By: Pamela Larocque
Once the funeral was over, I continued on autopilot. I had been sleeping well, which was a saving grace in itself. I was quite tired, but I believed my body was trying to adjust to everything. My hormones were trying to balance out since I was no longer nursing or pumping. My beautiful Kaden was my reason for putting two feet on the floor each morning and hauling my grief-stricken body out of bed.
I looked at the calendar six days before Santa would arrive. Oh my goodness. Like every year at this time of year, Christmas music was playing everywhere. The song that hurt my heart was “Where Are You Christmas?” by Faith Hill. Where were you, Ryken? It made me want to scream and cry. I changed the radio station and suppressed my anger.
My mom and I went shopping to bring Christmas home to Kaden. He was only two and a half, and it was not fair to wallow in pain and have him miss Christmas because of my grief. Thank goodness Santa and his elves had been on task all year.
I decided to go into a craft store in search of Ryken’s Christmas stocking. I never go to Michael’s, but I needed a stocking to put under the tree for him. Christmas music was playing, people were rushing around, and frenzied energy was in the air. I was barely surviving. There were random moments where I couldn’t really breathe. I said a prayer that Faith Hill’s song would not come on in the store.
I found the most beautiful little red and white stocking with a capital “R” stitched in red.
This is it! That was so easy. I love this little stocking.
I headed toward the checkout line to pay.
This is going well. So far, so good.
My anxiety had been under control. I just had to get Kaden’s gifts before I went home. Skates and a hockey helmet for my sunshine were next on my to-do list. I was almost home free.
This is not so bad. I am doing okay. I can do this.
I was at the front of the store, and a woman rushed over. I tried to avoid eye contact, but she was smiling. “Hi Pam. How is Ryken doing?”
I felt a blow to my stomach.
Has someone punched me? No, I still hear the Christmas music.
I tried to catch my breath. I was still at Michael’s. I needed to answer her question. I could barely form any words. My eyes welled up, and tears began to fall.
It was one of the moms I had met in neonatal. She and her baby were lucky. They were discharged and left NICU before us. She appeared to be doing fine. She should be. Her baby was alive. She would celebrate Christmas with her baby.
I looked at her and said, “He died on December 12.”
Her face registered pure shock. She stepped toward me and touched my arm. “I am so sorry.”
Tears filled my eyes, and it was hard to see clearly. I tried desperately not to lose it. I just wanted to buy Ryken’s Christmas stocking and go home. I held it tightly and tried to breathe through my pain. The pain in my stomach navigated toward my chest and lodged in my throat. It was blocking my speech. I had no other words for her. “Thank you.”
Just leave me alone now—and don’t ask me any more questions.
I knew she felt my pain. Maybe my face said it all.
We had shared a common bond of being neonatal postwar veterans, but that was where it ended. She had won her battle. I had lost mine. She would always be the victor. Every smile, every milestone, and
every birthday she shared with her living baby was what I would miss out on with mine. She was on the high road home to joy. My journey down the path of grief and despair had just begun. I was heading toward the pits of hell. There was no detour or any way of avoiding it. I was going to crash and burn. Merry, merry Christmas.
I paid for the stocking and decided to get the rest of the gifts another day. I said a silent prayer that I was grateful we had moved to a different city where no one knew us. I could go shopping, and no one would recognize me. I would be anonymous. Just another face in the crowd.
Even the task of getting groceries would be easier without someone asking where my baby was. I would not have to say those words again for a while. No one would even know I had been pregnant. No one would ask about Ryken. I would not have to say those words again. Knowing it was hard enough. Saying it out loud almost killed me.
I still had a Christmas to plan for my toddler. My beautiful, energetic Kaden was waiting for me at home. I had new demons that I was fighting off daily. I was beginning to carry the demons on my back. I named them guilt and worry. I was fixated on how the loss of Ryken affected Kaden. The social worker inside me kicked in and asked how my grief was affecting his development? My poor Kaden.
This post is an excerpt provided by Pamela Larocque of Ryken’s Journey. Chapter 28 – Life goes on – or does it?
About Pamela Larocque
Pamela Larocque is a woman who has many roles in her life. On a personal level she is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Professionally she is a Social Worker, an Energy Healer, an advocate of healthy living and an author. Presently she is writing about her grief, her quest to find joy again after the loss of her second son, Ryken in infancy, from a rare genetic condition known as NKH, and living in the moment with gratitude to have a healthy child to love and parent. The sequel to Ryken’s Journey is called “Chasing Rainbows”. She is also on her own journey to find herself again, the woman she was before her grief and the person she is now. Then somehow meld them together to be the person she is striving to become. On a spiritual level, this book is part of Pam’s life purpose and she has set out on a quest to fulfill her own soul contract in this lifetime. She is determined to learn her own life lessons and pass on the wisdom she has gained so others can heal as well. She believes that if we release the inner pain, embrace our strength from the lesson, then our healing will begin. In order to heal, it is important to embrace our life circumstances and acknowledge what we are feeling. When we walk through our grief with supports in place, we can find the pathways of love, joy and acceptance. This is how we can find our own inner light again and allow it to shine forth in the world while remembering … love is infinite.