In Response

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths a narcissistic person will go to garner sympathy. Unfortunately, since Sloan’s death, we have experienced a few who’ve used him for just that. 
Two days ago, a shop owner chose to randomly message another. She preyed upon her emotions by body shaming her for her weight and telling her to do something incredibly profane. It was vile behavior and the message was exposed to the handmade community in an attempt to warn others of this persons true colors. Many of us commented in support of the woman who was body shamed, expressing how disgusting the words of the other were, and that it was unacceptable. We banded around our friend, we stood up for her and showed that we were NOT okay with this. 
I had briefly spoken with the woman who said these terrible things, in a private message. We talked about her actions towards the other shop owner, and we had both been calm and tepid in our conversation. I had expressed it would be wise to simply apologize for her words and try to make it right. She had seemed as if she was considering it. Yet instead, this woman yet again messaged our friend body shaming her further. 
The very next day, the same antagonist sent her teenager into a large Facebook group of women in our community to harass and body shame yet again. She attempted to pick fights, called names, insulted people’s looks, people’s children, people’s age, and used plenty of disgusting language. Her comments obviously attracted attention and response. Many of us told her to knock it off, that she was over the top, that she was making the existing situation far worse, and that she was far too young to be behaving such a way towards adult women. 
She was removed from the group as a result of her behavior. Hours later, her mother, the original antagonist, posted an outlandish live video on her Instagram. In it, she behaved erratically, crying fake tears, claiming she was bullied, that her daughter was bullied. She then crossed a major line. Preying on my recognizable name in our community, she named me, singling me out and claiming I had threatened harm on her child. This in itself was an absurd lie, everyone had seen I had not said such a thing, and everyone knows I never would. She then brought Sloan’s death into it. Crying and SCREAMING that “HE DIED!!!!!”, that she had “supported us”, and how heartbroken she was. 
Now, let me break this down. Before this week, I did not know this woman. My only interaction with this woman has been reading the terrible things she and her daughter said to another shop owner, commenting several times how appalled I was about it, and that previously mentioned short conversation with her. There were over 1k comments left about her actions in that group. Over 800 other shop owners and brand reps expressed their anger and shock at her behavior. Some were a bit extreme, but most of us were pretty tame and simply defending our friend.
This woman chose to single me out because my name is a very well known one in our community as a result of Sloan’s death. This woman lied about me in an attempt to appear a victim and tarnish me. This woman preyed on people’s emotions and attempted to garner sympathy by bringing up MY child’s death. This is vile. This is horrendous. This is WRONG. 
I am saddened by the last few days. Seeing a shop owner friend be shamed and insulted for her weight, knowing how deeply it affected her. Body shaming is never okay. It is damaging, it is taking advantage of a persons insecurities and using them as a weapon. And when a woman body shames another woman, this behavior sets us ALL back. We cannot accept this. 
Seeing even a VERY small about of people still supporting the actual bully is disheartening. Seeing how successful this woman was in her attempts to hurt others is disheartening. I am also deeply saddened to know that another shop owner, another member of this community, a community I love and support so dearly, could exploit my child’s death this way. 
I am sorry for anyone she has affected with her actions. I am sorry for her, because she is not sorry herself. 

While He’s At Work

Only a few months ago, when your daddy would have gone to work for the day, I’d be rocking you for your mid day nap. I’d be singing you “No Ones Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses. It was your favorite, I started singing it to you while you were still in my tummy. You would gaze up at me, holding the neck of my shirt and studying my mouth as I sang each note. 

Later, your brother and I would wake you from your nap and the three of us would play for a bit. Mostly I’d be watching in awe at how much the two of you adored each other. The sun rose and set in the bond you shared, and there was never a moment I felt more complete or accomplished in my life, as when I watched you two together. After play time, dinner, and baths, we would begin our bed time routine. Rowan and I would sit on his bed as I held you. We would discuss everything we did that day, and you would sit quietly, listening intently. We would hum the sunshine song, and then kiss you goodnight before placing you in your crib. We’d turn out the light and close your door, and Rowan would say “Goodnight baby Sloan.” 

Today was your daddy’s first day back at work since you left this world. His first work day, since your birth, that I wouldn’t spend with BOTH of my babies. Today I busied myself with distraction. I milled about, cleaned, worked, and talked on the phone. All so that I wouldn’t focus on how drastically different my days are without you. 

Tonight while your daddy was at work, I did not rock you, I did not sing to you, I did not watch you play. I did not feed you, or wash your hair. I did not tuck you in. 

My routine is now much different. When I would have once held you, I now I hold the box with your ashes. 

Capture Your Grief

October 1 begins Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 3rd marks 3 months since Sloan’s death. 

On Sunday I will begin participating in the world wide #Captureyourgrief2017 project on my Instagram @lifeofderosiers and here on the blog. This years theme is “Their Light Shines On”, only fitting for the year we lost Sloanie. 

