I should be in bed. But instead I’m awake and missing her so much it feels a little hard to breathe.
Today was a pretty normal day. But it was one of those days where my grief seems to whisper to me. The only thing I can possibly think to compare it to is when you hear a noise so quick and so faint, by the time you lift your head you’re not even sure which direction to position yourself to hear it again. And, you resort to feeling a little crazy, but moving on thinking it was all your imagination. Well, this happens all throughout my day but it’s the pang of something missing. It gets a little stronger sometimes as the day goes on and I can even pin point where the emptiness is coming from, but the TV or a good book overpower it and trick me into thinking it was never there at all. Inevitably though, I go to bed. No TV or music to distract me. Just still, quiet darkness and the whispers turn to shouts and my pillow ends up being too wet to sleep on.
So, tonight, instead of turning over my pillow and starting again, I decided to come here and write.
I miss her soft skin. I used to trace the sides of her feet and legs with my fingers as she slept in my arms.
I miss her cheeks and the nape of her neck. They were probably my favorite places to kiss her so much she would squirm or lift an arm in protest.
I miss her bright eyes.
I miss her little fingers, her tiny ears. I heard once your ears are the only thing that is passed directly from one parent. She had my ears.
Most of all right now, I miss the weight of her. I remember pretty early on stopping and feeling the sensation of putting my hands underneath her body and lifting her up to mine. To feel her on my chest or in one arm as it fell asleep from the still weight. I knew I would miss that most. And, I do. I remember joking- to try and cover up how afraid I was of feeling this specific sadness- that i might have to walk around with a big bag of flour every once in awhile.
I haven’t done that.
I wish I could say these things were the only reason I cry, but there are a million more.
Some of them are memories from the first few days in the hospital. I remember knowing too little not to welcome sleep. Sleep provided me rest from the extreme worry and I didn’t know enough. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to leave her side. That was probably a blessing in its own way.
Then there’s memories from the NICU and the hopelessness we felt after we heard her diagnosis. I remember feeling like I was living in a nightmare and I just wanted to wake up with an incorrect diagnosis and healthy baby in my arms. Those twilight-feeling memories haunt me the most.
Some of them are from when we brought her home and I couldn’t sleep because I was too afraid she would stop breathing.
Some were the night before she passed and feeling like I was going to have a nervous break down, knowing my baby was going to die soon and I could do absolutely nothing to stop it. Agony. God knows.
And, of course many are remembering her face pass from this life to the next. The involuntary breaths at the end. And holding her in my arms, even though I knew she was already in the Lord’s.
Sometimes I don’t know how to live with these memories. But I also don’t know how to live without them. Because all the memories of sweet cuddles, kicking legs and waving arms, baby noises, bath times, untimely toots (Brooklyn-not me…Ok sometimes me), dress-up, walks to the park, laying together in the sun….they were all woven in between the anxiety, stress, and fear. The suffering was not far from the joy and often times inseparable.
And, here’s where some beautiful statement(s) tie it all together and I put a little bow on this mess I’ve just laid out for everyone to read. But, I don’t have a bow tonight. And, I might not tomorrow.
Now for a snack and some sleep and another day.
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