Going to take a wild guess and posit that every parent feels guilty at one time or another.
The guilt we're talking about is probably a little bit different. When a day goes by that we don't talk about Oberon, there is guilt. When we pull back from coverage of tragedies because our hearts can't take it, there is guilt. When we aren't doing everything we can to raise money and awareness for Obie's favorite charities, there is guilt.
Everett is growing and changing, and is currently a smile machine. His giggles melt our hearts and his developments make us proud. Some days, it probably looks like everything is perfect. Some days, we don't talk out loud about why it isn't.
Living far away from family exacerbates some of the guilt we feel. Not everyone got to meet Oberon, and many people haven't yet met Everett as he approaches six months old. This seems ridiculous, but it's reality when you live thousands of miles from some of the most important people in your life. Fortunately, we'll be traveling to Michigan later this month and introducing Everett to lots of people who already love him. Even so, there is guilt with this trip because it wasn't soon enough for Everett to meet Nanny, his great grandma. Nanny passed away two weeks before our trip, which feels like a cruel coincidence.
Everett - June 7, 2016
Nanny and Elizabeth pregnant with Obie, at his baby shower - October 2014
For Elizabeth, when the guilt comes up she pulls back. It's hard to engage with your living child when you feel guilty about their sibling. Thoughts like, "none of this matters", "how can I be happy when my son is dead?", and "I have no control over anything so why bother?" swirl around.
Try as we might, grief isn't always healthy. It isn't always able to be channeled into loving, productive ways. Sometimes, we just feel shitty. And guilt about guilt is a real thing, especially in a society that values a "stiff upper lip" and "making it work." Of course we have to make it work, one day, one moment at a time. But sometimes we just need to express what's really going on in our hearts, even if it isn't beautiful or positive.
Oberon - December 10, 2014