It's hard to miss: the glassy eyes, the occasional blank stare. Ever since my triplets were born, I began living my life on the verge of tears.
I'll admit it, I'm a sap. I cry at commercials, tear up at weddings and sob every time I watch the movie "Marley and Me." That's just me -- I wear my heart on my sleeve. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant three years ago, the tears became more frequent. After years of infertility, I was moved to tears of joy. The day we were shocked with news I was carrying triplets also brought tears of joy. But as the pregnancy complications piled up, those tears of happiness turned to fear. And on June 23, 2013, the tears turned to heartache as I delivered my children more than 17 weeks premature.
The loss of a child is unbearable. In the early days after our daughter, Abigail, and son, Parker, passed away, the sobs were uncontrollable. The lump in my throat consumed my body; I felt as if my world was closing in on me. Swollen eyes became part of my daily wardrobe as I tried to stay strong for our lone survivor in the NICU. But as the months passed, the tears subsided. I still cried every single day, but it wasn't always the body shaking, loud wails. I remember the day vividly when I realized I made it 24 hours without shedding a tear. It was a major moment for me, or as my therapist told me, a breakthrough. As the months passed, the grief changed. I could go a week without tears and then suddenly regress with several days of heartache.
That's the thing with losing a loved one -- the grief doesn't ever completely go away, it just changes. Over time, you learn how to live with the tears and you understand that something can trigger your heartache at any moment. It still happens to me more than two years later. Just this week, I found myself down in the dumps as I realized it was exactly three years ago when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with triplets. It's a moment etched in my memory, a special day I hope will stay with me forever.
As our surviving triplet, Peyton, gets older and understands more, I find the tears changing. Recently, as I was putting on her socks, Peyton looked at her feet and said, "Parker." My heart stopped as tears formed in the corner of my eyes. She then continued, "Parker feet," as she pointed to her own. Tears rolled down my cheeks when I realized what she was saying. Peyton was talking about the footprints we have framed in her room. Three perfect little sets, one of the only keepsakes I have of all three of my children together.
I've come to realize I'm not going to change. I live my life on the verge of tears, and I've learned to embrace it. Those misty eyes are symbolic of all I've been through. Some days, they are tears from heaven, a sign from my Parker and Abby. Other days, the cries are my battle wounds, a reminder that I am human and a mother of two angels. And most recently, those tears show my happiness, the joyful moments when my miracle daughter reaches an unimaginable milestone.
People may wonder what's wrong as they see my tears at work or even the grocery store, but that's who I am -- and I'm proud to wear my heart on my sleeve.
This post originally appeared on Perfectly Peyton