One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” It’s a simple line that describes my life so perfectly. When my throat closes up and I choke back tears, I think of this quote…and I think of my two triplets who are no longer here on earth. I am the poster child for living with grief.
October is an important month. Not only was it a year ago this month when our surviving triplet finally came home from the hospital, it’s also a month to reflect on my family’s loss. October is “National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month”. This month is usually associated with breast cancer awareness, so many people aren’t even aware of other causes in October. Did you know that 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage? That statistic blows my mind and it’s something that I kept tucked away in the back of my mind during my high risk pregnancy. Being so open with my triplet pregnancy and the deaths of Abigail and Parker, I’ve heard from many people around the world who have experienced their own loss. And just in the past two months, two of my friends tragically lost their own babies. I have often heard that losing a child is the worst possible grief you could go through…and I have to agree. Your children are supposed to outlive you, not the other way around. This month is a reminder that I’m not alone.
So how do I live with the grief? I allow myself to cry….and boy do I! As I like to say, crying is part of my new normal. I am constantly reminded of my two angels and I often find myself daydreaming about Peyton playing with her two siblings. Some days are tougher than others. Anniversaries and holidays are the worst, but over time, I have found that my grief has shifted. The days of asking myself “why me” are fewer and farther between. Instead, I find myself tearing up at the beautiful memories I have of Parker and Abby. The roller coaster motions of the triplets in my belly; Peyton and Parker holding hands in the Nicu; Parker looking at me as I told him it was ok to let go and join his sister in Heaven. It’s those memories that will have to last a lifetime for me. So instead of dwelling on the tragic events, I choose to cherish the wonderful moments.
As the warm summer air gives way to the crisp autumn mornings, October takes on new meaning in my life. Many people keep their own loss close to their heart. And much like infertility, child loss seems like a taboo subject. People are often afraid to ask how you’re doing or even bring up your child’s name. And I don’t blame anyone. Child death is a touchy subject, and for many, a very private matter. But after being so public about my triplets, I want Parker and Abby to always be in our conversations. I am thrilled when people ask me about my triplets and I am moved to happy tears when I hear someone say the names of my angels. It’s a simple reminder that they did exist; so full of life in their short time here. And I know Peyton remembers, thanks to a simple ritual. Every day, we say good morning to Parker and Abby. I grab the two picture frames and put them in front of Peyton’s face. As I say their names, Peyton instantly lights up. Her signature smile takes over her face as she looks at her brother and sister. Some days she touches the frame, as if she’s trying to reach out to them. Other days, she leans forward to give them a kiss. And it’s in that moment, when I’m reminded not to cry because it’s over….instead I smile because it happened.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to share your story of loss, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com We will dedicate another day in October to this very subject.
Thank you all for your incredible support.