Sunday, January 1, 2017
In the past 9 years I have lost a daughter, a father, and a brother-all too young, all in horrible ways. New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and Columbus Day- all tainted. Holidays spent on a labor and delivery floor holding my dead baby, watching my father being wheeled away for the last time, seeing the outline of my brother’s body underneath a white sheet.
Ritual is something that gets me through these horrible anniversaries. All of these deaths are intertwined. I think of all of them daily, and it can be so hard to focus on one person, one life lived. But tonight I focus on the one life that was never lived.
I remind my girls that tomorrow is Julia’s birthday. Ruby thought I was talking about their babysitter- and my heart broke a little more. They don’t know who she is. They never will, and neither will we. She is a figment of our imagination.
She would have been 9. She would have been in 3rd grade. Such simple facts that break my heart.
I am forever grateful for all that I have. I am truly happy in life. But tonight I allow myself to feel angry, bitter, and so sad. I look at the clock. Nine years ago at this time she was still alive. I get panicked. She was still alive- why couldn’t it have turned out differently? Why couldn’t someone have done SOMETHING to save her? Why did this happen to our baby? I am still so angry. Angry at those who deal with the hazards of pregnancy so casually, angry with anyone who has three children, angry with people whose children will turn 9 this year. The anger fuels me tonight.
Tomorrow it will be okay. Tomorrow I will wake up and she will be dead. The awful night before her death will be over. All that will be left is the ritual of remembrance. Remembering death is easy. It’s the remembrance of hope that is excruciating. It’s thinking back to that person who walked into the hospital ready to have a baby. It’s remembering that broken woman who left 4 days later.
So, tonight I allow myself to be irrational. I allow myself to think about the “what-ifs.” I allow myself to feel the raw pain of grief. It’s an old friend, and it will always have a place in my life.
Tomorrow will be easier. But I treasure tonight. Tonight- for just a brief moment- I get to have her close once again. Tomorrow it will be gone.