I have a few good friends who have told me over and over again in in the past six months how brave I am. They have told me that living–just living every day since losing Alexander–is brave. They have told me that getting out of bed each morning and facing the world while carrying unimaginable grief is brave. They have told me that sharing my story and my grief publicly by blogging is brave.

Brave.

It’s a word that I have been told over and over again during the course of the past six months.

Brave was walking into the ultrasound room already knowing deep down in my gut that something wasn’t right.

Brave was falling to pieces upon hearing those words from the ultrasound tech: “I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat.”

Brave was going home and facing a living room full of baby gear and a perfectly prepared nursery while waiting on word from the doctor that it was time to head to the hospital.

Brave was going to the hospital to deliver a baby boy that we knew would never come home with us.

Brave was spending four days in the hospital waiting for induction drugs to take effect and having our entire lives be put on hold and torn to pieces over and over and over again.

Brave was holding our precious baby boy and trying to memorize everything about the way he looked and the way he felt in our arms.

Brave was leaving the hospital empty-handed after delivering our firstborn son still and silent into the world.

Brave was facing all of the physical recovery from giving birth while also living with the grief of losing a child.

Brave was leaving my house to go for walks or to eat or to go shopping in places where I would see happy families with their infant children and be reminded over and over again of what I didn’t have.

Brave was going back to work for the first time after losing Alexander.

I could go on and on about things I’ve been told over and over during the past six months about being brave, but here’s the deal: today, on this third day of January 2017, I feel anything but brave. Today as I’m trying to get myself together to go back to work after very heavy celebrations (if you can call what we did celebration this year) of the holidays, as I try to wrap my head around the changes I’ve experienced in my life over the last almost six months, and as I recall the not one, but two, complete emotional breakdowns I have had on the first two days of January, I just don’t feel brave.

I feel like I want to just curl up into a ball and go back to bed. There are still days when I feel like my life is just one long and terrible nightmare, and maybe, just maybe, if I sleep long enough I will wake up and it will be July 4, 2016, and I’ll have an active, healthy baby growing inside me. Today is one of those days.

Today, I am trying so hard to hear the voices of my friends in my head saying to me over and over again: “You are so brave. You can do this. You will be okay.” And I’m trying so hard to not only hear those words, but to really really believe them.

I received these socks as a gift from one of those friends, along with a copy of the book You Are Not Alone: Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom to serve as important reminders on days like today.

bravesocksbook

So, this morning, before I head out the door for work (and waiting for my car battery to charge, because why not start the year with a dead car battery), I’m spending a few quiet moments with my coffee soaking in these words. And I will be wearing these socks today as a gentle reminder that even if I don’t feel brave at all, I can continue to live with this. There are people who are walking with me. Side by side. Hand in hand. And even if I can’t have them by my side every moment of every difficult day, I can cling so tightly to their words. I can wear their words on my feet as a reminder of their love and friendship.

I can be brave.

I can be brave.

I can be brave.

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