After 10 weeks of maternity leave, I went back to work last week. At the end of my clinic day, I had all of my belongings already packed. My last patient ended early. I couldn’t even wait until the family left the receptionist area to make my move. I escaped through the side door and flew down six flights of stairs to hurry home.
As I exited the building and started walking towards the parking lot, I was mindful of this familiar feeling– this feeling of being needed, of having somewhere to be. This was a feeling that I had every single day when Maxwell was alive. This was a feeling I so desperately longed to have again after Maxwell died. This is a feeling I felt for the first time again last week. But this time it is for a different child.
Being a mother to a new child after losing a child has led to a whirlwind of emotions. When people ask, “how are you?” I am often at a loss for words. I am so many things, often at once: joyous, sad, grateful, heartbroken, lucky and confused. That day, I was able to feel the sadness of not going home to Max and the gratitude of being able to go home to a living child. This is the reality of being a mother to a living and to a spirit.
Later that night, I whisper to my 10 week old, softly, in tears, as I rock her to sleep, “I am so lucky to be with you here, in this space and time” and I meant it. In the dark, she looks and feels a lot like her brother.
“Grief at its peak has a terrible beauty to it, a blinding fission of every emotion. The world is charged with significance, with meaning, and the world around you, normally so solid and implacable, suddenly looks thin, translucent. I feel like I’ve discovered an opening.” — Jayson Greene on child loss after losing his 2yo daughter Greta