Monday, May 16, 2011


Death is one of those unavoidable uglies in life. We can't run from it, we can't hide from it, and every time we are faced with it, it seems to hurt even more than the last time. I've buried several of my very closest friends over the past few years. The events of the past week have left some of those friends very heavy in my mind, and unfortunately, in my dreams.

I spend a good deal of my nights laying wide awake from these dreams. I reach down to the side of the bed to rub the dog's belly, and my mind runs in a million different directions at once. The last few nights though, there has been a little more calm and clarity.

Losing a loved one hurts. It hurts like hell.

I lost a cousin a few years ago. We all grew up together, our huge imaginations running wild through the fields and the woods of our family's farm. We played together, laughed together, cried together, and dreamed together. (We dreamed of one day riding our horses on the moon. And we were serious.) We were young, crazy, and invincible. The night of Felichia's 19th birthday, those dreams were shattered.

I went from denial to hysterical to physically ill to, eventually, completely numb.

I think at some point, most people go through similar emotions when they deal with a death. Our relationships with our loved ones are all different, as are our reactions when they are gone. Most of us understand how it works. We don't understand why death happens. No one understands that. We just know that it has to happen. But we do understand that it happens, how it makes us feel, how we react to it, and how we eventually bounce back from it.

Miscarriages, however, are a death that most of us don't understand. We know they happen a lot. We know most of them don't have reasons. We know someone that has experienced one. But if we weren't the one carrying the baby, we really don't understand. Not by a long shot.

There is a much more physical aspect to the loss of a baby. A pregnant body goes through a lot of changes when creating a life inside it. The puking, the stretching and growing belly, the crazy hormones. When the baby is gone, your body has to adjust again, just like it would hafta do after a birth where your baby comes home with you.

Contractions hurt like nothing else, no matter the size of what's coming out. All that blood and nasty placenta stuff that's been feeding your baby? It's all gotta come out now. It could take several days, or it could take a couple weeks. As long as your body is bleeding, you are gonna have cramping. Bad cramping. As your belly is cramping, that once big, round belly is slowing going back to normal. All those intestines are shifting back into their proper sizes and places. That surge of hormones when the baby comes out tells your body that it is ready to start breast feeding. So now your boobs double in size and weight because they are full of milk. Those swollen milk glands hurt. A lot. And they leak. There is nothing to do for it except pop a Tylenol and wait for the milk to dry up, which also takes a while.

All that pain really sucks. And it only reminds you even more that your baby is gone. And of course, this entire time you are already on an emotional roller coaster from the loss itself.

While most people won't understand what it feels like, or even how to react to it, it is important to remember that it is very real. It should never be dismissed as less of a person or less of a loss. Remember the words you throw around in ignorance because one day it just might come back to bite you on the ass. Babies die every day. The next one might be in your family.


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