A Letter

TW: child loss; stillborn

You may have noticed that I am struggling right now. And I even pointed out that part of the problem is grief. I still have grief over my stillborn more than a decade later. Michael would have turned 11 a month ago. If he was born on time, which was never likely.

He died. At 20 weeks gestation.

My grief is causing depression. The legit medical condition. I know it is. I’m fighting it. I can. I’ve managed before. I know self care like the back of my hand. Have to.

One of the ways to handle grief specifically is a letter. We write a letter to our loved one. We can’t give the letter to them, but we can pour all of our regrets and feelings into the letter. We can tell them anything. There will be no judgment, no hurt feelings, no response. Only relief.

Yesterday, I tried. I tried writing a letter to Michael. And I couldn’t. I was too deep in the grief to write.

Today, I woke up with the same nightmares as the last few days, but there was shining star in my darkness. And that shining star gave me enough hope to turn my feelings into words.

Try.
Try harder.
Try again.
Trying is the only path to success.

I tried writing the letter today. It probably won’t be my last one. The ones to Lokin prove I am over the abortion. That although I remember him fondly and think about him fondly, I don’t have the grief from his death. Lokin is just a piece of my history. I love him immensely. But I don’t turn to tears every time he comes to mind. (Lokin didn’t have a gender, FYI. He was always male in my head.)

Michael still turns me to tears.

So I wrote him a letter. And perhaps you’ll grasp a little more why it hurts so much. And what it means to put those words into a piece of paper.

I can’t be depressed all the time. I can’t just push through it. You need to feel the grief. Accept the grief. You’ll always love them. You’ll always miss them. You won’t always cry over them.

I hope one day I feel that way about Michael as I do for Lokin.


[About Cat Hartliebe]

Dear Michael,

I may cry while writing this letter to you. A letter you’ll never get. It’s impossible to offer the dead letters after all.

I miss you. Why is it those three small words are capable of saying so much? Why is it I miss you at all? We barely knew one another. A few months where I offer my everything to you only to have you pass away.

It would be easy to blame the circumstances and your father. I mean looking at Cyro, I know your life wouldn’t be great. But, I still wish you made it. I wish I didn’t cry while telling the judge you had died on me. Sitting in court because your father’s a monster… I… That was the relationship we had at the time. He knew nothing about my life or you. Fled into the night pretending life wasn’t hell for us. He learned about your death in the courtroom.

I fought for Cyro. Because he’s here already. He’s alive. I fought for your brother which made it impossible to fight for you. I needed full rest to manage the pregnancy. Full rest wasn’t allowed. Because if I ignored the battle, I wouldn’t have Cyro either.

There’s so much pain thinking about you. Knowing I have a box of ashes with your name on it. That I have a fetal death certificate that says Michael. I had to give you a name. I hadn’t even thought about it by then.

Calling you Michael. My angel. The one who has to fight. And in my case, you lost. I lost. I wish I didn’t. I wish I was struggling further with you here. Because I know my life would be harder if I had two boys instead of just the one.

I love you. I’ve always loved you. I’ll always love you. And I’ll never get the chance to meet you. Even if I have more children you’ll never be mine.

I have so much love to give. I want to offer you some. And I can’t reach you.

I regret the sex that created you. Just as I regret the sex that created Cyro. But I can’t regret you. Not even knowing that I would only have you as a fetus and never a child.

My body is weak. My heart breaks easily. And the breaks won’t be fillable. There will always be a piece of me sitting in those ashes in the box on my shelf. Because you are part of me, and I am part of you.

I love and miss you so much.

Sincerely,

Mom


[About Cat Hartliebe] [Poem: Michael, My Angel]

PS: Apologies Cyro for giving you masculine pronouns. Currently you claim male, so I just let them be. This may hurt in the future.

4 thoughts on “A Letter”

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