Yesterday I had to go back to work.Yesterday also just so happened to be the day Owen would have turned three months old. Before he was born, I was excited about this day. My maternity leave would end right before summer, so I would only have to leave Owen for just a couple of days. It was the perfect time to have a baby. I dreamed about this day before he was born. I wanted to be able to bring Owen to work to introduce him to my friends there. I wanted to pass him around for people to hold. I wanted to talk about how much fun it is to be a mom and have a baby.

It's kind of crazy how much I thought about and anticipated during my pregnancy... I think it's only natural. I tried not to have expectations about what motherhood would be like because that typically sets you up for disappointment, but I really was excited. I was excited to have a baby. My baby. I didn't have unrealistic expectations, but during the second half of my pregnancy when miscarriage is less common, I never considered the possibility of my baby being sick after birth and dying. I pictured Owen in every single part of my life which is part of why it's so sad now. He's not here. I wanted him before he was born, and I still want him so badly.

I had so much anxiety about yesterday before it happened. I have mentioned before that my home is a safe place for me. Every time I leave my house it becomes "unsafe." On these harder days, I really need to be in my safe place. But yesterday, I didn't have a choice. I had to go back to work. Thank goodness it was a teacher workday. Seeing my students would have been wonderful because I missed them, but it would have been way too hard to talk about my sad news with them. They were excited about Owen. I had a group of sixth grade boys who asked me every week how big the baby was... When I started to get really big around 32 weeks, one of them said, "Ms. Parker! When I was in the lunch room, I saw your baby!" I laughed and asked him what the baby looked like. They were so precious.

Kristin and I talked through the day before it happened several times. We would walk in together, and she wouldn't leave me until I was "okay." So that's what we did. Even pulling into the school parking lot for the first time was hard. The last time I was in that parking lot, Owen was alive. I was nine months pregnant, and he was safe inside my belly. I got out of the car, and walked into the school with Kristin. We passed by the cafeteria first, so I decided to go say hello to my favorite lunch ladies, Delores, Jane, and Evie. I saw these women everyday, and they were all so supportive during my pregnancy. When I saw them and hugged them, I lost it. I just started to cry and couldn't really stop. They were so sweet and encouraging. I wanted to stay longer and talk to them, but I needed to pull myself together. It was just the beginning of the day, and I needed to not be a complete mess.

The day got easier as it went on. It was great to see everyone again. My school has been so supportive during Owen's sickness and after he died. I feel so blessed to work there. Every time I turned a corner, someone new was there to give me a hug and chat with. Ms. Long, our school nurse is an amazing and spiritual woman. She pulled me aside, gave me a huge hug and started to basically preach a sermon right there in the hallway. I wish I could remember everything she said. She told me that God chose Brian and I to be Owen's parents for a reason and that we are going to be blessed. She told me that we have hope! But we also have sorrow. And God is right there, holding bottles to collect our tears. She laughed and said that God has some pretty big bottles for her tears. I just cried as as I listened to her beautiful wisdom.

The day wasn't only filled with tears and hugs. There was lots of laughter, just like old times. It was so great to catch up with everyone and hear about what I had missed in the last three months. There were moments when it felt like nothing had happened at all. Everything seemed normal, but it wasn't. I guess it's my new normal. My anxiety went away as the day continued... I was emotionally drained by the end, but I realized that my school is also a safe place with safe people. So many of these people feel like family. It makes it even harder to say goodbye, knowing that I have decided not to come back for the next school year. I need a fresh start. Our school is splitting next year, and with everything that I have gone through in the last few months, it seems like the right time to move on.

Owen would have been three months old yesterday. When I look at pictures of other babies who are three months old, I can't help but to imagine what Owen would look like now. I wonder what size clothes he would wear and if his hair would be thicker and what his cry would sound like and what his favorite activity would be. It's hard to believe that he has been gone for as long as he was alive. I hate that it's been six weeks since I held his hand or rubbed his head or kissed his soft face. And it's just going to get worse... Every passing day is a day longer that I haven't been able to do those things. But each passing day is a day closer until I get to see him again.

We are trying to figure out how not to move on, but to move forward. A big part of me wants time to speed up. I want to be at the next phase of life. I have no idea what that phase looks like, but I imagine it not being so painful. In the meantime, I am trying to allow God to fill the emptiness in my heart, and to soak up every single little thing he wants to teach me. Owen's life was not a waste, and I am determined to gain as much from it as I possibly can.


  1. I wish that I could give you a hug . . . no make that lots of hugs! I love you!

  2. I wish I could give you a hug, too! I think you are so brave to come back to school, that is such a tough thing to do. I had so much anxiety going back, too. For some reason I felt
    like I everyone would stare at me and I didn't want that attention. I understand wanting a fresh start and I know God is working overtime to strengthen your heart.

  3. I wish I could have been there and held your hand all day and been your armor against tough questions. Your writing is just so beautiful and I feel Owen's presence every single day. His little soul is just incredible.

  4. I am not really sure how I started following Owen's story on Caringbridge, but I want you to know how much reading your blog posts have touched me heart.