This Is Life After SIDS

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 
No Other Love Photography

Trigger warning: child loss

What is life after SIDS?

It’s a silent drive from the hospital on a rainy, Sunday morning.

Hospital socks on your feet and a pink bear in your lap, propped up by a purple box containing hand and footprints.

But no baby.

Life after SIDS is strangers with badges and a lot of yellow tape.

Puking in the backyard, trying to stomach the idea of walking into a house that used to be a home.

Intubation trays and defibrillator pads spread throughout the dining room floor.

What is life after SIDS?

Let’s just say, it’s feeling your heart crumble into the tiniest of pieces over and over every day.

And a deep yearning for someone who is no longer here.

Painfully empty arms at bedtime.

Life after SIDS is clinging to your living children, hoping to somehow feel your dead one.

Funeral arrangements at a circle desk.

And an all too small and final white gown.

It’s a thousand pictures to be printed.

What is life after SIDS?

It’s two simple, black dresses for two horrible days.

An endless line of loved ones and tear- stained shoulders.

It’s fearing someone other than you might touch your precious daughter at her funeral. And it’s relief when they don’t.

Life after SIDS is holding her one minute and having no godly idea how to give her up the next.

Staring at her with such intensity, trying to force yourself to take in her every perfect little features.

The thick tears you gently brush from her cheeks are, sadly, your own. Oh, how you wish it could be her tears you are wiping!

It’s gently swaddling her for the last time in a pink blanket.

Taking one final look at her innocent and unforgettable self, before all you have left is pictures and memories.

A horrendously, tiny coffin.

What is life after SIDS?

It’s pink balloons floating toward a heart-shaped cloud.

A brief drive in a hearse while they put your daughter in the ground.

And an unbelievably strong urge to stay the night at the cemetery, just to feel her near.

Life after SIDS is a house filled with beautiful flowers from a loving community. And an overwhelming sadness when they die too.

It’s physically painful cries before your feet have hit the floor in the morning.

Just to clarify, it’s an excruciatingly huge knot in your throat and an empty pit in your gut.

Life after SIDS is the world moving on while you’re glued to one moment in time.

Let’s not forget the disbelief of it all, “Was she really here and now gone?”

What is life after SIDS?

When you smile for the very first time and immediately are hit with such heavy guilt. How could you smile when your child is dead?

It’s sleeping with her pajamas and blankie for months after she has passed.

It’s dreaming about her for the first time and never wanting to wake up.

When you’ve looked EVERYWHERE for your favorite dress, only to somberly remember you buried it with her.

Life after SIDS is discovering a new “normal.”

Falling pregnant shortly after loss, and feeling hesitant to get too attached.

It’s God being so good, he blesses you with twin girls and happy tears when they are alive and well in your arms.

Bringing them home, and praying they are please here to stay.

Honestly, it’s a little bit of sorrow even in the greatest moments of joy.

What is life after SIDS?

It’s bittersweet when a glimpse of her is seen through your other children.

You find happiness in the simple things and try not to take another second for granted.

After some time, you won’t have to lie when someone asks how you are.

There are always good days and bad ones.

But it’s raw strength when you find joy in living life again. After all, she wouldn’t want a sad mommy.

Truth be told, it’s gratitude for the four short months you had.

Because no one could love her in life or death the way you do.

This is life after SIDS.

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