September 24, 2011

Falling In Love



There was this moment, in the balcony of an old church, during the first days of my freshman year of University, that I still remember so vividly. It’s when I first saw her. I mean, I had seen her before, but this time I really saw her. And I heard her talk. Her voice sounded exactly like tender ferocity, and her words were articulated magically, and her tone and expressions filled the dark balcony. I’m not exactly sure if I fell in love with her in this moment, but I sure fell in something.

I’d like to think that somewhere, deep inside my brain, something was signaling me, pointing me towards her. Shouting at me: THIS IS THE GIRL. THIS IS IT. STOP LOOKING. YOU WON’T FIND ANYONE BETTER. SHE WILL BE THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU.

A year later, we were rounding the bases in softball dugouts and eating sunflower seeds on road trips and pretending to care about anything else. And I figured that was the last time I’d fall in love.

A decade later, though, I found myself in a room full of white coats and reeboks and bright lights, and it happened again. I saw the top of a cone shaped head, with jet black hair all wet and warm, and I was dizzy once more.

No one ever told me having kids was like getting to fall in love all over again.

I knew I’d love being a father. I knew I’d deeply love my kids. I knew they would be everything to me. But I didn’t expect the same range of emotions I had experienced ten years earlier. The gushing, the pride, the inability to focus on anything else, the magic of it all. And perhaps what surprised me the most is that it all happened, it all began, so instantaneously. Her head, her hair, her face, her shoulders, her belly, her knees, her feet, her cries. That was all it took. I was in love with my Stella, her big cheeks and blue eyes and crazy hair, her whole being.

+++

Margot was handed to me by an older nurse. She was swaddled in a hospital blanket, a little stocking cap on her head. The nurse said, “We did everything we could,” as she handed me my second daughter.

In the rush to the emergency room, in the agonizing wait to see if Margot lived or died, I had hardly given her face a thought. I wanted her to be alive, I wanted everything to be okay. I had forgotten what it feels like to see your baby for the first time. I forgot it’s love at first sight.

And then I looked at her.
And she was perfect.
And my heart swelled with love,
and my heart broke into pieces.

+++

Six months later, I'm still not sure how to handle this simultaneous feeling of love and brokenness.

Six months ago today, I fell in love with my beautiful Margot. Dead or alive, she is mine.

34 comments:

Dana said...

She is beautiful This post is beautiful. I wish she was in your arms.

Renel said...

that breaks my heart. How beautiful and completely perfect our babies were and yet they were not alive. The love is big and overwhelming. "Dead or alive she was mine." The deadness doesn't change the love. It does make the love hurt bigger. When your heart swells it swells with love and grief simultaneously which makes it seem bigger and unmanageable. It is the cruelest thing that can happen. A dead baby who is loved more than they are dead. It seems like this kind of love should bring a baby back to life.

Nika M. said...

She is beautiful. I'm so sorry you didn't get to bring her home.

Molly said...

She is just unbelievably beautiful and perfect. So heartbreaking.

cullensblessings said...

Beauty all around. You love is apparent.. for all of your girls...

Catherine W said...

Beautiful, perfect little girl and so beloved. I'm terribly sorry.

EmptyArms said...

Your daughter is beautiful and perfect. I love how you describe the love you have for your wife and girls. I have been reading your posts to my husband and I think it makes it so much easier for him to get this perspective of losing a child from a man's view. I am glad you write your story and that I can share it with him. Thank you for letting us in. I am sorry your baby girl is not in your arms right now.

Paula

Amanda said...

Her little hands are so precious. The fingernails. The little dimples. I can feel the pudge just by looking at them. I'm so sorry that those hands don't reflexively curl around your finger...

She is yours and thanks for sharing her with us.

Jeanette said...

Beautiful girl.x

brianna said...

Oh Josh, she was such a perfect and beautiful girl. I did not even know her but I miss her too.
Six months. Too much time. Thinking of you all today and, of course, always remembering Margot and feeling her absence in the world.

Wendi said...

Thinking of you, Kari, and Stella. Wishing Margot was in your arms. Love.

B. Wilson said...

It's absolutely like falling in love, isn't it? I didn't know what I'd feel toward my dead son, but I felt love. Complete, unaltered, genuine, love.

Perfectly formed and perfectly to rest. It's tragic, but that live will last forever. There's no denying that.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing her with us. She is gorgeous.

still life angie said...

Margot is just gorgeous. This is breathtaking. Xo

loribeth said...

Oh my gosh, she is just gorgeous. Sending you (((hugs))).

Karen McGill said...

She is absolutely beautiful. I can only begin to imagine your pain. You writing is so intense. You need to write a book. My prayers are with you guys.

Gwen Jackson said...

Oh, how I wish she was in your arms, in ours... she is so beautiful.

I think you must have shown this picture to us that first night we saw you... it was all such a blur that I don't remember it. I love seeing her fingers and hands, and all her hair.

Loving you all from afar.

Mary Beth said...

Oh my this is beautiful. And Margot? So unbelievable perfect and gorgeous. Damn how I wish she was here with you. Love to you and the ladies, three.

Kate said...

The love is the same for all of our children 'dead or alive'. Such a beautiful post Josh and a lovely tribute to all 3 of your girls.
Margot is beautiful and I'm sorry you didn't get to fall in love with her cries as well.
And 6 months already. It's scary how fast the time is going. I appreciate being further along from such trauma, but hate the distance from it as well.
Love to you, K & S and remembering Margot June today.

Brooke said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Her sweet little hands just melt my heart.

Fireflyforever said...

I read your post with a catch in my throat for your gorgeous words and your evocation of your love for your girls - and then I reached your picture of Margot and I stopped. I stopped to drink in her absolute beauty. My goodness, she is beautiful, isn't she? I wish she was in your arms, right now.

LauraJane said...

She is so beautiful. And falling in love? exactly.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how time can stand so still, yet fly by so quickly. A daily battle of wanting to hold on to every moment, but afraid of being stuck in the moment.

Groves said...

Come back, come back, come back beautiful Margot. Come back.

I don't know whether this feeling is fighting or wrestling or falling or reaching. But I want her to come back. Whatever it is that breaks in the moment between when that little heart beats and it silences -

I want to stop that moment.

"And then I looked at her.
And she was perfect.
And my heart swelled with love,
and my heart broke into pieces."

Cathy in Missouri

Sherry said...

She's beautiful...she's perfect...Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry she's not in your arms.

katie said...

i have read and read and read. i have wept and wept and wept, but, today, seeing her through your love and brokenness, i am left breathless. my hope is that peace will eventually battle its way into your days and you will have some rest from the overwhelming grief. she is truly stunning...

Hope's Mama said...

Oh my. Margot takes my breath away. Just so sorry all over again xo

Monique said...

What a beauty. So sorry she's not here.

Anonymous said...

She is so lovely and I am so, so, sorry.

Bon said...

i fell in love with my firstborn as he died in my arms. the strangest, most beautiful experience i hope to never ever know again. yet i would not trade it for all the world.

there is nothing like it, no matter the circumstances.

your Margot, she was extraordinary. so beautiful, so beautiful.

Caroline said...

she's absolute perfection. it'd be literally impossible not to fall in love with her.

Jennifer said...

Absolutely beautiful and perfectly stated. I'm so sorry for your loss. We have two daughters and lost a 3rd baby to miscarriage.

Angie said...

Margot is so completely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing her with us and for writing such a beautiful post.

Steph said...

I have never seen a more beautiful, precious looking baby. No words are adequate, just tears and prayers for your family's peace.

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