I’ve had a few people ask whether I’ve done any grieving for Jillian since Ian was born (aside from the grief that is always there, I assume). I’d read in a couple of books that it’s pretty common to feel grief for the deceased baby when another baby is born, so I knew it could happen, but I hadn’t noticed anything additional or out of the ordinary. Until last night.
We were watching a 60 Minutes story about kids living in poverty outside of Orlando, which got my crying started. Somehow we got to talking about Orlando and going to Disney World, and I mentioned that if we ever take Ian, I don’t know how I’m going to get there, and mentioned that I’d probably have to fly into Tampa (long story, but I used to travel for work, frequently to Orlando, and many of my memories of my pregnancy with Jillian happened in Orlando, so I’ve developed some irrational anxiety about the place – especially the airport).
I pictured Ian in Disney World, but in my mind, a little boy version of him was walking hand-in-hand with a little girl about his size. My heart broke. I had flashes of the times I drove between Tampa and Orlando while I was pregnant with Jilly, and how I promised her that someday we’d be on that road again, but we’d be getting off at the exits for Disney, because she was going to be alive and healthy (the first time I had this conversation with her, I was spotting and terrified that I was starting to miscarry).
Then I remembered walking to the rental car the last time I flew there, just days before Jillian was born, and telling her that this was the exact spot where I was standing when the nurse told me I was probably miscarrying, and we’d proved her wrong. That spot – the spot that I can see so clearly and could walk to in my sleep – is what I picture every time someone mentions Disney World or Orlando. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up.
So I sobbed. I sobbed for my little girl. I sobbed for my little boy who will never know her. I sobbed for Dave and me because we will always have these holes in our hearts, no matter how good things are. The difference is that this time, I could pick up my baby boy, snuggle with him, and tell him how much I love him and how lucky we are to have him. He makes it so much easier to bear.