In case everyone thinks that I have it together – let me just assure you, I most certainly do not. Just because I can function in the world, go to work, do things for others, talk to a committee about James’s death, laugh and smile sometimes – those things don’t mean I’m doing well. Just because I can take the girls to school and pick them up and make small talk doesn’t mean I’m not dying a thousand deaths every day.
I am most certainly NOT doing well. The last 3 days…well, they have been black hell.
I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have a counselor. I am trying to exercise self-care. I am taking the damned medications. I meditate, although I won’t lie, I haven’t been doing it much lately.
None of it changes the fact that my son is dead. My sweet, brown-haired, blue-eyed baby boy – he of chubby cheeks, rosebud lips, bright, inquisitive eyes – he is DEAD. Dead – as in gone forever. His Boppy pillow is unwarmed by his plump little body. His bouncy chair has no one to bounce. Instead, he is cradled by the cold dirt in our backyard, in a box. No one is there to snuggle him, to kiss his head, to hold his little clenched hand.
Do you know what it’s like to ask yourself if? What if? Did we make the right decisions? Would he be here if we’d decided something different? If? IF? IF?!
I’m so glad for those of you that have religion and the idea of heaven to help you cope with the pain of his loss. I genuinely mean that. It’s enviable in many ways. I do not share that belief. For me, James is gone forever, back from whence he came, out into the energy of the universe. For me, there is no hope of reunion.
My heart is shattered into one million tiny little pieces, and those pieces are sharp. They cut me, and they can cut others around me if I am not careful. Every day, I work on giving grace to others, to loving others, to supporting others. I try to focus on what I can do to help others.
I bite back the anger that comes at the unfairness of all of this. I bite back wanting to scream his name. I see other soft, sweet babies, and I want to snatch them from their mothers and inhale that intoxicating baby scent at the same time that I want to run screaming away from them. I bite back wanting to lash out when people don’t see my needs, don’t ask about my needs, or just say no to what I need.
He’s dead. Do you understand what it means to lose a child? I thought I did before he died, but I had no idea. He’s gone from my arms forever. Here I am almost 7 months after I birthed a baby, and he’s not with me. He’s nowhere. And I have to face that for endless days to come until I at last pass through that door myself.
I will love him until the day I die, and I will never stop saying his name. Every day I wake up and the weight settles itself over me again like a blanket. It fits into every curve of my body, it knows me as intimately as I know myself. It weighs a ton, and I will wear this blanket of grief for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I run my fingers along my c-section scar. It’s shaped like a half-smile. I marvel that a baby came out of that small scar. And then I crumble, because the scar is still here. James still marks me, but he is not here with me.
Why? I don’t understand. I would’ve carried him to the end. I did carry him to the end, but I had so much strength left. I felt like we had so much farther to go together. I would’ve carried him forever.