Writing through losing a child

“I’m not seeing a heart beat.” Those are words I’ll never forget. A week before we’d returned from a fabulous and memorable three-week family trip to Cyprus. For me it was not just a time to enjoy my husband and daughter but also a time to reflect and refocus on my writing career. Lately I had been feeling torn in many directions and I needed to stop, relax and take time to celebrate my Little Miss Markey’s fourth birthday and our 7th wedding anniversary. At the time I was six months pregnant and wanted to give our daughter a wonderful family of three trip before becoming a family of four. That dream—becoming a family of four never was meant to be. A week after leaving paradise our youngest daughter, Aliena passed away.

Notice the hidden heart at Aliena’s memorial service balloon release.

Notice the hidden heart at Aliena’s memorial service balloon release.

It’s been an unthinkable month of ups and downs. Her service was beautiful. The hardest part has been helping Little Miss Markey, our four-year-old daughter cope with the loss. She was so excited about being a big sister and to a little sister nonetheless. She believed she was like Elsa and her sister would be like Anna. Yes, we are still very much a “Frozen” household. After including her in all our plans for Aliena and building up the idea of a baby we had to tell her the unthinkable. I never expected a four-year-old to break down over something that we, as adults, could barely understand.

This is why I’ve been inactive. This is why I’ve been socially quiet. I lost a daughter who I had loved feeling her “parties” inside me. I remember friends celebrating when I was 12 weeks pregnant saying I was in the clear. No one is ever in the clear. We lost Aliena, named after the amazing character in Ken Follet’s “Pillars of the Earth” at 24 weeks. I was over halfway to holding my little girl. I did hold her after the delivery but she was still. She did have her sister’s nose and my impossible to fit narrow feet.

Life at our house is returning to a new “normal.” We were well on our way to preparing for our new arrival. My office had just been moved and we were clearing my old office and preparing it to become a nursery. Now we’ve spent the last few weeks turning it into a library for us all to enjoy as a family. I quickly grew tired of the dread I felt anytime I passed that room. So how does a writer/avid reader make something happy? Yes, aren’t books always the answer?

But despite the sadness and this hollow feeling I try to shake I’m reminded of the power of writing. It takes me back to my very essence. I’m expressive, a communicator, an artist. Whether I’m writing a blog post, a book or choreographing and dancing for one of my classes – I am expressive. All artists are and it’s incredibly healing.

I wish I would be writing this telling you I’d been inactive because we were busy celebrating our daughter’s healthy arrival but sadly that is not the case. Life happens. Bad things happen and it’s up to us to pick up the pieces and find healing in whatever way gives us peace.

So this blog is back. Now that my focus has come out of a fog I’m back to writing and cranking out big daily word counts and it’s really good material too. We lost a child but this doesn’t define my family or me. Now that reality has set in and I’ve found my peace I’m determined to work harder than ever. Losing a child or anyone close to you shoots you with a devastating wake-up call. Life is precious. Of course this is something we should know but reminders sneak up and can hit you in the gut.

I lost my daughter. I mourn for the dreams I had for her. All the ideas I formed in my mind of things we would do or things she would do with her older sister. These dreams died with her but my ideas, the stories I tell my daughter and stories I had planned to share with Aliena are very much alive.

So, as always I write for my love of this expression, this art but I also write for her—a baby who didn’t get the chance to share her ideas. We all have ideas worth sharing. Are you really working hard enough to get your ideas out there? How has a tragedy pushed your writing? Have you experienced the healing of finding your place with a keyboard or pen?

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