The struggles that people see are just the tip of the iceberg; underneath there is much more.
Grief brings many struggles. There are the obvious ones like missing the person that is gone, wishing you could see them one more time, and accepting that life will never be what you had hoped and dreamed. Then there are the other parts of grief that people don't usually see, mostly because those of us grieving choose not to show it.
One of the more obvious struggles I have... babies, babies, babies. Everywhere I look there are babies. I cannot avoid them! And when I look at those babies I feel broken hearted and robbed. I never got to experience my baby like most people get to experience theirs. Seeing a baby makes my heart ache deeply and makes me begin to ask the impossible questions again: Why did she have to die? Why couldn't I save her? Why us? And the list goes on.
Another challenge is with friendships. Not only am I missing and grieving my daughter, but I am losing friends because I cannot bear to be around them while I am in this pain. So many friends have or are having babies, but this causes a separation between me and those friends. I cannot relate to them, we have nothing to talk about...there is an elephant in the room. That elephant is that you have a healthy baby and I do not. Some people clearly think I just need to get over it and deal with it. They talk about their baby, show pictures, and don't think twice about the pain it causes me. Other people are sensitive and kind. But even if they are sensitive and kind, what are we left to talk about? I cannot handle talking about their children, I have no children (and in the back of my mind fear I may never have children), and I do not always want to talk about my loss and pain. So we are left with small talk.
The other big struggle I have is feeling like I am letting down the people around me because I am not able to be who I used to be. As I have written in previous posts, I have learned to smile and laugh in the pain. I have also learned to show my true emotions and share my experience with people. But there are times when I cannot socialize and visit with friends, I cannot laugh at jokes, and I cannot be my usual outgoing self because the grief has paralyzed me. I often worry that people are uncomfortable or disappointed with how I have changed.
As I analyze and process my struggles, I must remind myself of the hope that there is for healing and hope for the future.