Death & Infertility
When I started writing this, on May 3, it would have been my grandpa’s birthday.
My grandpa passed away over Thanksgiving 2017. It was the hardest blow life had dealt me up until that point.
I was 31 years old and had never lost someone who was that close to me. And I know I am incredibly lucky to be able to say that.
Of course, that doesn’t make the loss any easier. When my dad, a physician, said he was not going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving but going to Florida to see Grandpa in the hospital instead, my brother and I both immediately booked plane tickets, too.
We were all there. We got to say goodbye and that we loved him. His wife (my gramma), both his sons, his daughters-in-law, and all 3 of his grandchildren surrounded him as he passed and it was both horrible and beautiful. When I go, I hope I get to leave this life surrounded by the people I love the most — both for myself and for them, to support and love and be there for each other.
That week was a maelstrom. It was a twisting wreckage of hospitals, hospice, cafeteria food, family, and tears. It was heartbreaking and full of love and loss.
The aftermath and recovery were difficult and I still think about him all the time — when I use his tools to fix something in my home, when I think about growing up, holidays, anything can trigger my feelings of mourning and grief. I will never stop missing him.
My grandpa was my hero. He was the biggest personality I knew, he could fix or build anything, he knew the answers to all of my childhood questions. I was his first granddaughter, his second grandchild, and the three of us loved the hell out of him. We held each other tightly after losing him.
I am extremely blessed and happy that he was at my wedding, that he danced and drank and partied, that he loved my husband and approved of him.
In the last couple of years of struggling with infertility, going through test after test, treatment after treatment, appointments, ultrasounds, bloodwork, hormones, IVF, and waiting, I have struggled emotionally.
It’s truly been a rollercoaster of hope, loss, sadness, erratic emotions, hormones, and pain.
But it wasn’t until May 3, 2019, my grandpa’s birthday, when I realized what I was truly feeling: Grief. Loss. Mourning.
I had never seen the correlation. I’d never realized the parallel emotions.
I have never been pregnant, I am not mourning a loss like a miscarriage as so many women do. I am not grieving the passing of a child, as many parents have had to.
Yet, I grieve.
With every failed IVF attempt, I mourn what could have been, should have been, what I wish would have been.
I grieve for myself and my husband and the family we don’t have.
It feels like a loss, each time.
Maybe this isn’t a revelation to others, but it feels like one to me.
I’d never thought of it as grief or mourning. I’d simply thought of it as a large generic sadness. A hope unfulfilled.
Somehow, finding a name for the feelings, finding a reason and source of them has helped a little.
For anyone going through something similar, know that I see you. I hear you. It’s not often discussed, but it should be. I understand and I am so sorry.
And I grieve, as you do.
All parts of this series:
Part 4 (this one):