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Difficult Goodbyes

Today's post seems to be more of a virtual diary entry, which feels a bit vulnerable, but the topic is an essential one to my loss journey.

On Monday this week my therapist and I discussed ending therapy and lots of tears were shed. Leo was born on a Saturday, and I will never forget receiving the phone call from my therapist that following Monday morning. The NICU sets moms up with therapists via Women's Health, which is an incredible service. I met with her that week and don't really remember what we discussed, but I remember crying a lot. It was the only space I had felt comfortable crying in the few days since Leo had been born. It felt like she saved my life with that phone call.

Fast forward and we are coming up on two years since his birth and death. We've spent a lot of time talking about my goodbye with Leo, which still seems so surreal most days. We've walked through each moment of the night he died, countless times. We've discussed how being able to let your child go makes you a completely different kind of mother. Though I didn't have a choice, we discussed how I knew it was the right thing to do. We discussed the great honor that it is to be able to walk with someone to the edge of the river. Leo's last hour of life was spent snuggling with his parents. I dressed him. We kissed his little baby feet.

And now, almost two years later, I have gone through so much healing and learned how to implement so many skills to take care of myself. I've processed an unimaginable loss, I have learned to set boundaries, I have shared my most vulnerable thoughts and worries. Saying goodbye to this person and this safe space seems impossible. I recognize that a good dose of it is likely fear. What if I can't make it without her? What if something happens again? I know I can make it just fine, and I know I can always go back.

The bigger difficulty in saying goodbye to my therapist is that it feels like I am letting go of another thing that keeps me tethered to Leo and the only place he ever lived. Blake and I have done a great job of celebrating his life and making him a part of our family despite his lack of being here physically. And yet, saying goodbye to her feels like a letting go of him. For those who have lost children, you know the desperate feeling of wanting to remember every last detail about them. What did his face look like, exactly? Remember how he grabbed my finger with his tiny hand? What was it like the first time you saw him? First time you held him? You hold on to memories and items like you might not survive if you let them go. Which of course, you will survive and you won't forget, but the fear is always there.

I recognize how far I have come, and I know I need to be proud of myself. I am very proud of myself. It doesn't make saying goodbye any less difficult.

What's your most difficult goodbye been? How do you cope with letting go? What are your fears when saying goodbye? How do you sit with the sadness, pain, and discomfort?

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