I’ve been neglecting this blog, obviously. I feel bad about it, because it’s for Jillian, but I just haven’t had much to say. We’re doing well. Ian is growing and I swear he’s bigger every day. The amount of happiness he brings to us is immeasurable. He is such a goof, so adorable, and we love everything about him.
The holidays were fun, but nothing too exciting. Ian didn’t really know what was going on, and I felt moments of sadness. We hung Jillian’s stocking for Christmas, and sometimes seeing it made me happy because we were including and remembering her, but there were other moments that I wanted to take it down and hide it forever because I knew it would be empty on Christmas morning.
We had Ian’s birthday party in mid-January. I’m pretty sure he thought it was the best day of his life so far. He was surrounded by people who love him and they were all paying attention to him. It’s what he lives for. It was a great day to think about the amazing year we’ve had, but at the same time, there was no escaping the thoughts that it was something we never got to do with Jillian. I kept thinking that she should have been there, playing on the floor with her little brother and his new toys. My heart was filled with joy, but aching at the same time.
A couple of weeks ago, Ian and I were leaving our playgroup, and as we were coming out of our room, new moms and babies were coming down the hallway to go to their group for the first time. I was enamored with all the little babies, trying to remember Ian being that little – and probably much smaller. I was looking at a baby girl with her legs tucked under her body on her mom’s chest. I thought to myself that I’ve come so far. I could see a baby girl without my heart shattering into a million pieces again. Then, naively, I looked at the mother’s name tag to see what the baby girl’s name was. You guessed it. Jillian. I felt like someone kicked me in the gut.
A few moments later, another mom, one I don’t know well and who doesn’t know about my Jillian, asked me if I was okay. Thankful that I didn’t have lunch plans for that day, I hurried home, calling Dave in tears on the way. I felt like I was falling back into the abyss. The one where it feels like I will never be okay, and that I will be lost in profound grief during every moment for the rest of my life. When I’m not feeling like that, I realize that it’s not the case, but when I’m in the middle of it, it seems like there’s no escape. I tried to keep my composure on the walk home, but I realized I was failing when an old woman in the park we cut through stopped me to ask if I was okay.
Eventually, after some crying and feeling sorry for myself, I was fine, but I’m still haunted by the encounter. I want to go back to find that mother, and tell her about my Jillian. I want to know why she chose the name. I want to know their story. Fortunately for them (and probably me), I haven’t seen them since that day. As much as I’d love to tell my beautiful girl’s story, I’m pretty sure it would be best not to tell a brand new mother about my baby dying.
So life is going on. There isn’t a day that passes that we don’t talk about Jillian and how lucky we are to have Ian. Life is going as well as it possibly can, which is very, very well. I still miss my monkey so much that it’s sometimes unbearable, but we’re living the best life we can for her.