by Lori Dwyer on June 28, 2011 · 20 comments

I have dreamed, off and on- more, recently, now I sleep un-medicated. I dream of standing in the shower in my friend Auntie Mickey’s house, where I spent those horrific days between ICU and funeral, my breasts running with milk, overflowing with the elixir of human life, white liquid escaping in uneven spurts and melting into watery rivulets that slide sown my skin and past my bellybutton. The tight feeling of engorgement in my chest, the heat of breastfeeding a newborn in my nipples.

I think it may be my body, weeping. For my small, young family that did not quite feel complete.


I am so jealous, it catches me in the middle and pulls at me. To witness a young family- mother, father, children complete- it aches me deep down, somewhere primal.

52 months I spent with Tony. 18 of them married. 17 of them pregnant. And 28 of them breastfeeding. Our relationship was all about creating life, and we reveled in that. My daughter weaned herself just two months before Tony died.

The traditions, the language, the nuances that make up the nucleus of a family… I watch the rhythm of them, the comfort of it, the shared history and mutual understanding; I hear the beat of it in other people’s lives and it makes me want to sob at the unfairness of it, the ridiculous anti-equilibrium it has created for my children and I.

The brightness, the perfection, the smugness of my perfect nuclear family…. it was beautiful but now it’s gone, and it will never be recreated. Things will be good again, if I have any say in it all… but the gossamer strings that held in place that perfect life are gone.

I will replace it. With the vision of a kick arse single mum, who does what she has to do for her kids. A family, with a bit missing, like a limb that will heal with a scar. But heal it will. There will be- is- something beautiful about our new family dynamic, a grittiness and a closeness, an appreciation and empathy and a deep, big love.

A nuclear family, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, not the only thing to aspire to.

But I loved it so much…. I was so happy with what I had.

This is not what I expected. But things haven’t been, not for months now… I’m beginning to stop expecting at all.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Annabellz June 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Amazing and beautiful!


marketingtomilk June 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Such a powerful image. YOu must feel brutally chastened by all of this. love to you



Jo June 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Then, Lori, your big love will be what defines your family, not the scar.

And it will make passing nuclear families stop and gasp and ache deep down with its beauty and completeness.


Sophie June 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Kickarse indeed! Hugs.x


Dorothy June 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I posted nearly the same sentiment yesterday, but your words say it so much more eloquently. The jealousy for that "perfect nuclear family" is unbearable sometimes.

At other times, I stand tall and proud, holding my boys' hands, knowing that we are just right, as we are.



Just Jennifer June 29, 2011 at 3:15 am



Karen June 29, 2011 at 1:51 am

I was fine until this paragraph:

"I think it may be my body, weeping. For my small, young family that did not quite feel complete."….. then I burst into tears.

Lori, I feel such empathy for you and your little ones.



Zoey @ Good Goog June 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

As someone who had a kick arse single mum I know you'll be completely awesome.


Melissa June 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Oh it's so unfair. No one should have to endure what you are enduring. You should have your perfect foursome.
You are amazing, though. Your tenacity, your strength, your ability to write so honestly and beautifully. It's so amazing.
Lots of love.


Salamander June 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

You made my breasts ache, Lori. That might sound weird – but you perfectly described that feeling of having your milk pour from you in torrents of grief. Your milk might have dried up now, but the love that pours from you to your children would absolutely cover them from head to toe. Lots of love xxxxx


A Daft Scots Lass June 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Lori, I have followed before during and after Tony and I just want to say (AGAIN) how brave and awesome you are.

Brave, for sharing your feelings (good or bad) with us on yer blog. Awesome, because you have taken us with you on your journey.

I have great respect for you and I'm glad to see you and your blog's progression.

You're brilliant, Lori!


Amy xxoo June 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I cant believe how such emotional agony can compel you to write such beautiful words Lori. Seriously – you amaze me…


River June 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

You're sleeping unmedicated? Well done. Let the dreams happen, it's your subconscious working out your feelings and problems.


Sheri Bomb June 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

It will always be hard…what you lost is an innate want in every human soul.

And your children, while already going through hard times now, will continue to miss Tony as they get older and grieve for the things they will never share with him, The Bump – her wedding day, The Chop – his first car.

But the admiration and respect that they will have for you, as but one person, to endure the loss, the grief, the pain and take it all on as your own while bringing them up to be worthwhile, decent and capable human beings.

They will NEVER be able to comprehend how you were able to perform such an amazing feat and they will NEVER let themselves take that for granted or feel able to show the depth of their gratitude.

But they will know, and they will love you all the more for it.


Hope’s Mama June 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The complete families get to me, too. Though, from the outside, mine looks like one. My loss is more invisible.
I could very much relate to this post though. And I also just read your post on your daughter weaning. Our first experiences with breastfeeding our boys could not have been more similar! He too probably "should" have been a formula fed baby, but I was stubborn if nothing else. I got to 15 months with him, and he weaned when I was preg again. I'm 31 weeks now, so I hope I have a lovely experience with my next child, just as you did with your daughter.


Mum on the Run June 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Your jealously is sooo understandable – and yet beyond my comprehension, really.
It must be gut wrenching at the tamest.
And, yes, your new reality has some amazing qualities – the closeness and intensity of the bond between you and your little people will be forever.


Anthony from CharismaticKid June 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

i seriously admire your strength in this situation. as it's something i could not deal with.


Christie June 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

It's so not fair, the life that got torn from you. I read here often, watching you, kicking arse. xx


Once A Mother June 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

wow lori. your words, my thoughts, though our situations are so different i totally understand the feeling of my body weeping, though for me it was after my daughter Peyton passing, when my milk was still so present. And the jealousy, at seeing the young families, the complete families. I know of that deep yearning and aching at seeing waht seemingly comes so easily all around. Beautiful, poignant, painful post. I also read the one about your daughter weaning. That was beautiful as well. It renewed in me an appreciation for the act of breastfeeding. I am doing it. I am in the thick of it. Your post helped me to step back and see the beauty.


Crystal Cheverie June 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I completely understand your jealousy. As you say, the nuclear family isn't the only thing to aspire to, not the be-all-and-end-all, but you were happy and of course you miss it; of course you want it back.

I've learned the hard way that expectation only brings disappointment. Also, it's when you don't expect them that good things happen. And you are one kick-ass single mom!!



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