It's been a year since we lost Carter. I never thought I would make it a year without him, but we have. I think the things that I've learned over the year and the things that I would tell someone else going through this are:
You will make it through. Sometimes the pain seems so deep and so excruciating and you don't know how you could possibly make it another day. But you will. Soon the days will get a little easier and pass a little quicker. On the days you feel like you can't possibly make it another step, you can. Focus on the next 30 minutes if you need to, and once you make it through that, you can focus on the next hour. You will find strength you never knew you had and you will keep moving.
You will never get over it. And don't let anyone tell you that you will. You lost a child, not a puppy or a gerbil, your child. A hole in your heart that no one else can ever fill. You will move forward, but you will never forget about your child and move on.
Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. There have been many days when I have just had to let myself be. When I wanted to cry or laugh or not get out of bed, I just had to let myself do those things. I have to go through those emotions and feelings. I knew if I stuffed them down, it wouldn't help. I tried to just accept that people might judge me or stay away from me, but I had to be true to what I was feeling. This was my son and I needed to and deserved to feel these emotions and feelings for him. At the end of the day, the people who truly love you will still be there for you no matter what.
Do what you need to do to get through the day. If you need to stay in bed and cry, do it. If you need to sit at your baby's grave all day, do it. If you need to go to the grocery store and buy flowers to take your baby, do it. If you need someone else to come over and watch your kids so you can do what you need to, call them. If you need a friend to come over and just sit with you, call and ask. There is no "right" way to grieve.
Most people don't mean to be insensitive or rude, they just don't know. I'm sure we've all heard the "He's in a better place", "God needed another angel" and the "You're young, you can have more kids" statements which generally hurt more than help. People want to help and sometimes say things that to them seem helpful, but really aren't. Just know that they probably mean well and they want you to feel better, they want to help ease some of your pain. If they say something you find offensive or insensitive, gently tell them. Suggest other things they could say or do to help. People who haven't been there won't get it, they can't.
That lost, dazed and wandering feeling will get better. I remember the first time I went to the grocery store after the boys were born and I just felt so incredibly out of place. I wondered how everyone else's lives could keep going when mine had come to a screeching halt. Things will slowly start to feel more "normal" although it will be a different normal than before.
Ask for help and tell people what you need. Find people that you trust and ask for what you need. Things like loss show you who your true friends really are, the ones who tell you that you can call any time of day or night and mean it. Many people want to help they just don't know how. If you need space or if you need someone just to sit and be with you, or you want to show someone pictures of your baby, etc. Let people know what you need, your true friends will do anything they can to help.
I hope this can somehow encourage anyone else who is going through this. On the days it seems like there is no possible way that you can take one more step, you can. The days will be long and hard, but you will make it!
Anyone else have anything they would add?