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. 

There is so much confusion around SIDS and its potential causes, and not enough awareness. Parents of infants, please research SIDS, understand the importance of sleep safety, utilize baby monitors like the Owlet, the Angelcare, and the Snuza. Approximately 2500 infants a year die of SIDS, our baby boy was one of them.

It is not just suffocation that causes SIDS. Babies that die of SIDS could either have an undetectable brainstem abnormality that prevents them from responding appropriately to a lack of oxygen, or a serotonin imbalance preventing the signals from their brain to body to react. 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, or it could have been the reason he didn’t remove the blanket. 

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.  

If My Child Tells You

Rowan is four years old. Four. He witnessed the moment I found Sloan, witnessed CPR,  witnessed me holding Sloan’s lifeless body in my arms as I wept over him. My son kissed his brother goodbye that day, forever. At four years old.

Children see things in black and white. He does not understand grief yet, he just wants to have the reassurance that his brother still matters, that his brother is still loved. So when he tells you his brother died, when talks to you about Sloan, when he breaches the topic of that day- please do not shy away. Please do not avoid the conversation, as difficult or uncomfortable as it may be for you. Do not diminish the strength it took for my child to tell you about his loss, and the love for his brother, that he is sharing with you. You might just find that in speaking with him about it, it has comforted you. So please, let him have the moment.