You have been on my mind a lot lately, Ryan. You've popped in to say hello in your special way quite frequently lately, and each time touches my heart now just as much as it did when we first lost you.
Recently, time has been like a rollercoaster for me. So full of highs and lows. A high point has been Tuesday morning yoga with your brother. He's getting so expressive and interested in what's going on around him. He's been so fun and chatty. It's becoming easier and easier to focus my attention solely on him during that hour class. I used to feel such sadness that I didn't get those classes with you, and last week, just as that sadness was creeping its way in, we sat down for a little circle time and sitting across from me was a little baby girl with a big, bright, butterfly on her onesie. It helped me smile and shake off the sadness. Of course you're there with us. You always are.
On Super Bowl Sunday I dressed Brayden in a football hoodie passed down first from your cousin to you. Last Super Bowl I dressed your bear in it. And so with Brayden snug in the sweater this year, it felt like you were at the party with us. A presence I really needed watching a little boy, nearly the same as you running around the party, smile on his face. Making everyone else smile with delight too. Same-age babies will always be a challenge for me. But I felt you there. And it helped. Thank you.
Recently I've had a string of tough days. Crappy sleep, combined with a baby brother who isn't being the world's most cooperative napper was starting to take its toll on me. Though I'm so grateful for the love and noise your brother brings to my life, I found myself longing for a bit of quiet. That's when I saw online that another loss mom was hosting a retreat in New York this summer. I missed out last Spring on the retreat in Winnipeg, so I was determined to make this one work... and I got in! It brings me great peace to know that even though it's in the pretty distant future, I've been given one whole weekend where I can turn off some of the noise and just be present with you. Because no matter how much joy and light and love Brayden brings me, I still need to be able to hold some space with you. On the application I was asked what the retreat means to me, and it was easily answered. The retreat would give me time to just focus on you. And that is time that I really need.
This past month has been tough, emotionally, for me. I've had low patience. I've been so quick to temper. Easily frustrated by the tiniest things. But I've recognized it. And I'm taking steps to find my calm and my peace again. I was reminded very clearly this month of the journey of grief. And the never-ending-ness of it all. I'll admit some days I breeze through and if you didn't really know me I bet it would look like I was "done" grieving. And then I'm slammed hard against the wall of grief as a harsh reminder that it doesn't work that way. So I have to do better at finding ways to grieve a little bit more often, so I'm not left dealing with such heavy loads that show up unexpectedly every once and a while.
Recently I read an article on a site called Postpartum Progress. It said:
"You make goals. You celebrate small accomplishments. You give yourself a break. You ask for help. You put yourself first. You climb up. You rebuild."
This spoke to me. It is so me. I'll probably write it out on paper and pin it up somewhere. I spend so much of my time now taking care of Brayden, I have to remember to take care of me too. And one of my favourite ways to care for me, is to find quiet time to sit peacefully with you.
Still missing you, 17 months later.