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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cousins

It's taken me awhile to bring up the subject on here, Luke, but I think I can finally get the words out.

You're going to be a big cousin to two little babies soon. This July.

That's right, your Auntie Ali and Auntie Lauren are both pregnant. Yesterday, we found out that Auntie Ali and Uncle Andy will be having a baby girl. We won't be finding out what your Auntie Lauren and Uncle Pooter are having until that cousin actually arrives, since they're going old-school and waiting it out.

It's hard, obviously, looking forward to more nieces/nephews while I'm still missing you the most. It makes me so sad that these two little cousins will never grow up to know their oldest cousin, Luke.

I wasn't planning on bawling my way through the news that my sister and brother were both going to have kids--at nearly the same exact time, but that's what happened when I found this out last November. And I wasn't counting on the fact that I would be the oldest sibling...but also the one with a dead child. No one prepares themselves for that in life.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I found out they were both pregnant...How could this possibly get any worse? Honestly? BOTH of them...I was told they were both pregnant in the same WEEK. Due within 9 days of each other. I could barely stand the sight of a pregnant woman then...But now I was going to have to see my own sister (my best friend for LIFE) and sister-in-law BE those women? I was sitting there...grieving you, and somehow, I was supposed to find it within myself to be happy to be an Aunt again? It was absolutely NOT the way I'd always imagined being told I was going to be an Auntie by either of them. I felt like everything was ruined. Not only had we lost you...but we'd lost the ability to feel the way we SHOULD have felt when we were told the news. I felt like I'd ruined this for my Mom and Dad...that THEY had to be told this so soon after losing their first and only grandchild. It was bittersweet, to say the least.

It was like you were pulling some sort of strings from wherever you are...to tell me that the world wouldn't stop, and that I had to pick myself up and carry on, somehow, without you.

When I first found out the news back in November, everything was so fresh. I couldn't comprehend the idea that more children were going to be coming into our family so soon after you. I won't lie--I thought for sure this would drive me to the point of insanity. This would have been THEE most ideal situation, really, in any other family's reality. Cousins so close in age? A complete and total blessing--they could be best friends. But in our reality? How did it even make sense? Especially so soon after losing you? I thought the world was stopping. And it turns out it wasn't.

I went through the entire gamut of emotions in those two months after losing you, Luke. Anger. Confusion. Fear. Jealousy. Sadness. Happiness. Bitterness. Betrayal. I couldn't believe that I found myself feeling betrayed by my siblings. The two people I've spent the most time with in this world...were moving on without me. I'm the oldest. I was supposed to be the one that had a child first--who could show them the ropes of parenthood. They could have learned from us, Luke. The silly mistakes we would make, being first-time parents.

But that was not to be.

Just revisiting these feelings, today, is making me feel sad again. Sometimes I'm grateful that I went through all of that shock so quickly. Because I got it over with. It was done, the next babies were coming, and we'd all have to find it within ourselves to somehow keep going.

I hate the fact that there will come an end to all of the comparisons that I've been able to have with Ali and Lauren to this point. And the thing is...I ENJOY sharing with them. It makes me feel that your existence is validated, somehow. I can share with them all of my experiences about being pregnant. About what the first, second, and third trimesters felt like. I can give them all the information I researched about baby products and strollers and car seats. I can even share with them my experiences of labor, and actually giving birth to a child. But that's where it stops.

After the birth of their children, that's where our shared experiences will end. Because their children will come into the world crying and full of life, and you didn't, Luke. They will become parents to a child in this world...and we have still yet to have that. I will have nothing to share or compare. We're left with your urn inside your teddy bear and your empty room and they'll be sleep-deprived and overwhelmed by their living, breathing babies.

We wanted to have a family, Luke. And now everyone else is getting to have theirs, but we still aren't complete. I think that's what hurts the most. The jealousy. I don't want it. But for them to get to have this...and not us? When we were supposed to already have you? It's hard not to be jealous. It really really is.

I think the most apparent thing I felt when I heard this news back in November was that I felt left out. And in a way, I still do. Because they have all their hopes and dreams for their children to still look forward to. But for almost 6 months, we've been working on putting our hopes and dreams for you to rest.

