostering a dog, and due to the doggy’s high maintenance personality, after two days I found myself looking at your picture and thinking “I’m so sorry I haven’t been thinking about you more.” I felt guilty that I had allowed something to come into my life that was taking away from my “think time” with you.
I feel guilty that I don’t cry myself to sleep every night anymore, only some. I feel guilty that I’m starting to forget some of the details about you and about your 47 days on this Earth.
So, so much guilt.
But amidst all this guilt, I try to think of you and what you’d want for my life. I try to remember that if you loved me like I think you did, you would never want me to spend each day suppressing moments of happiness or feeling guilty. You’d want me to always remember you, yes, but to try and move forward and make myself an even better person than I was before. You’d want me to have other babies and you’d want me to try to only dwell on the fact that you are perfect and whole in Heaven now.
So Sophia, I’ve decided to start writing about my new journey—the journey to healthier living. I hope that I can make you proud and I look forward to continuing my letters to you each week. I love you so much, and even though your death brought so much sadness into my life, I thank God every day that He let me have you for 9 months and 47 days.