Grief is a strange beast. There is a hand around my heart. Sometimes that hand is relaxed, the fingers loosely clasped; I can take a shallow breath in. Out. And sometimes that hand clenches down so hard that there is no oxygen in my blood. My body contracts. I want to scream, cry, collapse to the ground.
It has been a week tomorrow. A week since I saw the bright, sweet eyes of my baby. A week since I heard his voice. A WEEK. How has a week passed without him here?
Is he really gone? Was it all a dream?
Life seems to have gone back to normal. As if James’s existence was a rip in fabric, and now that rip has been sewn neatly up, and it’s as if it never happened.
Since June 23, my focus has been on James’s health. I cared for him every day – before he was born and after. I read articles, I talked to doctors, I talked to other trisomy parents. My days revolved around his needs. I held him, I loved him.
And now he is gone. There is a tremendous void where he once was. The house is “normal.” My girls run and play. We have breakfast, lunch, dinner. We play games, we watch movies. And yet there is a space where nothing is – a space James no longer inhabits. Everything seems like a facsimile of what it once was. This reality is a thin veneer over the truth – the truth of our loss.
Nighttime is actually the worst for me. Starting around dinnertime, my heart starts to clench, and a physical ache forms in my chest. We always eat dinner together at 6pm. We would move James to his bouncy seat in the kitchen doorway so that he was participating in the meal. Once dinner was over, we’d read books together like every night – James in my lap, flanked by a sister. Then bedtime. After the girls were tucked in, James and I would have our special time – every single night. It was our routine, and it was wonderful. I could focus my attention solely on him.
Now he is gone, and I am aimless. His bed still resides in the living room. His medical supplies are still in the bedroom. I haven’t had the strength to consider moving these things. Putting them away. Doing this would acknowledge that he is gone forever. And my heart isn’t ready.
It all seems like a dream. It cannot be true.
Mommy misses you, sweet prince.