A fellow child loss mama puts this project together every year in order to help grieving parents express, honor, and document our grief and healing in hopes to raise awareness. Each day of the month of October is given a different subject for us to relate to and build upon to express our grief. As you know I have documented my journey through loss since day one without Sloan, so this project is dear to my heart. Please feel free to follow along if you aren’t already. đź–¤

Cause and Effect

I have battled my own mind for most of the day, wanting to write about having finally been given Sloan’s toxicology results. I wanted to express what this feels like. I wanted to express how everyone thinks being told a cause of death should be “closure” and  how, for us, in every way- it is not. 

It took twelve weeks for the person at the other end of my weekly phone call to the M.E.s office, to say “Yes we have results”. Twelve weeks for her to finally be able to say “It is documented as Sudden Infant Death”

 I had expected her to tell me they had no results yet, like every other call I had made, so I had called while I was home alone. I heard those 7 words she said, and then I was underwater. Everything else she said was muffled, almost inaudible. She said something about how sorry she was for our loss. I couldn’t absorb anything else, so I said “Thank you” and hung up. I was shaking, my chest felt shallower than usual. My eyes stung and my knees felt weak. I was alone. 

I thought about what this meant. How we’d pretty much assumed and expected these would be the results. How despite that, it still felt so fresh and wounding to hear. SIDS is a diagnosis, a cause. But it is not closure. 

It is not just suffocation that causes SIDS. Babies that die of SIDS often have an undetectable brainstem abnormality that prevents them from responding appropriately to a lack of oxygen. Some babies can’t recognize this lack of oxygen correctly, so they don’t wake up and move or move the item obstructing their breathing. It could have been the blanket. It could have been the reason he didn’t move the blanket. SIDS can also be caused by respiratory issues following a recent cold. Sloan had been sick two weeks prior to his death. He’d had what we assumed was ananaphylactic reaction to something a week prior to his death. 

We will never know. We will never have anything but “Sudden Infant Death” to blame. So please, do not tell us how great you think it is that we can “finally move forward.” Don’t tell us you’re hopeful this is the closure we needed.  Try to understand that this is a bittersweet step in this journey. This is another reopening of the wound, it is another wave crashing down. Our baby just didn’t wake up. He just, didn’t wake up. There is no closure in that. 

From One Grieving Parent to Another

 Since Sloan’s death, I have been contacted by thousands of people. A vast majority have been messages of support, kind and uplifting words from those who were impacted by his story. But a fair amount of messages have been sent from other parents of loss, and I’ve wanted to write something here for them. 

 I know. I know what it feels like. To be angry, to be distraught, to be lonely, to be devastated, to be broken. I understand the thoughts you have that you don’t verbalize, the places your mind goes when you’re quiet. I have felt the weight you carry, I am still carrying my own. 
I know what it’s like to carry on a conversation about your child stoically, silently screaming “don’t cry, push through” to yourself. I have let someone speak for quite some time and realized I’ve heard nothing they’ve said. I understand the inner conflict of needing company, and yet wanting to be alone.  I know it’s easier to let the tears fall when you’re by yourself, that it’s too difficult to let your guard down when you’re not.

I understand that your grief consumes you, even when you’re enjoying yourself. We are now a part of something we never asked for, walking a path we did not choose. Each new day is uncharted, and yet they all start and end the same for us.  
I want you to know that I get it. 

The Working, Grieving Mother 

Before last week, I hadn’t worked since the morning of July 3rd. The night before, I had put Sloan to bed and settled in to working on orders. He kept fussing and because I was wanting to get back to work, I gave in and laid him back down with his favorite blanket in his hand. I worked on orders tediously for several hours, and then Justin and I checked on the boys before heading to bed. It was the first night in 7 months that Justin slept in our room rather than Sloan’s. The next morning, thinking he had taken the usual early morning shift with the baby, I woke up and answered work emails. Then, I went in to get Sloan up for a bottle and our whole world came crashing down.

From that moment on, I resented my job. I was regretful about all the hours I’d spent preoccupied with my business and not my children.  Angry at myself for letting my job as a business owner take over the more important things in my life. For years, I was a mother, and a business owner, and suddenly those two pieces of my life were drastically at odds. I spent the last two and a half months drowning in the waves of grief, and unsure whether I’d ever have the drive or passion for my job again. I was fighting this internal battle, against my former self.

Then, last week, I was in my office editing my blog and I remembered why I’d started my business 3.5 years ago. I had wanted a way to stay home with Rowan when he was a baby. I wanted the ability to be present for  my children even while I was at work. For 3.5 years I’ve done that,  I’ve been able to live my dream. 

My business not only allowed me to work from home, but to nourish my creativity and independence. Because of my business, I became a part of an amazing handmade community. A community that has been a pillar of strength and support for us on more than one occasion, but especially in wake of Sloan’s death. So, as I sat there in my office last week, my mind changed. Suddenly I was able to see that my business didn’t take anything away from me, but rather, gave me an immeasurable amount of things to be thankful for. 

Today, I reopen for the first time since Sloan’s death. It has been an enormous step for me in my grief. Reopening my brand is facing a large part of my anxiety head on, and I know this is the right thing.