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TashaH

7 Grueling Years

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Hi, I'll go ahead and welcome myself back here. I'm Tasha. I'm a 32 year old who has spent the last 3.5 years doing the dirty mental health self-care that no person wants to face. I am divorced now and co-parent a 12 year old son, Dante. I know that I am very privileged to be his mother. I wish I could lie and say I have strong memories of anything I've said or done relating to my life-changing experience with CDH, but I cannot. I am forever grateful for the Welcome Packet I was sent when I was pregnant. Back then, I donated what I honestly thought was a big package of tissues, hand sanitizer, cameras, handprint kits, etc. Hindsight is 20/20 and I guess my mathematical comprehension has improved, bc it wasn't nearly enough to supply the people who are facing CDH. However, I wasn't working, I was in a toxic relationship and I was young and naive. I tried my best.

I digress, I came here for Luna. To share my experience as a weathered loss-mom and, boy, did I age like cheese or what? Not fine-cheese, more like the bag of Kraft shredded mozzarella that you accidentally left slightly opened, it then got shoved to the back and forgotten and is now a science experiment and stinky.

The loss of my daughter is the single worst thing that I've ever experienced in my life. Not to brag (BIG JOKE BUD) I am an adult survivor of child abuse and neglect. I thought I'd felt pain, but nothing cuts quite so deep as losing her.

Today, my daughter should be 7 years old. She should have long black hair and a fire-cracker attitude to-boot. I'd love to see the small human she would have become. A few months ago, I went to visit her grave... That never gets easier for me, btw, every single visit brings back a flood of emotions and I then have to recover. Anyway, as I was walking back to my vehicle, something new happened, that tightness in my chest metaphorically ripped open and idk how exactly to explain it, I'll try. I felt like I had forgotten something behind me and when I turned around, reality hit and it was her. When I'm at the cemetery, I focus on her, it's like I'm wearing blinders. But that realization that I was leaving her there almost killed me, I'm so serious. I dropped to my knees, alone in the dead of night night screamed and cried until there were no tears and my voice had escaped me. I've been on this journey now for so long, but let me tell you, that moment was one of the hardest I've had.

Luna had a Bilateral CDH, most of her abdominals were in the thoracic. She lived only 6 hours.

Back to the present, I sat in my car for over an hour today, unapologetically bawling my eyes out. Screaming into the void, praying for an answer that has never been given. I did my motherly duty and cleaned the bird crap off of and out of the etching on her headstone. Idk why but there were odd spots of random yellow paint that I had to scrape off. Long worn adhesive from command strips and various glues. At my cemetery, all items must be fixed to the headstone or they will be disposed of. I started my task of wrapping floral wire around the CDH colored flowers I'd picked for this year's bday theme. Of course, it was Easter, so many people were coming in and out to visit their lost loved ones. An nice elderly woman walked up quietly behind me and I felt her presence but was comforted to not feel so alone. Like my burden was shared bc she was here and possibly understood grief. She quietly said, "that looks tedious, but beautiful. Like I'm sure she was. Happy Easter, I'll be praying for you. What a lovely name.". Just like that, I thanked her and exchanged an understanding glance and got back to work.

I'd been there at least 3 hours at this point. Leaving twice for coffee and to allow a white SUV to do what they needed to do. It had come and gone 6 or 7 times that day. I thought maybe my absence would provide them some privacy. Mind you, I have a large craft bag, a big fuzzy blanket, hand sanitizer, trash bag, coffee, tea, supplies and it is scattered around but neatly on her grave. So, after I'd cleaned up, gotten coffee, taken a potty break, I returned and setup and started at my work station again. The same car pulled up and I heard a commotion. I turned around just to make sure no one was coming toward me and saw a woman in her mid to late 40's stumbling out of the passenger side with the BIGGEST and most beautiful grave topper I'd seen before. It was full of many different blue flowers and a ribbon. I didn't want to stare, it was a brief glance, and I went back to what I was doing. I'm getting to my point, I promise. I heard her speaking to someone and it was frantic. Her voice got steadily louder but the other voice, an older man, stayed the same octave. I guessed they were making their way to the graveside of their lost loved one. I didn't flinch when I realized what was happening. Like fr, I am covered with goosebumps writing this. I heard the most primal cry of grief I've ever heard. There were maybe 5 other families scattered through the cemetery at the time. I cannot guarantee it but I bet not a one looked her way, we all know that feeling. It was raw, it was powerful, it was heartbreaking. I'd been calm, cool and collected for the last 30 mins or so and I tried to stay in the moment, but I broke down. My tears were silent but only because I forced it down so as not to disturb the woman. Idk if what I did later was right or wrong, but when the cemetery emptied, I went to look. *omg I'm crying again now* that had to have been his mother. He'd only been buried a week and he was 23 years old. I got 9 months of pregnancy and 6 hours of life with my daughter. This woman had lost her son in his prime.

I just finished up arranging the flowers when my exMIL pulled up. She went for a hug but I'm self-isolating so she just told me it was beautiful and Happy Easter. I was hot, sweaty & sunburnt. I walked to my car and sat down, they had accidentally blocked me in. I just waited.

Then I drove myself home, I passed my cousins house, there were 14 cars but I'm self-isolating so I just honked and they lined up and waved.

I got home, taught my 3 year old niece how to spell and read the word poop (it's a joke and I'm too tired to explain). We traced nighttime shadows with chalk, ate cake, sang Disney songs and played with our exercise ball. Then I went inside, made a Facebook post about Luna, started a fundraiser for CDHI on Instagram & then logged back in.

I know that's a long read but I just had to put it somewhere.
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