This week I was away from my rainbow for two and half days for a business trip. It’s not very long, but it was the longest I’ve been away from him since he was conceived.
People assumed I missed him when they found out I had a 15-month old back home. They were right, I did miss him. I also missed my husband. But I was not depressed, I was not brokenhearted. I was worried that I might be overwhelmed with anxiety, but I wasn’t. I had video chatting and texts from my husband so I knew everyone was OK (if a bit stressed for time).
After my first baby died, one of the big things that bothered me was over-the-top expression of missing children while away for short trips. Things like, “my heart is breaking” and “I’m so depressed” thrown about like parental badges of honor. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to respond to every one of these friends and acquaintances. Not to say something like, “at least you have a living child to go back to” or “you’ll see them again, I won’t” or even the more productive “it’s very hurtful to bereaved parents when you treat a trivial absence like grief.”
Yes, I missed my husband and my living child. But it was nothing, not even a footnote, compared to the missing of my lost child. I feel it, and I recognize it, but it doesn’t have weight or gravity for me.
I’ll never know what I would have felt like or said if I wasn’t a bereaved parent. I quite possibly would have said all the same hyperbolic things, trying to prove how much I loved my child. And it would have been insensitive of me.
That’s not to discount anxiety that parents (and especially loss parents) are susceptible to when they are away from loved ones. I went through many months unable to be apart from my husband, certain he would die. Those feelings ebb and flow, and right now I’m in a pretty good place most of the time.
The one thing that doesn’t get better is missing my baby. My baby that I’ll never hold again, never kiss again, never raise. It’s a completely different level, different dimension of missing. And to me, it makes the missing of a few days seem insignificant.