Rule #1 of Grief: Everyone experiences loss in their own way.
Death doesn't discriminate. We are all hit by the finality of death sooner or later. Since we approach life with different baggage and personalities, so it is with death.
But the loss of a child is a different kind of loss. Or so they say... I don't have any other point of reference. How does it compare to the loss of a spouse or to facing one's own imminent death?
Rule #2 of Grief: Don't compare (see Rule #1).
Is miscarriage less sad than full-term pregnancy loss? Is it harder to lose a child you had a few years to get to know? Or is it harder to have only 9 months and 1 day of memories to look back on?
All the books I've read seem to say it depends on the person.
And yet, we all compare ourselves to others. Everyday.
Am I normal? Am I better? Am I worse?
Did I love my child enough?
That is the question I ask myself, the guilt I feel...
When I hear about mothers who spiraled into clinical depression after the death of their baby. They can't sleep. They can't get out of bed.
I sleep like a baby. I get out of bed every single day.
Or when I read quotes like this one, from Still Standing Magazine's Facebook page,
"It takes invincible strength to get out of bed every day and parent our children we can no longer hold, see, touch or hear. Every bereaved parent is a hero."
It doesn't take me invincible strength to get out of bed. I just do it.
I still love life. There is so much I want to do!
Did I love Anya enough?
Of course, I know these feelings are irrational. I am thankful for my (and Alex's) incessant optimism, contentment and happiness, persistent through all this grief and pain.
But I still have that mild nagging guilty feeling in the back of my mind. I still compare my experiences to others.