I wasn’t ready to be done with the days of co-sleeping, long, restless nights of a crying babe, the bond of breastfeeding, a sleepy sweet child nestled in the Rock-and-Play, his sisters playing around him, talking to him, holding his hand, brushing his head carelessly as they passed by, planting wet, sticky kisses on his forehead. I wasn’t ready.
And yet, in 3 months, I turn 38. Jim is 41. Time is passing us by, like it does everyone. This season in my life – my season of childbearing – perhaps it is at an end. Was James my last?
Today, the grief has been physical. I find my hands shaking. Chills wrack my body. I shake. Tears have gathered behind my eyes all day at the slightest provocation. Yet, they will not release. I want to go outside and run in circles, screaming at the incoherent stars, screaming until my body is empty, and I can at last lie down, press my cheek to the cold earth, and rest. Let the rain fall on me, let the hypothermia creep over me like an icy blanket, starting with each extremity until I am numb, mindless, still.
I just don’t know how we go on. I don’t know how life ever feels good again. I don’t have answers for any of this pain. There are no answers to this pain. I carry it with me every second. There is no moment when I am free.
I had a panic attack last night. It was at my in-laws’ house. We had gone for my nephew’s birthday, and I was preparing a meal for the girls before leaving. As I stood there, performing such an innocuous task, my hands started to shake. My heart started to race. I felt clammy, scared, hollowed out.
My son is dead.
MY SON IS DEAD.
MY BABY ACTUALLY DIED.
That thing that only happens to other people? Yes. It happened to me.
Not only did he die, but we had to make the decision of whether to keep intervening on his behalf or to let him go. We had to decide if the unknown future was a fate worse than death. We had to make that decision without any way of knowing – then or now – whether we were right.
As I recently heard – even if I was made of Saran wrap and glass – you couldn’t see this part of me. You can’t see the heart of grief until you become the heart of grief. Losing your child turns you into one slowly hemorrhaging heart. I am bleeding. There is so much blood.