Over the last few months, I have met many women who have experienced the loss of their baby. Through Cherishing the Journey, message boards, and facebook, I have come to learn of many heartbreaks as we walk together in this journey. One of my closest confidantes right now is a woman I have never met who lives in what I like to call the Great, White North, but what is really just Massachusetts. We chat on facebook all the time and sometimes text. She lost her son only a few months before we lost Kenley for very similar reasons, so we have that in common. Over the last few months, she has become not only someone I can vent to about random feelings and irritating issues, but someone who I enjoy talking to, and who's friendship I greatly treasure. It's wonderful to have someone who truly understands what I am going through. I like to think that I am as helpful and supportive to her as she has been for me. We were chatting recently about various issues and I said something to the effect of moving forward instead of moving on. I know she knows what I mean by that, but I figured I would tell you.
I have developed an aversion to the phrase "moving on". It rubs me the wrong way. Moving on implies that you are leaving something behind. It implies you are getting away from something. Heading towards bigger and better things. When you lose a child, none of that is true, yet you still need to find a way to go on with your life. You want to heal from your massive wounds. You want to find a way to not hurt so much. You want to remove the shackles that tie you to your pain - but you don't want for one second to forget about your child. It's a very difficult balance.
Because no mother is willing - or able - to give up any pieces of her child for any reason, moving on is impossible. We will never leave them behind. We will crawl naked over shards of glass before we would consider going through life without them. Sadly, Mothers of Loss have little choice. Our babies are not here, not physically. They are memories. Whispers of love on our broken hearts. Their absence creates giant holes in our lives. Great, gaping chasms of darkness that can only be filled by our love for them. So we have the world's greatest dilemma. How do we release our pain without releasing our love? Normally, people feel at peace when they have "let go" of what troubles them. Letting go of our children is impossible for us. So, we will never move on. Not in a million lifetimes. We will carry our children - and our pain - with us wherever we go.
What we will do, though, is move forward. Before our loss, we were like a car with four fully functional tires and a full tank of gas. We moved at an appropriate speed, smoothly and gracefully. However, we hit a stop stick, flipped over a few times, and exploded. Now, all of our tires are shredded, our body is dented and ripped away, and all of our fuel has detonated. With all of this damage, you'd think the insurance company would just "total" us, but it doesn't. The world completely expects us to rebuild ourselves and keep going. So that's what we do. We take every piece of ourselves and we keep going. Every slice of burnt rubber, every shard of glass, every chunk of metal. We gather it up and piece it back together the best we can. And we move forward. We are broken and slow, but we press on. We have to stop and rest more than we did before - and we definitely can't go on any highways - but we keep going. And we carry our pain with us. It hurts to go through life like this, but we aren't about to trade in for a new car. We aren't going to leave any bit behind.
We will always hurt. Always. We will not leave our children behind - and so we can not leave our pain behind. We will not move on. We will not forget our past. We will not forget what has brought us to where we are. In order to remember our babies, we have to remember why they aren't here with us. Our children and our pain are intertwined so we can't let go of either. But, we can find a way to carry on. Our love is glue and welded metal. Our love patches our tires and seals the cracks in our windshield. Our love cushions the sharp shards of glass we can't fix and fuels the gas tank. It does everything it can to keep our car on the road. While we know we are unlike most of the other cars - bright and shiny cars that have no problem keeping up with the speed limit - we are still moving. Forward - not On. We never learn to move on from it - but we do learn how to live with it. We carry it all with us. Our memories. Our pain. Our love. All equal parts of us. All part of what pushes us forward.