If there's one thing I know, it's that we're not giving up on having a family someday. You'll always be a part of it, though, Luke. And as much as I wish you could be here, I know that I don't want to keep feeling this feeling of being left out and jealous for the rest of our lives. I want to know what it's like to be a parent to a living child. I know I'll be trying to figure out how to be a parent to you for the rest of my life, but I want the other side of that as well. Any sibling or cousin you ever have will know about you. You will never be someone whose memory we sweep under the rug to forget about. Even if you never breathed a breath on this Earth.

Maybe these two babies are going to be born into our family so that I can see for myself--that babies ARE meant to be born. To give me hope and maybe confidence that what happened to us ISN'T how this is supposed to go.

It's not fair that this is the way things have to be. So so so so not fair. But I feel like if I can't change it, I'm at least getting closer to figuring out how to live with this. Because the future is coming whether I want it to or not.

6 comments:

  1. Jen, I can relate so much to this post. Gabriel is our first child too, and we don't have any living children. It's been SO hard to watch others have babies like it's the easiest thing in the world. It's completely unfair that we don't get to keep our babies when everyone else does. I hope that one day you do get your rainbow baby! xx

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  2. I love you guys so much it hurts.

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  3. My due date was on my niece's 2nd year birthday. I was so excited that my baby girl would have a big girl cousin to play with and be BFFs with. We could throw double birthday parties! Now I watch my sister and my niece snuggling, playing, or just being mom/daughter, and it's hard to keep from screaming. It's NOT FAIR. It's really just NOT FAIR.

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  4. I've been thinking about this entry for almost a week now and I'm still not sure what to say (or if there really is anything to say that you haven't already said), but...please know that nobody wanted it to be this way. I know you feel left out and I hate as much as you do that you won't be able to give me the new parent advice and commiseration that you should have. I also feel robbed, because I have spent my life looking up to my big sister and doing everything you do and this isn't how it was supposed to be. I hate to think that you feel betrayed (even though I completely understand why you would) because that was the farthest thing from my intentions when we started trying to get pregnant (and who knew it would happen so quickly!). I never told you how I agonized over the decision to even try (although it had been our plan long before we lost Luke) because I didn't want to hurt you more than you were already hurting. And yet...like you said...life had to go on, in spite of everything. I know the timing was crazy. I don't know when it would have been "good" timing. All I know is that I think of Luke every day and wish we could bring him back, but since we can't, I can only hope that our living will give some meaning to him dying, even though I haven't figured out how yet.

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    1. Ali, believe me...the rational me knows all of that. I know that you would change all of this in a minute if you could--as quickly as I would, even. And I've thought about you being robbed of things too...Because it's not only us that were crushed by Luke's absence.

      Deep down...even before all of this happened, I knew you wouldn't be far behind me in getting pregnant. And I wanted you to be right behind me. That's why all of these feelings are so complicated. I wish they were feelings none of us ever had to deal with, but I guess here we are.

      I hate that you had to agonize about a decision in YOUR life because of ME. I hate that we've been put into a position like this. It honestly would never have been good timing...it just had to happen, and I think I'm at the point now where honestly, I do feel glad that it all happened so quickly. It was sort of like ripping off the world's most painful band-aid.

      And? You now give me something to look forward to. I told Hallie yesterday that for the past couple of weeks, I've felt more excited for the future. That there are things to look forward to. That includes your baby, and Pooter's, and I hope one for us. I'm not sure where I would be right now if I didn't have these things, but if it all had to come down this way...maybe Luke is pointing all of us in this direction to heal. I don't know. But living's all we've got at this point :)

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  5. I have thought about the "right" way to react to this situation and every time I think i have it, it just never pans out. My brash/logical brain has a hard time with tragedies and emotional circumstances and it always tells me there is an answer, you just have to look harder and think more in depth. I am coming to the conclusion that some things in life just don't make sense. This is not comforting, I know, but to me this is exactly what makes life special. If you could just explain away Lukes death with cold hard facts it would in some way tarnish his legacy and prevent us from coming up with our own explanations. I know i have already told you this, but Luke saved the universe and i am sticking to that. Who cares if it can't be proven it is true in my brain and Luke is my hero. I can't imagine the emotional roller coaster you're on, but just know that in the end you will look back at the drops, twists and turns and appreciate being on firm ground.

    -Pooter

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