Life has a way of distracting us from that what matters the most. We get lost in the dance in which we juggle between work, our household, friends and everything in between. Even though I dedicate quite a lot of time of each day to thinking about my baby, remembering Sahar, and transforming this grief into something more, I feel many times that it is not enough. I feel that I need more time with her. Life doesn’t always give us that space. My due date was coming up, and I felt that this was the time to take some dedicated time off everything. Time to spend with my husband. With our love for each other. But especially, with Sahar. With our grief. With the love we feel for the child we cannot hold in our arms. We took a week off work and left to the sea side. It wasn’t the 3 month maternity leave I was hoping for, but given our reality, it was a good getaway.
That week was surreal. I found myself lost in a parallel universe I would give everything to live in. A reality, in which I had given birth to a healthy, living beautiful little baby Sahar. A reality in which I could hold her in my arms, and kiss her, every time I felt like it. A reality in which I could feed her, comfort her when she cries, and hold her very tight to my chest while she falls asleep. A reality in which Frank’s eyes transmit nothing but bliss and happiness, instead of sadness and grief. What I would give to be in that place… Words fail to express this feeling.
I was doing my very best to keep strong, focusing on the good stuff, and putting all my hope and faith in the future that awaits us. Holding my husband’s hand, I tried to get through the day. The support I received from this beautiful loss community, made it a little bit easier. Cards, e-mails, photos and many, many text messages, brought smiles to my face when I thought that to be impossible. I cannot express how thankful I am for all the love I have received from all of you.
If that weren’t enough already, there was more to come. We had no idea what was coming our way. Frank got a call Friday morning from his dad, telling us that Frank’s grandmother was probably taking her last breaths. We drove back home as soon as we could and spent the afternoon with her. Even though she wasn’t awake, she felt our presence, and we left with that comforting thought in mind. The next morning, I got up with a heavy feeling on my heart… September 7th. It was Sahar’s 4-month angelversary. 4 months. I still can’t believe it’s been that long already. It seems like yesterday I still had her in my arms to say goodbye. Even breathing felt uncomfortable. I talked to Frank about visiting Sahar at the graveyard as we normally do on her angelversaries. As I said this, he remained silent, looking into my eyes. He didn’t say anything, but I could see something in there, although I wasn’t sure what.
He went to play his regular Saturday soccer game. I was cleaning up some stuff while I heard my phone ring. “Laila, it’s time to come to the hospital”. I will never forget the emotion in the words Katrin spoke: grief, pain, but also a forced sense of calm. I jumped into my car, my eyes clouded in tears, my heart racing, and my mind going back and forth over interrupting Frank during that game or not. While I drove to the hospital, I decided I just had to get him… I ran to the coach like a lunatic and asked him to get Frank off the field. We made eye contact. While I expected him to break down, he was calm, serene. I looked him in the eyes and told him what happened, and he replied with just a few words: I knew this would happen today. My heart skipped a beat, or maybe a few, while I realized the gathering of events on this day.
We said goodbye to an incredible woman that day. Although I’ve only had the honour of calling her grandma for a few years, they were beautiful to say the least. She made it so easy. From day 1, she filled that void my grandmother left when I was a teenager. I loved our Spanish chats while we drank coffee. If you would ask me to describe her, I would say she was an elegant, beautiful, and intelligent woman. She always had a smile to offer, no matter what she was struggling with. A woman that lived for her family, the glue that kept us all together with the epic Saturday steak and fries. A truly impressive woman, and truly an example for us all.
Somehow this new grief, brought back so many raw emotions I felt in the early days after I lost Sahar. That night, I felt as if I just came home from the hospital months before: Empty handed, lost, broken and hollow… Even more bad news came our way the next day as one of the closest person’s to my heart struggled with her health. The realistic possibility of a new loss combined with the grief of my daughter and grandma, brought me to my knees.
Like my sweet friend Franchesca said: When it rains it pours, and then some. Last week has been exactly that. I have been in one of the darkest places I know. I hate that place so much. It’s dark, empty, silent, and so painful to be there. While my mind fought to avoid falling in that pit entirely, my body couldn’t handle the stress and gave up. I spent half this week in bed suffering from low blood pressure and feeling sore and feverish. Tears flowing without stop. Bad thoughts rushing through my mind, into my veins, causing me even more pain. That physical breakdown was necessary though. It gave me the space I needed to properly digest everything that happened on this extremely short amount of time, and I’m grateful for that.
Today I can say, that I’m slowly finding my way into the light again. That I’m getting out of that hole I was sucked into. That I’m stepping up to life again, with tiny tiny footsteps. It’s not easy, and once again I know I will never be the same again. But we’re here, and we’re still standing. We’re still going, even when we’re soaking wet from all that rain. Even when it seems the sun will never come out again, we have to go on. Like my sweet husband says: Once we stop believing better times will come, life stops that very same instant. So here I stand, fearfully believing, sharing my happiness and sorrow here with you again. I am glad I found my way back to this place. Thank you for coming back to me too, sweet readers.