Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Aching Hip

Many hours of most days I am able to seem normal.  Act normal.  Even feel normal.  There are the stolen moments during those days, when seeming, acting and feeling normal is simply not possible; moments which are generally contained to my alone time.

And then there are days like today.  Days when I am physically ill with the weight of my grief.  When I don't even realize I have been crying until I feel the tears drying on my face.  When I walk about in a daze, unable to understand the beautiful day around me when it feels like my entire world is gone.

Days like Quinn's first anniversary in heaven.

August 9th, 2013 was not the worst day of my life.  For 17 hours and 7 minutes of the 24 that comprised that day, Quinn was here.  In my arms.  Wrapped to me.  Even grabbing my arm with the teeny bit of energy that she had left.  For 71% of that day, I heard her breath and felt her heartbeat.  I snuggled her body and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I bathed her and clothed her and medicated her so things were tolerable - for her and for me.

It was the remaining 6 hours and 53 minutes of August 9th, 2013, and every succeeding day that now comprise 'the worst day(s) of my life'.  

August 10th, when I broke down in a random jewelry store after learning they may not be able to fix my mommy necklace immediately. (They did.)  

August 11th, when Brett and I left the boys with my mom and my sister so we could go to the funeral home and make the absolute final arrangements for Quinn's life.

August 12th, when we hosted our daughter's final fete - an unbelievably well-attended wake.

August 13th, when we saw her face for the last time, and laid her to rest.

November 11th, when I had to turn 35 going backwards to two children, from three on my 34th birthday.

December 25th, when Santa Claus only left four piles under our tree instead of five.

May 16th, when we 'celebrated' Quinn's birthday - at her cemetery plot instead of at a bounce house.

July 23rd, when 17 of us went on a family vacation built for 18 of us two years prior.

Every Wednesday, when I could run the boys to swim lessons without worrying about Quinn's feeding or napping schedule; 

Every Saturday when soccer practice and art class was not further complicated by dragging an almost 2 year old out in the snow, sleet and rain; 

Every.Damn.Day that she is no longer here.

When Quinn died, I waited to hear from the other parents who had gone before us to this unholy land - waited for the sage advice, the tips and tricks on how to manage what was left of our life.  And I received what was simultaneously the most sound and most heartbreaking piece of advice:

There is no secret.  It doesn't get better, it just gets different.

One year later, I can confirm the truthfulness.  It does not get better.  And actually sometimes, like today, it does not even get different.  

Life simply goes on, and it takes you with it.  

That is not to say that there are not happy moments.  I am not in deep dark despair 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

It is to say, though, that there are no more purely happy moments.  Everything is tinged with sadness.  With the bittersweet notion of "Oh, this is fun!... But we shouldn't be able to do this right now.  I would never do [x,y,z] with a two year old."

I long for her - mentally, emotionally and yes, even physically.  I have found myself, on more than one occasion, standing and swaying for a moment, lost in thought - until I remember that she is no longer on my hip, I no longer have a baby to soothe with the motion.  

The boys have been sweet and allowed me to pick them up and hold them far more often than a 5 and 6 year old really want to be held by mom.  And I take any opportunity I can to pick up someone else's baby or toddler and swoop them right into the same position I held Quinn - legs wrapped around my right hip, facing out to the world.  

I'm still not sure what I believe about what's after this world.  But if I can put in my order for one single thing whenever I do get there, it's to have her back in her rightful place - on my hip, and in my arms.


  1. Tears. Only tears for you today and many days Eileen. Quinn should be on your hip, swaying, that is just where she belongs. I am sorry. We love you. Quinn is lucky to call you her mommy. Arms around you tight. Xoxo

  2. You and your family are forever in my prayers.

  3. You will always be in my prayers. Though we are crying, our 2 special Angels can now dance and sing. I'm so sorry for your pain.

  4. Every Sunday we say a prayer for Quinn at my church and for you as well Eileen. She is remembered and loved by many

  5. Eileen, you have a gift of capturing your feelings into words that we all can see through tears. Thank God your boys and husband are there for you. Although it must be unbearable for you to express your feelings, it hopefully gives some sense of peace knowing that Quinn is looking down on her beautiful family and knows how important their love is to her and one another.

  6. When the emotional grief carries into physical grief...I know that so well. I've been missing my baby boy more intensely lately and I find my left arm actually aches. Missing the weight that should have been there, for all the times I didn't get to spend with him there.

    Three years out for me and it's not easier, just different. But some days it still just plain sucks.

  7. I've been thinking about Quinn and your family all day, then I read your blog heart sank once again as I fully understand your pain. Not sure who offered the words "it doesn't get better, it just gets different." - so true. It really doesn't get better or easier. The hurt remains just the same and as you point out, there are days where it just hurts so much more! We were out to dinner tonight and the host announced over the speaker a name that I did not catch, but the "party of 5," rang so clearly in my ears. I wish that your baby girl was still here to sway on your hip, but I do believe that you will one day be right back in that loving, swaying embrace with your angel. Much love!! ~ Brooks Family

  8. Different is the most inaccurate yet most accurate word. I have difficult days and ok days and happy days. Quinn is all around you, in the little things. Sending love and hugs to all of you, especially over the next few days.

  9. I am now 4 months into the 4th year with out my Alexander (he died April 1, 2011) Life is very different. Never better. I was told the second year was worse than the first. For me I would say it was true. The first year you are just so numb. the second year, it all comes crashing down. The third year was "better" - although we did add 2 new children to our family so maybe that helped....(but some days it makes it worse!)
    keep taking it all one day - one hour at a time. I have found that the "bad days" while they hit me like a ton of bricks, are fewer now -and they aren't as close together any more. There are more good days, than not.
    Nancy Whipple - mom to Angel Alexander the Great

  10. i feel so sorry....

    i'm a muslim and according to our religion; the babies who dies before their mothers will be waiting for them in heaven and they will play and laugh in heaven..the book says that they are happy birds in heaven..

    i hope you'll have a great life with your boys and husband..

  11. I recently saw a quote from James Patterson - "The wierd, wierd thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you are faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking." I wish with all of my heart, Eileen, that you did not have to feel that disbelief that the world is still turning. The party of five is always in my thoughts. Arms around you. xoxo

  12. Oh Eileen, that video-your sweet, precious baby. I wish she was still here with all my heart. It's so unreal, to be the one that has lost a child, I wish it had not happened to your beautiful family. I think of you all the time, Quinn is always a thought behind Trek. We went to the beach and talked to her on Saturday. I just stared at the ocean and cried for both of us. We love you so much and we miss Quinn's beautiful face. xoxox, Chelsea

  13. I live upstate and Saturday was the most beautiful, sun-shining, wind in your face kind of day here. I had some errands to run and the swimming pool store was having a special promo sale outside and was BLASTING Train's Soul Sister. I thought it an odd choice given the group of young, buff salesmen standing outside the store but also immediately thought of Quinn and your family because you posted once that Soul Sister was "your song". I have chills now reading your post that it was a year ago that day. I was a member of LIF and followed Quinn's story. You and Quinn really had a huge impact on the way I live my life, and I thank you so much for sharing your special time with her with all of us! Many thoughts and prayers for you and your family. I am so deeply sorry.

  14. I am crying here with you. My thoughts and prayers go out to you as always- Jillian

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Hope you and your family are doing well! Miss your posts!

  17. The hip is the largest joint in the body, a ball a socket joint that allows for the femur to connect to the pelvis. It is not surprising that hip pain is a common ailment. Below are seven tips for keeping hip pain at bay at home or work.Website

  18. I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight. hip pain