Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel

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A New Normal

It has been almost 4 months since Caroline died, and I think I’m starting to see my “new normal” that everyone talks about.  I can say for the first time since Caroline’s ultrasound last November that I’m starting to be productive at work again.  I am much more capable of meeting deadlines and concentrating on my writing.  I get less looks of pity and more empty smiles as I walk the halls.  I am disappearing back into the shadows.

It feels good to start pulling my weight again, but part of me is sad to be finding my new normal.  There is a fear of forgetting everything I want to remember.  A fear of letting other people forget.  I wish I could hear her name from someone every day, but that’s not how this world works.  I will have to say it for my own ears to hear.

I am thankful for the ways that I have found to mother Caroline.  I have a friend who lost her daughter too, and we meet up from time to time to talk about our kids and be with someone who understands what we’re going through.  My husband and I attend a support group for bereaved parents.  I bought a dozen pink roses and placed them by Caroline’s urn; I love to bring flowers to my sunshine.  I am looking into ways to be a contact for other families facing a similar diagnosis.  No one could ever find a contact for us, and it was hard to be alone through all of the heartache and decision making.

I want to give back in memory of my Caroline.  I hope Caroline is proud of me.

I am certainly proud of her.


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Great People

I’ve had so many disappointing interactions with people at work that it is staggering.  Most have decided that the best thing to do is to fail to acknowledge that I gave birth to a daughter and spent two months with her.  It has been so hurtful, and I think that hearing any hurtful cliche would be preferable to the silence.

This post is about someone who instead, got it right.

This coworker reached out to me by saying that she had recently grieved a loss and wanted me to know that she was there for me if I ever wanted to talk.  I told her that I had pictures I’d love to show her, and she was excited to see them.  She asked questions about Caroline and cried with me.  It was so nice.

The next week, I found a note thanking me for showing her my pictures, as well as a loaf of bread and jar of flowers to “brighten my day.”  It was so sweet of her and so unexpected!  Almost 3 months after my loss, the cards and care packages have stopped and the reminders that people are there to support me have mostly disappeared.  This was a welcome expression that I am not going through this alone.

When you experience the loss of a child, it becomes clear who your real friends are.  Sometimes the people who support you best are those you least expect.  The coworker who took an interest in Caroline was one who I barely interacted with before she learned of Caroline’s story.

What she did right was to give me permission to talk openly about my daughter, to listen, and to be comfortable with tears.  Hearing, “I’m sorry for your loss and I am here for you,”  was exactly what I needed.  She acknowledged that my daughter’s life was amazing and moved her, and that is music to a grieving mother’s ear.