I cannot believe that it is the end of March already. This past winter feels like it lasted forever – the cold, snow, sleet. Today is a pretty day – a Monday, which some groan over. But sunny and 51 degrees. Spring-like finally.
I had quite a sick month of February. I started feeling sick the end of January. I got the flu, and I never quite could shake being ill until a couple of weeks ago. For the past five years or so, I dread the month of February. It seems that every day there is something to remember, or sometimes I feel, wanting to forget. February 5th, we found out that Emily had died in my tummy. February 6th, Michael. February 8th, I was induced to deliver Emily. February 12th, Michael. February 15th, Emily’s funeral. And February 21st, Michael’s. And with that, February is the shortest month of the year. So, I am a bit apprehensive every February. Not sure exactly how I will feel. Every year, I try and do something a little different. This year, I volunteered to help in my one son’s classroom on February 5th. In the past, I would have avoided doing anything on that day such as interacting a lot with others. So I signed up to help. And to try and not think of myself and my grief. But this year, I couldn’t. I was sick. In bed. And thinking I would “shake it off” within a week or so. But that did not happen. And it continued. I felt like I was either in bed sick, or dragging with being sick. And then I realized, “Grieving is hard. But being sick and grieving is not much better.”
This is the first time since Emily died, that I have just been sick for the month of February. That was not much fun. And so, I feel that I must try and take a new approach with this month. During the month of February, that horrible school shooting happened at Parkland. It was mid-way through the month – February 14th, Valentine’s Day. I remember reading about it on my phone, as I was lying in bed resting. I was angry. Mad. I thought, “How could this happen? Again?” When Sandy Hook had happened, my oldest was about to start Preschool that following September. I was sad. Concerned. Anxious. That was about five years ago. Now he is in 3rd grade, and my other is in Kindergarten. This time, I am sad. Mad. And angry.
I am not going to get into politics on here, that is not the goal of having this blog. My point in mentioning all of this, is to say 1) how grieving can change over the years. And how yes, grieving especially on anniversaries is hard. But being sick during that time is even worse. Health is such a thing we take for granted. And 2) as I was grieving our babies, Emily and Michael, in heaven, there were people grieving their babies, their children, in Florida on the day before we buried our Emily five years ago.
I have learned since losing our babies that suffering and loss are constant, and do not just happen to certain people. I remember searching so much and deeply for the “why”. Why did this happen to us? And why did it happen again? I am sure those parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, ask and are asking the same thing. I have joined in this movement to improve our school safety – whatever that is to look like and is needed. Some say, “It is such a rare occurrence – a mass shooting at a school. There are things that happen more often that should be looked at.” Yes, there are horrible things that happen more often such as drug overdose, or teen car accidents. But it happens – these school shootings. And it is not okay with me to just accept it. And not try to change it.
Just as with baby loss. It happens during pregnancy or shortly after, 1 our of 4. Not the majority. Most have a baby to bring home and raise. But not all. I will not forget the 25% or so, just because it is not common “enough”. I am a faith led person, and I do not think God would want me to just accept these things just because it wasn’t “most”. Wasn’t there a story or parable Jesus told of a shepherd abandoning his herd of sheep, 99, to go find the lost one? One sheep? One. Not the majority. He did not want to leave one behind. I know this story was told about finding the sinner, and having him or her be joined to God again and to turn away from sin. But I think that there is more to this story. To not leave one behind. To help all. I feel that we need to take more of a mind set of this, versus it doesn’t happen to most. The fact that these things such as baby loss or mass school shootings happen, is enough for me. To seek change. To try and improve things, and to not just accept it. Because it is not the majority.