Wednesday, December 5, 2012

For the Love of Andrew, I Blog

A friend asked me yesterday how I could blog about my life the way I do. She was mostly surprised that I had the courage to be so bold. I answered that question quickly and easily, but then continued to add how blogging about the intimacy of losing a child continues to shape our lives as they are now. Here are some of the reasons I gave her, and some I have been thinking about since our conversation yesterday:

  • Today is Andrew's 2nd birthday. Because of blogging, I've received an unprecedented amount of support from the babyloss community, friends, family, and complete strangers. We're honored that you care about us enough to celebrate our son. Thank you for the emails, comments, cards, text messages and overall love you've shared in speaking his name.
  • It has introduced me to a huge community of babyloss families out there that can empathize. Misery might love company, sure, but I also think it's important to be able to connect on an emotional level to those who understand the trauma and sadness child loss has brought us.
  • Because therapy is expensive. Okay, it has nothing to do with cost, but it does have to do with comfort level and how I know myself best. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, and I can't think of a greater need for some type of therapy than losing a child.
  • Someone has to. Really, someone has to talk about stillbirth and babies dying. I wish that person was not me, but because our family was struck by this, it's only logical that I turn the topic away from being taboo. Our culture should be much more accepting. I actually think it's my responsibility to speak out. If I choose to be ashamed or hide my grief, others will treat it as shameful, too. Andrew is not shameful. He is all love to me. As his mother, I sort of set the stage for how I want others to handle his death. What I don't want is for him to be forgotten or his life trivialized. On that same note, not all of us grieve the same. I understand that completely, but this is how I've chosen to grieve; out loud.
  • What's life really about anyway? If we're not vulnerable, how should we be? I feel it's fine in some situations to be reserved and I practice that {i.e. business}, but in my friendships and family relationships (note: my readership), I feel it's best to be more transparent. I feel less awkward that way. 
  • Helping others. I receive emails multiple times a week from others who have recently lost a child, are pregnant with a subsequent child (incredibly traumatic), or are seeking advice about supporting a friend who just lost their baby. I feel honored that my experience can help others. Don't get me wrong-- I hate that I understand their grief. But I do, and I want to help. For those who have no connection to loss themselves but still read, maybe it will help prepare them if they ever encounter loss in their own life or in the lives of people they know. This stretches beyond child loss and into just being  caring and kindhearted individuals. When someone endures tragedy that affects them deeply, it's only logical to care for them. Avoiding them just trivializes their sadness. 
  • Selfishly, it forces readers to think about my son. I can't post pictures of him doing the ultra cute things I know he'd be doing if he were here today. I had those pictures planned out well through elementary school on this blog. And yet, I'm void of pictures to share. He'd be eating cake today, naturally, and I'd be sharing pictures. He's not, and instead, I write about him because it's my way of attempting to scrounge for every little nugget of parenting I should've/wish I could've experienced with him here.
Today has been pretty somber for me. I'm sad. I hate this. I've been feeling pretty melancholy all day. Two. Wishing you were here, Andrew. I always will. 


Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

For all those reasons and many, many more I am grateful that you write and share Andrew's story. I am grateful you share Andrew with us and am glad to have you as company on this path of loss (I hate that too!)

Thinking of Andrew. I shed a few tears for Andrew today as I rocked my Lillian this morning.

Newlywed Next Door said... [Reply to comment]

Happy birthday Andrew. We wish you were here to celebrate with your family.

Brandy, thanks for sharing Andrew with us these two years. It's hard believe it's been two years. Hugs.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Thinking of your gorgeous boy, and his beautiful momma too.

Love you so much... I'm totally one of those people who wouldn't have made it through without you.


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with all of those reasons. Same here. And I'm so glad that you grieve out loud. It definitely helps the rest of us.

Thinking of Andrew, and lighting a candle for him tonight.


Di said... [Reply to comment]

Andrew, we all miss you and so wish you were here today. We'll think of you tho, always. Tears and smiles for you today xx.

Brandy, thank you so much for blogging... I am one you have helped, so much. Thanks for being here in this space where we wish we weren't buut are and do what we can to get through and support each other. Thanks from one blm to another.

Gina said... [Reply to comment]

Praying for your family today. I wish I had better words. Thanks for telling Andrew's story. You are so brave.

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

great reasons, I found myself nodding in agreement to each one. I feel honored to know Andrew through your love for him and your writings.

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Well said.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Been thinking about you since yesterday! In the midst of celebrating my birthday it didn't seem fair that the very next day you would be mourning the loss of Andrew!
Today we have managed to eat lots of sherbert and ice cream cups...all the while I was not thinking of the calorie toll but rather I must eat another in honor of Andrew! I loved every bite!!
Love you all! Many prayers and lots of blessings!!

Solange, Nik, Caitlin and Oliver said... [Reply to comment]

I am so thankful that you write about your experience. I don't know how you're so strong but I think it's wonderful that you're able to help others through their grief or help people like me know that it's okay to ask questions.

Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

I'm grateful you choose to write.

Love to you on this day.

Andrew, you are loved and remembered. Happy birthday, sweet boy.

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Grateful too for your blog... Thru it specfically, I met you, LJ, Brooke.

I agree with all of the reasons you listed, which makes me sad I don't blog anymore, but once I had to go private, I lost so much of that. Thankful I made the wonderful connections that I did when I had the chance.

Been thinking about y'all all week as you know. Lots of love!

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

Thinking of Andrew always and wishing he could be here with you.

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Yes yes yes. Oh I wish Andrew was here with you too. I am also glad I have you in my life. I too write for the reasons you mentioned. The single most helpful thing I found after Camille died was other women who also experienced loss. I needed to know I was not alone. I'm Thinking of you and Andrew.

sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Wishing he were here with you today, tomorrow, yesterday...always. Sending you love, and sharing my immense gratitude that I found you and this wonderful community of women who share this heartbreak and somehow, miraculously, make every day bearable.

Andrew, you are loved and missed, the world over.


Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

I agree writing is so therapeutic and it is wonderful that you have touched so many lives because of your beautiful son.

Happy Birthday Andrew!!!

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

"He is all love to me." And all we see is Andrew love, today and everyday.

RyAnne said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for this post, thank you for sharing your story. Andrew would be proud of his mommy. Your words give me the courage to keep telling Caleb's story. Happy birthday Andrew (a day late-sorry little guy!)

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

Thinking about you guys and Andrew.

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

I'm thankful that you do share about your life...all of it - the good, the bad, and the sad. I know that finding this community has been invaluable to me in surviving the loss of Caroline, making it to the end of pregnancy with Addalee (now doing the pregnancy thing again), and now having a baby here at home and all the things that go with that.

I thought of you and your Andrew so much leading up to and all during yesterday. I prayed for you and your family. I hope his birthday was easier than you'd anticipated.

Lots of love, mama!