In French, you don’t say I miss you; instead, you say tu me manques, which means “you are missing from me.” I love that.
When you experience the loss of a baby, you quickly learn they are not only missing from your life for as long as you live, but they are literally missing from you. Our son was 30 minutes old when he grew his angel wings. I am reminded of him everywhere and in everything I do. I am unable to control what will tweak my emotions and remind me that he is no longer here with me.
At times, I notice that he’s gone when I am surrounded by people and other times when I am completely alone. Jasper’s presence is always around me; it is in the glow of the morning sunrise and in my tears that fall into my pillow in the dark of the night. He is everywhere because Jasper is part of who I am, and yet, he is missing from me at the exact same time.
Baby loss never makes sense.
Society is obsessed with so many things—pregnancy, babies, and statistics are just a few—but society is also blinded by many things, and baby loss is one of those.
Bereaved parents should be given an acting award. The moment they find out their baby has died, they instantly put on a mask—this mask becomes part of their daily makeup. Occasionally, they take off their mask, but most of the time they only make it through the day by making sure this mask remains on.
Society has this delusion that after a certain amount of time has passed, the lives of the bereaved parents suddenly return to normal. What most people do not realize is there is nothing normal about baby loss, no parent should ever have to bury their child, it is not the natural order—not the way things are supposed to be. Because of this, the life of the bereaved parents never returns to normal.
How can it when the biggest part of you is always missing?
There is always something constantly missing, always a weight that is carried around. You never feel like you are achieving all you have wanted in life, you feel like you should be doing more, yet something is pulling you back. You continue to work through the motions of the days that continue to pass, yet you constantly think about what you would be doing if your child was still by your side instead of in your heart.
Losing my son has taught me so many things, not only about life but about myself. My journey has taught me the true meaning of vulnerability. Doing all I have done and continue to do in Jasper’s memory has been and continues to be far from easy—it requires great strength and requires me to be vulnerable. One of the scariest and confronting things a human can do is to be vulnerable.
People believe being vulnerable shows weakness, but through experience, I have learned that being vulnerable is our greatest measure of courage and shows our greatest strength.
From my own experience and journey of baby loss, through the vulnerability I have shown and continue to show, I can tell you that vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, belonging, authenticity, strength, and courage. Being vulnerable is having the ability to show up and be seen when we have no control of the outcome. Showing vulnerability and being vulnerable is a scary journey, but when you live your life with the most important part of you missing, you have nothing else to lose and may be surprised at what you gain through the experience.
Some things do not get better . . . but we do. Baby loss is one of those things. Despite having someone missing from your life, every day we can get stronger. We can learn to live with our situations as painful as they may be. We can fix what we can and adapt to what we cannot.
Some of us will never fully be OK. I am one of those people, but I am here, I am trying and doing the best I can. My son has been missing from me for nearly four years . . . 44 months . . . 192 weeks . . . 1,357 days (and counting), yet I still have a lifetime ahead of continuing to have him missing from me and my life. Every day I wake up and decide to start my day is for him, for his memory. He will be missing from my life forever, but I will always create a legacy in his honor so that he remains with me forever.