We decided to take a little vacation. We’ve taken some sort of vacation before each of our babies were born. This time we ended up closer to home, on a lake with perfect weather and lots for Kenley to do. We’ve really needed a break with everything going on. I had forgotten how much work moving is, on top of everything else. Right now, I’m sitting out on the deck in the sunshine, looking at the lake, while Jeff and Kenley rest up for our trip to the pool. It’s beautiful and toasty.
This is a combined trip because tomorrow is our anniversary. We also try to take a trip every year for the occasion since we were married almost six years ago. Six years seems like a lifetime ago.
Jeff was active duty Army; we knew he would be deploying to Iraq a few short months after we were married. During his deployment, I was certain that would be the hardest thing we would ever face. When he was injured and medically retired from the Army, I was quite positive that would be our most difficult struggle. Of course, that was all before having children and learning that you never really know what will happen in life. Ever.
I don’t talk a ton about this particular stuff, because it sucks and it’s scary, but it’s always on my mind. We’ve heard (and been horrified by) the statistics surrounding divorce when you suffer the loss of a child. We know the rate is higher for couples with special needs children; then, higher still with medically fragile children and even higher with terminally ill children. We’ve been all those “types” of parents and now our daughter is no longer here. The highest rate is where we are now.
What people don’t talk about too much is, while we both brought Blake into the world, cared for, loved her and lost her together, we don’t grieve for her in the same ways.
We see a grief counselor together, hopefully, to tackle things before they become issues. I think that helps, sometimes. But I think the biggest thing that has helped us so far? Unconditional support.
While I’m sure we should’ve been doing this through all of our six years anyway, we weren’t. Since Blake’s diagnosis, each of us has needed the other’s support in some crazy ways (and some expected things), often. Outsiders might think we’re a little nuts (maybe a lot nuts) occasionally, but we try our best to stand by each other, even when we don’t understand. For instance, when I got my tattoo 2 days after we lost Blake. I remember knowing I had to get one THAT day, not wanting to wait or think about it. Jeff took me and asked me only once if I was sure. When we’re headed out the door to our friend’s child’s birthday party and I tell him I can’t go because it hurts, he says ok. When he tells me he needs time with his friends or asks me not to use certain words when I talk about Blake’s death, I say ok.
It always depends on the day but I think, overall, we’re doing the best we can. Bringing another child into the world, especially after losing one so recently, is terrifying. SMA took our daughter and it took so many other things from us. We’re trying our best to be determined not to let it take our marriage, too. Fortunately, Blakey made us a different kind of family. She made us different parents. She made us different people. I appreciate Jeff so…much…more, for the man that he is and all he does for our children and me. I never would’ve imagined life would take us to where we are today.
And while I don’t know what the future holds, I feel really and truly lucky to go through all things, good and bad, with him by my side. I hope for many more anniversaries with this dude.