I was 5 years old when my dad brought mom home from the hospital. She had gone in to have our baby brother. She came home with empty arms. Our baby brother died when he was 3 days old as a result of an alcoholic doctor. Lawsuits were not common 40 years ago when we lost him, and I don't know that my parents would have sued anyway. The doctor, whose negligence resulted in his death, was very dear to my parents, and to say he felt bad about it was apparently an understatement. From what I understand, he stopped delivering babies after he inadvertently killed the youngest member of our family. It tore him apart.
But I don't think it could have affected him nearly as much as it affected our family. My mom never has gotten over it. For a full week before and after his birthday every year she is almost non-functioning with grief. I'm sure she pictures what he would have looked like, what he would be doing for a living, how many children he'd have had, but along with that, I know she has to wonder what he'd have been like as a little boy. Would he have been more sensitive like my younger brother or more of a rebel like one of my older ones And I'm sure she has wondered repeatedly what she could have done to have prevented it from happening and probably even suffered a bit from survivor's guilt. My mom's heart is huge, and she'd much rather have given her life, if his had been spared.
And while we never lost a baby after birth, we did lose 3 little ones who never made it into this world. The grief was overwhelming. We fell in love with every single one of them the moment we found out we were expecting. We wondered who they would resemble. Would we finally have our little boy? What would it mean for Hopper and Scooter? If the babies didn't have the genetic condition the girls have, would they ever think that they weren't good enough, and that was why we tried for more? What would it mean for the baby having 2 older sisters who they would eventually surpass in ability?
We hadn't come to an answer for any one of the questions when we lost them at 16, 13 and 9 weeks. We picked out names. We felt the first one we lost was finally our little boy. We named him Shamus Andrew. We sensed our next was another little girl. We named her Sylvia Adeline. We didn't name our last one. We didn't know about the pregnancy long enough to get a grasp of who we had lost, but the loss was tremendous.
It's amazing how big a void losing a child can leave in your life. Suddenly all the hopes and dreams you had from the moment the morning sickness started are ripped out of your hands - no matter how desperately you try to hold on. Sadly, it is totally out of your control, so you reach out to try to maintain control as you feel yourself free falling. You cling to what you do have. You hug your children a little tighter and more often. You never want to let them go.
For me, not only did I cling to my girls and my husband even more tightly. I hung onto anything and everything of theirs that had memories attached. Baby toys. The baby and maternity clothes were the hardest. I take that back. I still haven't been able to let go of the baby blankets I made. I'm not sure I'll ever get rid of them. I held onto the hope that one day, some day, I'd have a reason to wear my favorite blue and black plaid flannel maternity shirt that I wore with all 3 girls. That someday we would put the little pink bonnets and lacy dresses on another little sweetheart with a thick head full of hair.
It's hard to give up Someday.
Someday is so full of promise.
Someday is so full of hope.
Someday is so filled with dreams.
It's really hard to give up Someday.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.