I have a son, Dylan.
I had two children.
Both of those children have passed away. One child I met living, and one I met sleeping.
November 28th of 2019, my Son passed away inside of me, where he was supposed to be safe.
Coming up on two years since his passing, I’m just barely able to start processing the emotions I feel around his loss. I say just barely, because some days--most days, it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I had a Son and he is no longer here.
Sometimes I often find myself repeating inside of my head, “I had a Son”. I have to say it over and over again so that it makes sense. This one phrase feels so different than it should. Acknowledging his life causes me to admit that his life is one that I never got the chance to know. At least not in the ways that I had ever imagined. I am not sure if there will ever come a day when losing him will make sense. I am not sure if there will ever be a birthday where I won’t sit and wonder.
This year, I find myself so badly wishing that I had gotten the chance to know the little boy who grew inside of me. I wish I knew what he would look like now, smell like and what kind of personality he would have had. I am left with so many questions that I so desperately wish that I had answers to. Sometimes, I find myself tucking him away in a place where I don’t have to remember exactly what is that I have lost. Then, there are those moments that I see a little boy who would be Dylan’s age, or just a little boy in general, and my mind wanders to the place where usually try so hard to not go. The pain that I have tucked away there surfaces, for only a moment, because these are feelings that I don’t want to feel.
Guilt. There is so much guilt around Dylan’s passing it’s hard to come to terms with. Guilt over the fact I was able to meet his sister alive, but not him.
Grateful that I was fortunate enough to meet one.
Guilt that I still feel as though I had to choose between both of my babies. Coming to terms with the fact that the choice was made for me. No one ever tells you about these feelings during pregnancy. No one ever tells you that you may carry a child one day, only to lose him the next. No one ever prepares you for the fact that not all pregnancies result in bringing a living child home.
For years and years, I dreamed of what it would be like to get in the car and leave the hospital with my precious baby. They’d be strapped into the car seat and we would drive blissfully home. I imagined what it would be like on that first night home with my baby; how I would sit up all night just staring into their perfect little eyes.
A year ago, I could barely process anything outside of my daily tasks. I drowned myself in my job, and in anything else that I could, to numb the pain.
This year, the smoke has cleared and I am left with putting the pieces back together and facing the trauma that I endured.
I had a Son.
I say this over and over again so that my mind can comprehend this truth. I had a Son, and I am still trying to understand why he is no longer here. I am trying to cope with the grief and the guilt that I feel over not being able to protect my child, despite how incredibly hard I tried.
I remember holding him in my arms as if he were still breathing. I remember trying to take in every piece of his tiny little body so that I would never forget. I remember holding his tiny, tiny fingers in mine. I met him, but not in the way that I had ever imagined.
I had his name picked out for years and years before he grew inside of me. I imagined him before he was ever a reality.
Today, I still imagine what he would have looked like, who he would have been and what it would have felt like to see him looking back at me. I wonder if he would have had my eyes?
I hope he knows that I am still so proud. Proud of who I know he would have been, and thankful for the chance to know him at all – even if only for a brief moment in time.
I have a Son.
Erin Epstein - Loss Mama to Dylan and Madelyn