REMEMBERING DELILAH LUZ OLIVO

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It’s 12/18/13 and regrettably, I opened an email from the http://www.BabyCenter.com. I am reminded that I should have a 4 month old baby. The pregnancy app I signed up for back in 2012 has no way of knowing that Delilah Luz went to be with the Lord on 3/10/13 but I do. Deep down in my heart, a part of me melts away, the hole that I try to cover from time to time is revealed and I see how deep it is. Sadness fills my belly, it gathers in the parts of me that carried her and delivered her at 21 weeks. At this very moment, I try my hardest to imagine her face at 4 months. I look down at arms that would have cradled her head just right as I nursed her, I glide my hand across her cheek and her hair-line but the picture doesn’t translate into real form. It’s not as clear or as simple as I want it to be because that was not planned for her life this December 2013. She was meant to be in eternity waiting for us. I delete the email and let myself be present in the moment. In the thick of the pain. While Davie and I have forged ahead in confidence and faith I allow myself to feel the raw emotion of it all. I have become familiar with these feelings over the last couple of months and I welcome them because denying them will not honor her. She existed and exists. I will remember her, love her and cherish the memory of her face at 21 weeks. It is the only picture of Delilah Luz I have…One that is tucked away in my memory and only comes to mind during moments like this. Unplanned reminders that come out of nowhere with no mercy and tells me where life, could have or should have been.

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It’s amazing how far we have come. Just a few weeks ago we were sitting in a hospital conference room for grief/loss support with couples crying and sharing the devastation of having children in heaven. We struggled with attending signing up for and attending the support group. For the 6 weeks, we attended I felt like we were immersed in a bubble, one that only we could feel and see. The bubble gave us the protection we needed to safely unwrap the event again and again and share it. We would neatly tuck it away before we left the hospital conference room, our safe space and went back out into the world where no one seemed to care or listen to our story. It seemed like old news to some who said: “Try again” “You’re young” or better yet the ones who said nothing at all.

We would go about our everyday routine at work and at family functions but as soon as we walked into the hospital we were reminded of our eternal daughter. The reminders were etched on the faces of the other grieving couples. Is that what we look like? I can only imagine what it seemed like to the outside world. Did it seem like a light went out inside of me? I was driving with a tail light out and no one was willing to tell me about it. A shell of my former self. Just let her be they must have said… she is going through the stages of grief.

The hours after the support group sessions were just as if not more intense than the session itself. My eyes would swell from the tears and I would be incredibly drained. If I had it my way I would have taken a 6-week hiatus from work and just slept the pain away. But we pressed on and together we made it through. We relived every moment, discussed every detail and cried with each parent who mirrored our emotions. For the first time in months, we felt absolutely sane and were surrounded by couples who could relate with our nightmares, our struggle to re-acclimate to our normal routine and imagine the teeny bit of hope gleaming out at the end of that tunnel everyone speaks of. What is to come down that road? Nobody knows…

What I have learned from our eternal daughter Delilah Luz is…

Life will carry on and so will the world. I struggled to understand why certain people did not take part in the grief process with us. Why some of my close family and friends did not mention Delilah’s name after March 2013. Why there was no such thing as a still-born grief fiesta instead of the Sugar & Spice Baby Shower I started to plan the weekend before her birth. Why I continued to receive invites to Baby Showers. I felt as though she was just a dream I created in my head. A little human that no one else knew existed inside of me. It was as if she disappeared as swiftly as the pictures I deleted days following my return from the hospital bed. I tried to remove any trace of her to protect myself. As the holiday approached we gathered at family functions where everyone wore their Sunday best and pearly white smiles. Meanwhile, all I wanted to do was stand in the dining room and shout at the top of my lungs:

I am grieving
My soul has died
My heart is completely torn
She lived and her heartbeat
I saw her face
SHE WAS REAL!

So why can’t any of you acknowledge her existence or her 21 weeks of life? I digress. I am very glad that I did not do or say any of that outside of my home or head.

I was furious that the only person that came close to feeling my pain was my husband. In a sick way, I wanted everyone to walk around with my pain, I wanted to visualize it. I secretly hoped my friends and family would be like Job’s friends in the bible and just sit with me in silence. I wanted the burden of Delilah to be shared as long as I felt it.

On a more positive note, I have learned that good will always shine through experiences of pain and loss.

To this day, my love for my husband continues to grow tremendously. Every time I look into his eyes I soak in the moment. He has been my rock. I know this event has affected us in different ways but no matter what I share with him or how much I cry he is strong for me. He lifted me up and he demonstrated that he would do anything for us. I do believe that through this trial we have grown closer, we have become more dependent on each other and God. We have learned that in only one year of marriage we can conquer any battle. We are unbreakable and we are in this for life.

Delilah Luz has ultimately taught me how to love people no matter what happens in life and to love her father more than he has ever been loved. Together we will apply Delilah Luz’ brief and substantially important life on Earth to spread that love as far as we can across the world. We will soak that love into everything we do and into each other, forever.

And when we get to heaven and finally meet our Eternal baby girl I hope to hear her say: “I am so proud of you Mom and Dad.”