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Break

September and October are finally over and I finally feel like I might get a break from my ongoing anxiety and stress. No sooner did I feel relief from those two months finally passing that it dawned on me, the Holidays are coming, one after the other. So my short reprieve was quickly blown away and replaced with overwhelming anxiety, sadness and fear of the unknown. How will the Holidays play out? Will they be different because of Emery or will they be just as hard as last year? As I let my mind keep going down a path I knew I shouldn’t, I ended up feeling like this is never ending, there is no light at the end of this tunnel because it will always be one thing after the other. I will always miss Maxwell and wish that things could be different.
Thanksgiving was the first Holiday I took Maxwell too, so the last week leading up to it was very hard and as time passes I notice my “ques” quicker. I get giddy and am outwardly happy and excited to anyone and everyone as if I haven’t a care in the world and then I get nervous/shaky, as if I just took an Adderall to stay up and study for my final exams. Every time an important date is coming up I get like this and I think it’s to try and hide how I’m truly feeling on the inside and somehow protect myself from the inevitable. When you think about this it’s kind of silly because nothing I do can protect me from how I’m going to feel because you never know what triggers you or when it will happen…luck of the draw, if you will. I spend a majority of my time bracing myself for things I think should and will happen that never do and then get blindsided when they do happen. It’s hard to explain.
My sister said to me this weekend that she doesn’t know how I do it and that she can see Maxwell every time she looks at her sweet baby. Then she asked me if I see Maxwell in Emery? My instant reply was no, not at all. Then I tried to explain that, in my mind the two do not coexist. I’ve talked to my therapist about this many of times and I will try to explain it now. To me, Maxwell and I happened another lifetime ago, when I was someone else, someone I knew, and now Emery and I have happened. I’m not the same person as I was with Maxwell because a part of me is gone and it always will be, so to me, Emery and I exist in a different time. So I truly don’t see Maxwell in Emery because they are two different people and so am I in a way and maybe on some level I don’t want to see him in her because I want them both to have their own identities and maybe this is my way of preserving that, while also separating things in my mind so that I can be happy for Emery and continue to move forward for her. If I could have them both in the same lifetime, to watch them grow and play together, I would give up anything, but sadly, no matter how hard I pray this isn’t in the stars for me. So to answer my sisters question of how I do it, it’s simple, I don’t… At least I feel like I don’t.
Grief is an internal struggle everyday that most people won’t see because the one thing about grief that no one tells you, is how alone you feel, no matter how great your support system.
Grief is unique to that person and what they feel is unique to them. So when my sister tells me how strong I am it’s hard to believe her because I don’t feel that way on the inside, but I try very hard everyday to be happy for Emery and I honestly try to find things that make me happy. Emery is the biggest factor for me and I’m so blessed to have her in my life. She is my light at the end of the tunnel and my saving grace, simple as that. I will try to keep that picture in focus as I battle the upcoming Holidays and the anniversary of his passing, followed a couple days later by a not so happy birthday.
If you are struggling through grief please know you are not alone and my prayers and thoughts are with you.

Until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Kelly - I love you. I think you explain your grief very well and although I’m sure many people cannot relate (me being one of them), I certainly know there are many who can. You are a beacon to a lot of people going through now what you went through then and those people may not see light at the end of the tunnel but reading your posts could change that. Even when it’s patronizing to hear, stay positive and remember that every day that moves forward is not a day further from Maxwell, it’s a day closer to him because you’ll see him again someday- after you’ve done your motherly duties with Emery of course (and any other child you may decide to have in the future- if any.)

Halloween

I’m not for sure if I already mentioned this but when I was pregnant with Maxwell there were 3 other ladies at work pregnant as well. So of course we talked about our morning sickness, cravings, and compared our registries to make sure we all had everything we thought we needed. 😉

I ended up going first which was a huge surprise because I prepared myself for going a week late. My original due date for Maxwell, if I’m remembering correctly was October 28th, I used to call him my little Halloweenie and with that day drawing near I have found myself growing very anxious. It’s not just his due date but Halloween as well and it took me some time, and a friend pointing it out before I realized what was happening, I’ve been a ball of nerves and anxiety on the inside while trying to overcompensate on the outside so that people couldn’t tell that I was struggling. I almost fell for it myself until I realized the truth. Last Halloween I came into work knowing that my job allows parents to bring their kids in and trick or treat and I honestly thought I would be fine…..as you can guess I was wrong. I remember sitting at my desk and overhearing this sweet boy say, “Mommy I got this for you, it’s your favorite candy.” I. LOST. IT. I couldn’t stop crying and had to send my boss an email telling him I had to leave. I remember that day with such clarity that I even know exactly what I was wearing, I remember the bubbly/giddy mood I was in and only now that I look back do I realize it is the same way I’ve been feeling all week and that scares me. When I heard that little boy say those sweet words to his mom it was a reminder that my happiness was a facade and that I would never get to hear my sweet Maxwell say my name, tell me he loves me, or pick a piece of Halloween candy just because he knows it’s MY favorite, not his. These are things my heart longs for everyday.

