I have realized the last few months that I am still grieving deeply for Emily. Or at least dealing with the emotions and feelings that the loss has brought to my life and how it has changed me. When Emily first passed away I really felt like I was doing well. I missed her terribly, and I was deeply, deeply grieving, but I felt so much peace that I was able to move forward and to be happy, even as my arms ached to hold her and sing to her. I remember someone calling from the funeral home to ask if I'd gone to any grief counseling and saying, "No, I'm doing really well, I don't have any anger or guilt or anything." and that has stayed true, in a sense, but I have also realized the past few months that I am feeling guilt and anger in a way differently than what I think people would think of. I have never, ever felt guilty for how I took care of Emily. Ever. I have always been blessed to know that I took care of her in the very best way that I knew how. Did I make mistakes, yes. But I really did everything I could to make sure she was healthy and happy. I tried so hard to treat her just as I would any other one year old, two year old, three year old and four year old. We went to the zoo, to six flags, peach picking, to the park, on runs, swimming, etc. I tried to make sure she had time to just play and be a kid, as much as possible with the therapists and doctors and school. When she passed away I was blessed to know that we had done everything we could to make sure she was healthy; it just wasn't meant to be for whatever reason. Since she's passed I've had people say things like, "You were the very best mom for her." or "You shouldn't feel bad for anything you did with her." And I never, ever have. It's a blessing.
I have realized the past few months, especially since Lily has been in first grade, that I feel extremely guilty over how I parent my children, especially Lily. I think because I did so much with Emily, and I spent so much of my time devoted to taking care of her, I feel bad if I don't do the same thing to my other kids. I feel guilty when I don't read to them, or when we aren't going someplace, or when I lose my temper, or that I haven't helped Lily have better handwriting (because it's terrible!). And I know that as moms we all experience this kind of guilt, but I have realized that mine is in a sense deeper, or more upsetting to me because I'm holding myself to this level and expectation. And I have a very, very deep fear that something will happen to Lily, or Lance, or Grant and that they will not know how much I love them or have tried to care for them. I know this all sounds a bit irrational, and it is. I'm trying to work through it all, and recognizing how I feel has helped.
I just find it interesting that so many people seem to think that my life with Emily was so far in the distant past, and that I have "moved on" with my life with my three sweet kids, when in reality it seems to be more and more front and center of my thoughts.
I've thought a lot about why this is, and as I've talked to my therapist/mom about it (thanks Mom!) I've realized that a lot of my "processing" is because my life is in reality truly "moving forward" whether I'm ready for it to or not. Ever since Emily died, and in reality for Emily's entire life, so for 10 years, we have been in "baby mode." We have constantly had the care of a baby for 10 years. And I've never had a child in school full time-Emily should have been getting ready for kindergarten when she passed away.
So we have now reached this stage in our life when we have a child in school full time, and are not looking toward any babies joining us in the future, and I have quiet moments when Grant is sleeping and Lance is playing with his toys that I have been able to think. And my thoughts have gone round and round, as you can see!