Grief is a strange beast. It truly does ebb and flow. Most of today, I stumbled through numb, empty, acutely feeling the void in my life. Low tide of grief. This evening, I was moving stuff around on top of his dresser (still next to my bed), and I picked up one of the onesies that he often wore. I had to lie down, gripping it to my cheek, sobbing hysterically. I could still smell the spit-up. There’s still a drop of his potassium chloride on the chest.
This afternoon, I packed half of my breastmilk into a dry ice-filled cooler. It’s going to Kansas, to a sweet trisomy baby named Lillian. Lillian and James were born 2 days apart, so they are “buddies” in my mind. It was hard to put that milk in the cooler and close the lid. I had to hold an ice cold bag of it for just a minute. All those hours of pumping, James at my side, watching me with his bright eyes or snoozing. Every 4 hours, round the clock. All that work to feed my baby. And now I have no baby to feed. It made my heart ache to realize that James would never need this milk again.
When I went to buy the dry ice, I wandered the aisles of Ingles, looking for coolers. Accidentally, I wound up on the diaper aisle. My heart contracted. Diapers and wipes – something I won’t need to buy again anytime soon. Maybe ever.
Driving to the post office, I realized that I didn’t need to rush. There was no carefully coordinated hand-off of childcare while Jim worked. It’s just the girls now, and they’ve been pretty self-sufficient recently. I could take my time going to the post office. I could take my time doing anything. I didn’t have to rush home to take care of my little man.
There are reminders everywhere, everyday. Reminders that he isn’t here anymore -something my heart still struggles to accept.
I wake up every morning, and my mind immediately goes to the what ifs? Those questions are heavy. Yet there are moments when I find peace from them. When I remember our burning love for James. That love was a torch that lit our way. We made the best decisions that we could for James. I have to tell myself this every single day, or I don’t think that I could get out of bed anymore.