It wasn't until recently that I came to a conclusion that really made sense to me. Tomorrow would have been Jude's due date (likely inaccurate, but it was his first and only due date so I go with it). To say I've been an emotional mess would be an understatement. I imagine a lot of spam mail from various parenting/baby websites to send me e-mails congratulating me on my due date. I'm as prepared as I can be, but nothing will stop me from crying. I've accepted it.
Everyone has lost someone, and I realize this. As we've gotten older we've lost grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, etc. In the last two years alone my husband lost both of his grandparents on his dad's side, and a few years before that lost his grandfather and a cousin on his mom's side of the family. He's even lost one of his best friends, which happened to be my older brother.
Even though Chris' death hurt me, and it still does, I kept trying to figure out why it didn't hurt me as bad as losing an unborn child. I mean, Chris and I spent most all of our lives together living under the same roof. We grew up in my parents house, and then when I did "move out" it was into a house with Chris. If we weren't fighting, we were best friends -- he trusted me with a lot of secrets, some of which I still hold onto today.
So I felt guilty, really guilty, that it didn't take me as long to be able to talk about him without breaking down into tears. I can say Jude's name and be okay, but I have so many triggers that will set me off that I have often times nearly gone into a panic attack over them. The last time I broke down over Chris was when I found out I was pregnant, and I realized he would never get to be there for it like he was for Lily. Granted, my meltdown, as Trey will attest, ended shortly thereafter with the declaration that I needed to puke. I realized that meltdowns while pregnant were not a good thing that night, and tried to stay positive after that.
Then a few days ago it hit me. I shouldn't feel guilty about this. I shouldn't feel guilty because I had my time with Chris; we had our memories, we shared things together. We were as thick as thieves one minute, and hated each others guts the next. I went through a lot with Chris, and we were there for each other. We made memories that I'll hold onto for a lifetime. The reason Jude affects me is because while, yes, he was my baby and I carried him, I also didn't have any memories of him. There was nothing I could hold onto, unless you count the times I cursed and cried while I puked in the bathroom. Those are definitely not memories I want to really remember fondly, though I do in some ways now (especially the time I nearly killed Trey for daring to be on the toilet when I had to puke, or the time Lily asked me if I was okay).
I have no physical memories of Jude except one: holding him, wrapped up in a blanket, and cry over my baby boy.
So should I feel guilty for feeling this way? No. I realize that now. I had my time with my brother, and I know he spent his last days before falling ill in a place he truly loved. I know he's happier now. I also realized that even though at the time I had that meltdown over Chris not getting to know Jude like I'd hoped for, he's getting to know him now. I guess you're supposed to rest easy in that thought...
But you don't know my brother.