It was only a few weeks after the loss of our daughter that I was faced with the decision on whether or not to go back to work. I was nervous about how I would feel being back in my office and back around my co workers who, just months before, were celebrating my pregnancy. I knew that I couldn’t just “go back to normal” because nothing was “normal” about losing a child and I was not the same person that I was before she came into, and then too quickly left, this world. Being at home allowed me the freedom to do whatever I needed to do to find peace and not feel overwhelmed with grief. I could talk about her as much as I wanted, go through her things, look at her pictures and trace my fingers over her tiny handprints. I did not have to worry about getting anything else done or focusing my energy on anything else but her. I worried that by going back to work I would have to bottle up my thoughts and feelings in order to be “professional”. I felt that because my daughter died, I would not be able to bring up stories about her in the middle of a staff meeting like “normal” new mothers – instead I would have to listen to stories about other people’s children in bitter silence with the thoughts of my beautiful daughter tucked away as if part of a great socially unacceptable secret – because you shouldn’t talk about how your child died while you are at work. It was so unfair to me that other new moms would be going back to work full of stories about their babies and their newly attained motherhood that they would be sharing with everyone. They would be gushing about how precious their baby is, how much they look like their parents, how they already feel like motherhood has changed them forever – all the things I wished I could be saying too.
I have now been back to work for a few months and what I have come to realize is I can in fact talk about my daughter. I can share her story and I do, even more often as time goes on. I have found that talking about her and sharing my experiences as a mother has helped me in my own personal healing process. my daughter was alive, she was strong, she was beautiful and she changed my life forever. In her short life she taught me that as humans we can possess both great strength and great fragility, that life is uncertain but also incredibly beautiful, that the most difficult things we go through in our lives have the power to transform us and teach us things about ourselves that for some take entire lifetimes to discover. I talk about her now because I find strength in saying her name. I find strength in reminding myself and others that I am, in fact, a mother. I find strength in remembering her life and the the impact she had on mine. I find strength in the knowledge that others speak her name as well.
Evelyn Ryann you will never be forgotten and I will never silence your memory. I will speak your name daily and share your life with others. You are my daughter and always will be and I will love you for the rest of my life.
Peace, Be Well.