Friday, October 24, 2014

Grief: The First Six Months

by Christine Russo
It's hard to believe we've made it past six months without our daughter.
As far away as it seems on some days, I can go back to her birth like it was yesterday. Holding her, loving her, and studying her every nook and cranny so I remember every beautiful part of our precious baby. Her tiny, adorable ears and those ridiculously long, curly eyelashes are features that are thankfully embedded in my brain.
The first several weeks were extremely raw, painful, and emotional. It was a feeling of complete emptiness. My husband and I were completely broken. During those raw first weeks, my advice is to do whatever you need to do to get from minute to minute, hour to hour. Cry, scream, laugh, sleep, exercise, anything that gets you through the next moment, I suggest you embrace it. I sat outside and read a lot. I read many books and blogs written by other baby loss moms while listening to the music that reminded me of G.
After a while, the rawness started to wear off and the reality of our loss set in. There was a huge void in our family and we felt the vast impact of her absence. This is also around the time when my husband didn't have to be my constant 'caretaker' anymore and he was hit hard with all of the emotions. Processing our loss and coming to terms with losing his daughter was so hard to watch, but completely necessary for him. We started a fundraiser to collect items to create comfort boxes to donate to the hospital. It's incredible how many beautiful people donated. The amount of people that were touched by our daughter made my heart so happy. It was a practical thing for me to do while I should have been taking care of my baby.
There have been moments where I was pushed to the edge of my cliff, ready to jump at any moment to end all the pain. It wasn't always easy, and still today I break down once in a while in social situations. There are times when people are kind enough to listen about our journey, about our daughter, and I live for those moments. I live to share her short, precious life. Over these 6 months, our relationship with Gianna has grown stronger and deeper. We've experienced daily moments of miracles from our baby girl and there is no denying her constant presence in our life.
Don't base your grief off of what others say it 'should' be, what you 'should' do. Because anyone who dictates the way you should grieve, clearly have no clue about the gravity of your loss. Or they aren't at a point in their life where they can handle something this monumental. Unfortunately, some people will never understand that this is a lifelong journey, not a grieving process with specific stages that will ultimately end in us 'getting over it'. Never gunna happen. We just learn to heal in our own ways and live our lives without our child. Sometimes people will try to compare it to another loss, but losing a child defies the very order of life and death. Don't allow anyone to overshadow your grief with their selfishness. Be aware of who you allow into your life during this especially vulnerable time.
I have truly had happy times since the death of our baby, it's just different. And I have hope that there will be deeper joys for us in the future, but for now, we will live day by day while parenting our child from here and ensuring her memory stays alive.

If you are in these first treacherous months, there is no guidebook to getting through this, but accept all the support you can get and do what's right for your heart.

~ ~ ~
Christine Russo is a wife to an amazing, supportive husband, and a mommy to Angel Gianna Marie, her first and only child. She carried Gianna after receiving a fatal diagnosis halfway into her pregnancy. Through the love and spirit of their special daughter, who means the world to them, they wish to help support other families who have to say goodbye to a piece of their heart


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