I think it’s safe to say I was generally bad at keeping up with the challenge this month. It was surprisingly difficult to spend each day contemplating my grief and then reflecting on it enough to compose a well thought out post, so I gave myself permission to blog when I wanted to, participating as I felt inclined. I actually did feel…guilty?…that I had committed to participating and then failed, but then I read a note I wrote last week to another bereaved mom. I encouraged her to be kind to herself, to do what she felt comfortable and right about in moment. I told her that sometimes practicing self-care is more necessary than caring for others or keeping up with commitments when we are grieving. So I took my own advice and let the guilt go. I didn’t keep up with each challenge, but I did the ones that resonated with me, which is as much as I would ask of anyone else. So good for me!
There have been days this month that I didn’t post because I didn’t feel the subject of the day applied to me (music and journal, for instance). I felt guilty about that, too–do I not have enough grief to fill up a journal? What is wrong with me that I can’t spend so much time with my grief? But I know that’s wrong. I could grieve forever, of course, but I don’t want to meditate daily on my grief anymore. I am at a point with my loss that I can sometimes think of Owen without hurting, and it feels healthiest to let myself grieve when I feel so inclined but to also let go of grief if I need to.
I know just from having friends with kids that there’s lots of guilt and feelings of obligation in parenting. I don’t think parenting a dead child exempts me from that. Sometimes I talk to other grieving mothers and think: why don’t I want to make crafty artwork to commemorate my baby? Or: she seems like a better babyloss mom than me. That’s ridiculous. Not only can grief over a dead child not be placed on a continuum, but I’m also the absolute best babylost mother to my lost baby. There’s no one better to grieve my baby than me (and Zach, who is all too often left out of the conversation in our real life, I think), so every way I choose to grieve him is right and good, even it means giving myself a break every once in a while.