One of the girls I was pregnant with had a beautiful daughter and Emery goes to the same daycare as her and she loves “baby Emery”! The other day Ashley came to me and as we were discussing life and different paths she tells me she’s sorry, and I don’t remember exactly the words said but I told her that she never has to be sorry because seeing her daughter grow gives me some insight as to where Maxwell would be and what he would be doing at this age. Yes, it’s hard and sad to think about but I try to push those negative thoughts away and live vicariously through them and just for a moment allow myself to get lost in the daydream that this is what Maxwell would be doing and saying to me and in that moment I’m whole, complete, and missing nothing. In that moment I have both my babies and everything is as it should be.

Sometimes it takes saying something out loud to realize how much truth it holds. At first I was saying it to ease Ashley’s mind but no sooner had the words left my mouth that I realized how true they were.  I can only hope they eased Ashley’s mind and heart as much as they eased mine.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Aftermath

Maxwells’ birthday has come and gone and nothing changed. I don’t know what I thought would change but maybe it was more of an internal hope. Hope that this was all a terribly bad nightmare, hope that I would be instilled with some enlightening thought as to why this happened. Not the full reason just a hint or glimpse into why but September came and went and I’m not any different, except for the expanded emptiness I feel. It’s this annoying, tapping me on the shoulder kind of feeling as to remind me that I’m missing something, in case I had forgotten. I want to yell back I KNOW, ENOUGH WITH THE TAPPING!!!! But I don’t. What’s the point? I know it won’t change anything

I won’t lie or try to sugar coat it…this month has been awful and unbearable. I’m left with a lot of anxiety, questions, and no answers. That’s the hardest part- no one, at least not here in this life, has the answers I’m searching for and that is very challenging, if not impossible, for me to accept. I try, I really do but how can you just accept that your child was taken from you for no other reason than for the “bigger picture”. Even if you pray to accept this I don’t think you’ll ever truly accept it. I think it will always be something you pray to accept, where some days are better/easier than others when you feel you have clarity and other days you feel like you can’t see past your hand and you don’t want to. For all intents and purposes I’m going to say that stubbornness is situational. 😉 I want to say I wish things were different but then I stop myself because if I never lost Maxwell I may have never gotten Emery so it’s a difficult thought to have. I just want them both, here, together. I was laying Emery down to sleep and my thoughts immediately went to Maxwell and how he should be tugging at my pant leg while I’m trying to calm Emery down to sleep and all the while she is just laughing at her brother being silly, but then I shake my head to pull myself from my fantastic daydream and give Emery a kiss goodnight and tell her to dream of her brother.

September has left me feeling hungover and not in the oh my gosh I’ll have great stories for the rest of my life kind of way but the hangover that leaves you questioning what kind of person you are. I used to know exactly who I was (give or take a couple things) and then I lost Maxwell and in turn lost myself. I keep hoping for the clarity and insight that I once had but instead this month has passed and all I know for sure, my one constant, is that I am and always will be a Mommy.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Jan - Poignant words from the heart of a mother struggling with the lost no mother should ever experience.

Maxwell

There isn’t a blog or book big enough to hold all of my thoughts, love, and prayers I have for this sweet boy. I miss him everyday and my soul hurts and will remain incomplete for the rest of my days. When you have a child everything you thought you knew about love goes out the window because you have never and will never feel a love like this. The love of having a child is all encompassing; it’s Utopia.

