Everyone knows men and woman deal with things differently. It's nothing new. For me, I like to think of it not as a "man vs. woman" issue, but as a "every person is unique" issue. I don't like when people say things like "Bryan probably feels..." and then fill in the blank with some comment about how men don't grieve the same and that's ok. I know Bryan more than most - probably better than anyone else - and so I'm not looking for other people to tell me how he is going to react to Samuel's death. I'm looking to him to show me how he is going to react. Here is what I know so far: Bryan was such an amazing father to Samuel. He was put in a horrible situation. He had to be both a father and a mother to Samuel during those hours after he was born and I couldn't be with them. He had to do for me what I could not do. Talk to him, hold his hand, comfort him and caress his head. He never left his side. In Rochester, he would bathe him, dress him, snuggle with him, memorize him...all the things I wished I could do in that moment. He did it all with attentiveness, gentleness and so much love. As I watched him on Skype that night, I fell in love with him all over again. I'm not sure how many other brand-new dads would have been able to give so much of themselves in that moment, but I do know Bryan did it wonderfully. And I know he is missing his little boy.
Since Samuel died, our relationship has been strong but weird. I know Bryan was hurting so much just like me. But I also know he wants to be strong and keep going. In moments of stress, I would look at him and wonder: does he really feel the same way I do? Does he still love me and want to be with me? Has his opinion of our life changed? All these and more questions would run through my mind. I also wondered if he was getting the support he needed. (This is one of those times when the stereotypes are true: his guy-friends don't reach out to him in friendship the way my girl-friends do to me.)
Last night, for the first time in three weeks, we sat down and talked. Really, really talked. We've had conversations but last night we looked each other in the eyes and asked the hard questions we both have been wondering. Things like: What do we do now? How do we keep going? How are we feeling about everything? and so on. There were both tears and moments of laughter. We both realized we had been wondering some of the same things about each other. (Apparently, we both had dreamed that the other person left...how crazy!) It was a time of connection, acknowledgement, and a reminder of our commitment to each other. Oh, how I needed that! Sometimes even I forget that you just have to talk. Ask questions and wait for the answer.
We are both broken and bruised. In some ways the same and in others different. We both made a commitment to love and cherish one another no matter what came in life. I'm so completely thankful for his love and dedication to me. I know in my heart he will do whatever it takes to keep our marriage strong. Even in this time of horrible sadness, he will love me and protect me. Many days, it's only because I love him that I can keep moving forward. It's because I could never ever hurt him that I don't just run away and hide or lay down and die. We can get through the worst of this pain together. Last night confirmed it.
When Samuel died, we both died a little with him. Together, somehow and someway, we will carry on. I will love both of my boys for the rest of my life.<3