For a long while, I harbored bitterness towards pregnant women. I needed the anger to hold my experience in place. My world had been changed by unexpected unfair death. Not being angry about it meant I didn’t hold that experience most true. It was proof my life had undergone a massive disruption. With anger at the forefront, it was always obvious that Reece had a daily impact on my life.
Letting go of the easy-to-access anger and bitterness that was linked to his death was scary as hell. Those two emotions have very physical reactions. In a world where I have no physical connection to Reece, I wanted to feel the anger as a physical connection to him. In pushing through with therapy instead of quitting, in letting go of the anger, I worried I would lose my connection to him. He seemed more real if I linked him to the anger that was just “right there.” But Reece isn’t the anger. Reece isn’t the anxiety, the panic attacks, or the bitterness.
The pain is not Reece. The pain is not my son.
The key concept was understanding that Reece and I are forever connected, even without the anger. I didn’t believe it was true, but I was just so tired of being in pain about him. The exhaustion weighed more than the fear of losing a bit of him. Once I reprocessed the anger, I feel that connection to him more than before. He is mine. I am his. He is with me wherever I go. With intentional focus, I can feel him. His life growing inside me caused our DNA to be forever linked in a permanent physical way. Study my blood and you will find three marked distinctions from three individual boys. But if I’m still, I can feel the emotional connection to him also. It’s softer but always there.
My son is the sweet memories. The giant bowls of popcorn. The goofy maternity shirts. My proud Halloween pumpkin costume. Every time we see a moose or hear “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” he is with us. The tenderness, my global sense of compassion, my ability to see big pictures, the knowledge that people are dealt things outside of their control. There is a small stone of sadness inside the well of richness and depth he brought to my life. But it is no longer a boulder. I am no longer Atlas, bearing the weight of the world. My connection to him persists on a deeper level and it’s stronger now with anger out of the way.
He is the thread that runs through me.
Everything I do is stitched in his color.