I was so worried when I first had Maxwell because he was born at 34 1/2 weeks due to my sever preeclampsia and I thought I had failed him. I was so upset with myself and worried that I wouldn’t have that moment where he became mine and I became his, but I was wrong. The first time I held him I threw up all over myself because of the magnesium they had to put me on due to my preeclampsia. The second time, I was free of the magnesium and so nervous because I desperately wanted that connection and when they wheeled me into the nursery and I held him for the second time, it was pure clarity. I was so worried I wouldn’t recognize him and he wouldn’t recognize me but the moment they put that sweet baby in my arms there was absolutely no denying that he was mine and I was his. I remember looking at him and thinking oh my goodness he looks just like me; same coloring, just a mini mini me. I started crying and leaking at the same time and I remember looking up at Mark and saying, “I’m leaking” and he said, “from where?” I just laughed because I was so happy that my body was responding to him, not only physically but emotionally as well. Those next 2 weeks passed slowly and quickly all at the same time. I cried every time I had to leave him in nursery as they put him in the incubator, just wondering what I had done wrong. Mark would hold me and say, “look at him, he’s living it up. Laying out in the warm sun and being shielded from all of those crying babies.” I always laughed at this because as I watched Maxwell he was all stretched out and comfy as can be…Mark was right, he was perfect and loving it! I know this will make Mark sad but he would always say, “When he turns 1 we will look back on all of this and laugh.” Now his 2nd birthday is tomorrow and I would give anything to hear him laugh, say my name, hear him tell me he loves me, know what his first word would be, and I would give anything to know what he likes and all the new things he’s doing and learning at 2 but I don’t get any of that and I’ll wait an entire lifetime just to get the chance to know him.

I will always remember his first smile, first chuckle (didn’t quite make it to the laugh), how happy he was in the morning, how he fell asleep in my arms, how he loved going for walks and rides in the car, how he only slept for 2 hr stretches and then towards the end made it to 4hrs and I felt like I could run a marathon, how he fell asleep to me singing the same 3 songs I always sang him, and the way I would try and sneak in and out of his room to check on him. These are things I pray I will never forget.

Mommy and Daddy love you so much sweet baby! Happy 2nd Birthday Maxwell Wilson Lieberman, 3lbs 6oz and 17in long! May God always keep you warm, safe, and loved with all the hugs and kisses heaven has to offer!

Always my love, always

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Idle Mind

As Maxwells birthday gets closer I can feel the stress and tension mounting. I try to prepare myself for the inevitable mind numbing, painstaking, devastating blow, but it doesn’t help. It would be better if I was just unaware of time, then I would be caught off guard and I think I would prefer that. It’s like being in your car and knowing you’re about to wreck into someone or they are about to hit you, so you tense up and try to prepare yourself for it but wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t see it coming? That way you didn’t have time to tense up and try to prepare for something that you know and can clearly see is out of your control at this point. Maybe it’s just me but I would rather be surprised or caught off guard. Having time to prepare for something that is….that is…I don’t know the word that would justify what Maxwells birthday is to me so for lack of a term I will just say, that is what it is and it leaves me trying to fill every second of every minute of every hour of every day with things that keep my mind from being idle. I am my own worst enemy and my idle mind is just as guilty. It’s about the worst thing I could do to myself. So for weeks I’ve been passing the time with work and Emery and I’ve found myself reading books I’ve already read, jumping from conversation to conversation and reading nothing in between. Frankly I could care less about the contents of the book I’m just holding on to anything that will allow me to grasp it. At work I find my voice shaking when I answer someone’s question of how are you because I’m afraid they know what I know….his birthday is coming and I’m a mess, inside, I’m a complete mess and I’m just praying that I’m keeping it together on the outside.

it leaves me wondering if every September and January will be like this? A part of me hopes that it will be and the other part shutters at the thought of being this….lost and empty. I will never be able to explain how much (I wish you could see how many times I have written and deleted this sentence just trying to find the right words) hurt, blame, guilt, loss, emptiness I feel every day from losing my son, the feelings are palpable. When you lose a child no matter how short or long you got to keep them. The moment you lose them you not only lose their future but yours as well. Its like you’re in the dark and can’t see your hand in front of your face let alone see what your dim future might hold. It’s a dark place to be and it’s easy to stay in and I know no one would blame me if I did but I couldn’t stay. Maxwell gave me a light and her name is Emery and I will forever be in awe of that gift and do my best everyday to deserve it, I just wish Maxwell was still here to see it. I hate not knowing what he would like at 2yrs old, it kills me to have to guess at what my son would like, because I deserve to know. I shouldn’t have to guess. So as I try to keep my mind from being idle I have guessed that he would be into dinosaurs. I thought about the whole super hero or Mickey Mouse thing but then I saw this cute green (maxwells favorite color) dinosaur cake and it just seemed like something he would like so I’m going to make him that cake and no matter how it turns out I know he would’ve loved it because it’s sweet and full of sugar! Every kids dream! 🙂

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Laurie - You inspire me with your strength and courage every day. You are an amazing fighter Paige. I can’t imagine the pain you have gone through and still go through, yet you have found a voice and a positive outlook that inspires others and helps to not only heal them but yourself as well. You are loved and supported and I wish I could help heal your heart. Max will always be remembered and loved and I have no doubt he watches over your family. Sending you hugs during this tough time. Keep writing and sharing. It helps you and so many others that read your words. XOXOX