All the other moms
One of the hardest things for me to do now, is to be in a room with other moms and their kids. It’s difficult for so many reasons but the main one for me is that they are all so clueless. And I mean that in the nicest, most non-judgy was possible. They are clueless and it isn't even their fault.
They sit and chat about all the mom related things that every mom deals with. How their pregnancy is/was, the milestones their kids are hitting, potty training woes, what school they are trying to get into. How their baby’s hair is growing, how they are sleeping, how they compare to their siblings. The list goes on.
It all makes me sick to my stomach. I used to do the same thing. I used to have advice and clever comments. I used to be one of them. What does that mean? One of them. A mom who didn’t know that in the blink of an eye it could all be gone. Blissfully unaware of the giant throbbing lump of human pain and heartache sitting in the corner. I had no idea. They don't either. The sudden death of your child isn't something anyone ever thinks can or will happen. There isn't enough awareness of the reality of SUDC. Or SIDS for that matter. Not enough awareness...exactly zero answers for either. None of that is okay.
The other thing those moms don’t know is how much self control it takes for me to sit in that room with them without screaming. I often do cry, and that usually gets me some eye rolls or avoidance stares. No one knows that I’m 10 seconds away from losing my shit, all the time. Not because of them or anything they did or didn't do. Just because I can barely tolerate their happiness and blissful ignorance. I can barely look at their babies and toddlers. All I see is what they have. They have everything. I lost what they have. They have exactly zero clue as to how lucky they are.
So I sit, quietly, trying to not-hear their conversation. They probably just think I’m antisocial. Or unfriendly. What they don’t know is that I am a grieving mom. They don’t know that my baby just died. And that I’m never going to be able to participate in idle mom chit chat again. I will never be that mom again.
One of the things I lost when Vail died is that piece of myself. The part that can just be present in the moment and enjoy the little things that are great about being a mom. And conversely complain about the challenges. I’m not a normal mom anymore. I’ll never be able to complain about my child. Ever. I will appreciate every single moment that she puts me through, the good and the bad. I will go to bed every night praying that my surviving child wakes in the morning. I will revel in every kiss, every imaginary friend, every book, every bath, every fight, every tantrum. Grieving moms don't have the luxury of complaining or taking moments for granted. So, as they sit and chat and remind me about all the things I will never get to do with Vail. She won’t ever go to school or potty train. She won’t ever adjust to a new sibling or get a big girl bed. She won't ever go to dance class with her sister.
Here is my message to all the other moms, the normal moms, the ones who haven't lost a child. To all of you moms, my mom friends and strangers alike I say this:
JUST LOVE YOUR CHILDREN
Sounds simple right? Of course we love our children. But I mean, that's enough. That is all you have to do. If you just focus on your love and appreciate how special they are every single moment, all other stuff won't matter so much.
DON'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED
Take pictures every single day. Take 100. Kiss your child 30 times before bed. Let them snuggle past bedtime. Don't cringe when they want one more sip of water before bed. What they want is one more second with you. And that might be their last. Their last moment with you. I know that NO ONE wants to hear this. No one wants to live in that place. But if we all just parent like we only have one more day with our children, because we might, then we will all be happier, less stressed parents.
LET GO OF THE MESS
Life is messy. Just get comfortable with it. Enjoy it. Live it. Don't let all of your worries and issues get in the way of living every moment with your family.
Tell them how much you love them. Tell them a thousand times a day. Make sure they know you are proud of them. Whisper sweet things into their ears before bed. Smell their hair. Hold them. Hold them as much as you can, no matter how tired your arms are.
Most people won't ever lose a child like we have. Most people won't ever really know how special every single minute with them is. For most moms, their kids will grow up and have families of their own. Just remember that the time will come and they will be gone. Gone from this world, or gone from your house...either way...these moments are fleeting. They only last for a short time. Be grateful for what you have. I beg you.