I dedicate this piece to a few friends who recently have lost a parent, and who currently are in the process of losing a parent. My heart knows your grief, and the love you held/hold for your loved one. May you find comfort in knowing you are not alone in your grief.
After I came home, I pulled Baby Tender Love out for a visit and the childhood memories came flooding back. We lived in an old dilapidated rental house on Redhill-Maxwell. As a child it seemed huge, though during a return visit as a teenager I recalled how small the rooms and yard really were. I remember playing with my dolls while sitting on the floor in the bedroom I shared with my little brother, including my Barbie, PJ and Ken dolls for which Mom also made very fashionable clothes. All those dolls and outfits were long ago pitched, though I did find my Barbie naked on a shelf. Evidently she'd been a nudist the last few decades.
As I remembered these childhood memories, I hugged Baby Tender Love close to me as if she were my baby again. The rush of memories suddenly reeled me back in time to April 1996, when I lost my own baby at eleven weeks, and with it, the dream of being a mother. Grief struck out of nowhere and tears flowed for the little baby girl I knew I carried, "Peanut." With my unborn child, there was no farewell; no funeral service or closure that signified she was gone; no opportunity to say goodbye after our short-lived relationship was over. There was only hemorrhaging through the night, labor pains and cramps as my body gave premature birth to the fetus. There was fear, uncertainty, and disconnect with the reality that I was losing my baby. The next morning was the doctor visit, outpatient surgery for a DNC, and then home to carry on in life as if none of it had ever happened, as if I'd awakened from a bad dream. I dealt with the grief off and on for several years afterward, and I truly felt peace around it, despite remembering my baby every December, the month Peanut would've been born had she gone full-term. Every year, I remember the lost dream of being a mother to what would today be a beautiful fourteen-year-old daughter.
Grief is a process, ongoing and in many phases. Rushing grief is unproductive; denying grief only feeds its strength into volcanic releases. I've dealt with the loss of my unborn baby, and now this grief feels complete.
Thank you Mom for hanging on to Baby Tender Love for me. And thank you Baby Tender Love for allowing me to say the goodbye I never had the chance to say fifteen years ago.