Behind The Mask

What you don't see.

To the outside world it may look like we are handling the death of our child well. It may appear to you that we are so strong. That we are ok.

You wonder things like “how do they do it?” or you say things like “if I were her I wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed.”

These are all things you assume about us because you see us smile or hear us laugh. You watch us pour all of our energy into things that have become important to us since we've lost our babies. You see us post happy photos on social media with funny captions. Many assume we are either over it or that we are trying to avoid the pain.

Please, take a glimpse of what life is really like in our world. I promise when you’re done you won’t think we are over anything and that avoiding the pain is nothing short of impossible.

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Every day we wake up there is not a second that we forget the fact we will never be able to see or hold our son or daughter again while we are alive.

Our living children that are still on earth listen to endless sobs in the next room because the pain is so deep and bottomless. This is not something that happens only on significant dates or holidays. This is something that occurs out of nowhere because of a memory, a scent, a noise, a season change, coming across a ziplock bag full of clothes that he or she wore and we never washed - should I keep going?

We never stop thinking about what they would be doing right now, what they would look like or what their favorite show would be. In my head my baby waddles through the house with messy blonde hair like his momma’s and holds tightly to a stuffed green t-rex. I know he would have loved dinosaurs. We can't forget about the closet full of clothes that will never be worn, the milestones that will never be achieved and the family vacations that will never be taken as a complete whole.

Many days we do not get dressed. We no longer bother putting makeup on because that would be a waste; the tears will wash it all off anyways. We have no desire to lose the last 10lbs of our pregnancy weight because that is the only thing we have physically left on our bodies to show our babies were here.

You think we look exhausted because we are keeping ourselves too busy. Truth? We look exhausted because we are exhausted. We are emotionally exhausted. We are exhausted because we are grieving for our child. We have all of the daily responsibilities and tasks that you have but we have to do them with a whole in our heart. That is exhausting.

The words OK, normal, happy and strong now carry a completely different meaning to us then they do to you. Please don’t forget our hearts have a piece of it missing for the rest of our lives but that it also has many pieces that are still here with us. Be patient with us. We are just going moment by moment, trying to find a balance between a life that was and a life that now is.

Elisha Palmer