We enter into this world knowing that we will eventually bury our parents. It is a horrible, sad reality of life. Every once in a while, fate gets it wrong and the parent is the one left behind. It is one of the most heart wrenching experiences anyone can ever go through, the death of a child. It does happen though, and that moment changes the parent forever. When my little girl died, it altered who I would be for the rest of my life. 

     I had been married to my first husband for three years, and we decided to have another child. Our relationship was struggling, and I believed it would bring us closer together. We got pregnant very quick, and pretty early in the pregnancy we found out our little girl was not well. Her little heart was very unhealthy and the entire pregnancy was very stressful. I was young and I still had a three year old running around. It was difficult to keep it together, but we managed. 
     She was born on a cold, snowy November day. She was beautiful. I didn't get to hold her for the first week of her life, but when I did, it was well worth the wait. For a month, I slept my her bedside, and waited for her to get better. It didn't happen. In December, we let her go. 
     The day she left us, I remember every part of me wanted to die. I wanted to curl up in bed and never wake up again. I wanted to be with my little girl. There was nothing that would make that pain go away. I went to our home and looked at her bassinet that was set up next to our bed. Her toys were in our living room. Everything was awaiting her arrival, but she never came. I hated everyone and everything. My entire heart and soul was so angry, and then oldest came home.
     Oldest child (who was not oldest at the time, but an only child) basically lived with my parents during the month I was gone. I saw him very little and he was so confused. He was only three years old, and his entire world had been turned upside down. When he came home that day, he was so happy to see me. It was impossible to be angry with him. I had someone who needed me. 
     Even prior to that month, oldest and I were best friends. My marriage was in shambles, but I did my best to keep oldest happy and isolated from the problems. Oldest kept me going that sad day and for all the days after. I put him to bed that night and watched him sleep. He looked so peaceful. I knew that no matter how bad I felt, I needed to keep going for him.
     The next few days were a blur. I still can't remember a lot from them. I know there was a wake and a funeral. I remember oldest asking many times where the baby was. I didn't know what to tell him. I remember each morning I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did because oldest needed to eat. That is what drove me to act human. My son needed me. I went through the motions. I sort of kept it together, at least in front of him. I did not cry in front of him. I let it out when I was alone. 
     Losing a child destroys you on every level. It kills you physically and emotionally. You feel hollow. I still do at times. There is a void that will never be filled by anyone or anything. At my happiest moments, I always wish she was with me to experience them. I remember the first time I laughed after she died. I felt so guilty. It was overwhelming. The guilt over laughing consumed me for days. I just had a child die, how dare I laugh. I was so disappointed in myself. 
     Eventually you come to terms with it, and accept it. You realize how amazing and precious life is. I now understand how quick each day goes by. How to savor every moment. The death of my daughter let me appreciate my children more than I ever thought possible. It also made me realize I am stronger than I ever knew. You draw strength from everyone and everything you can. Some days, when there is nothing to make you strong, you just keep going because you know the motions.
     The people who say it gets easier, they lie. It never gets easier. You get numb. You accept.That is the only way I can explain it. It has been fourteen years since I last held my daughter, and it isn't any easier. The pain is more tolerable. I know what to expect now. I think about her each moment of every day. I see her in all three of our children. I wish she is with us every time we laugh or we fight. But, it hasn't gotten any easier. I know it won't. Instead, I find solace in the fact that she isn't in pain anymore. She is free, wherever she may be. One day, our family will be complete again, and that gives me peace.                                                                                                            


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