My free moments often take me down long and heart wrenching rabbit holes looking for stories about baby loss. Sometimes I click and read and click and read, digging deeper and deeper until I suddenly find that the depth of my despair has plummeted to the depth of the rabbit hole I’m lost in. Like when I read about parents who seem to give up hope or when I read about the mother who lost four babies. But every so often, I dig down and click and read and then, promptly, I find myself emerging out of the ground in a better place, with more hope and less despondency. I had one of those moments today when I stumbled upon a beautiful blog called Still Life With Circles. In her latest post, she asks her baby loss readers to write about where they are now in grief. So that is what I will do.
It’s been sixty-seven days since our Margot June died. We were so, so close to meeting her. She was right there, breathing and kicking, just about to enter into our lives. And we lost her. And I miss her so much I can barely let myself think of her, my actual physical second child who weighed nearly eight pounds and closely resembled her older sister. And this is perhaps the dominating face of my grief on day sixty-seven. I miss my daughter. I want her to be here. I want to lay her across my bare chest and breath together. I want to see Stella interact with her. I want to share her with our friends. I want to crawl into bed happily exhausted from caring for two children, instead of crawling into bed hoping the nightmares will pass by me. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her.
There are other emotions of course, less forceful, but lurking none the less as I approach seventy days.
My mind and heart continue to be on different teams, each vying for my allegiance, each making the necessary arguments. My rational reminds me that death is part of life and that it wasn’t long ago that losing babies was somewhat normal. It implores me to hold these truths close and tells my heart to relax a bit. My heart gushes forth the obvious. Margot died. Her body was cremated a few days later and a few weeks after that, we poured her ashes out in the river. And we will always long for her, no matter how normal and frequent death is. My mind usually sweeps in when my heart can’t take it anymore.
I wondered in the hospital how long it would take for us to laugh again. I wondered how long life would run in slow motion. I wondered when I’d be able to walk at a normal pace again, or smile to a passing stranger. I wondered when we would care about anything else, like who won survivor or what to build next or where to go on vacation, if there could ever be such a wonderful thing as a vacation again.
But in the midst of Everything That Happened, we have laughed since Margot died. We laugh when Stella uses her funny voice, a low, deep sound, like she is old and southern. Helllllllo Daaaadddy. And Kari and I still laugh about random things, just like we used to. We dance every day together as a family, just like we used to. Of course, we swing our hips to the Margot June mix instead of Bob Marley, but we’re still dancing. I walk to work at a normal pace and sometimes, when I’m ripping a 2X10 or sanding a beautiful piece of reclaimed hickory, I feel a tinge of normalcy. And we leave for Palm Springs in the morning for two nights in the desert. I can’t call it a vacation, but it’s something I guess. I couldn’t have imagined that in the midst of the constant pangs of loss and a sorrow deeper than I could have ever imagined, all of this would somehow still exists.
If you took the pieces of my emotions from the last twenty-four hours and scattered them around the screen and dissected each one, you would learn rather quickly that where I am on day sixty-seven is an utter mess. And by mess, I mean depressed and hopeful and sad and happy and angry and controlled and desolate and content all at once. And I’m learning to be okay with this new reality, however long it exists.
[as a side note to everyone who has been following our journey. thank-you for reading this blog for the past sixty-seven days. i can't even begin to express my gratitude for your repeated hits and comments. each one seems to be a shot of hope and your empathy and shared grief is often just what we need. so please keep following and say hello from time to time.]
[special thanks to Angie at Still Life for this beautiful project.]