Okay, so life must go on. Everyone you know has moved on and is past grieving for me. They are encouraging me to move on in a variety of ways. Do I keep everything, do I sell everything, do I give it away? The house has baby clothes hanging in the closet, diaper bag is in the room all packed and ready to go. Diapers, wipes, and formula are put away waiting to be used. Crib has been assembled, swing is in the living room, and the car seat is properly installed. I went to the hospital, I went through delivery, and I came home with a little purple box not a baby. My house is filled with reminders, painful reminders. I remember taking all the clothes out of the closet and sleeping with them. The day after we got home from the hospital a baby gift arrived in the mail.
We left for the funeral and I had told my friend who was pregnant and due 3 months after me she could have everything. She asked if I was sure and I was. She said she would wait and she did. I came home from the funeral and everything was still there and stayed there for a very, very long time. Eventually I bought a big basket and filled it with her clothes and her diapers and her bottles and everything else I could put in it. The car seat sits in our garage. Bouncy chair is still in its original packaging. Getting rid of it all means it's done and I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be done. I'm not sure I'm ready to give her stuff away. Whoever gets it won't understand how hard giving it up is, they won't understand the significance. When they no longer need it, a trip to the Goodwill or a local consignment sale will probably take place. Her stuff is all I have of her and it can't end up on a wrack marked for .50 cents as if it is worthless.
I went out for lunch with some of the spouses. There was a new girl at the table. She asked me how many kids I had. In that moment I felt the table go silent and everyone's eyes on me. Maybe that wasn't the case, maybe I just had a moment in which the world seemed to stop. It was the first time I had been asked. I thought I would say 5 without hesitating, and yet there I was hesitating. How many kids do I have, four. I said four. Since then I've been asked several times that very question. Sometimes my response is four, sometimes my response is five, sometimes my response is four but we also have our very own angel in heaven. When I say five it often leads to that conversation and the "oh I'm so sorry" and me standing there like well if I say, "it's okay" that sort of makes it sound as if it is okay, which it isn't. If I don't say anything I look like an idiot. If I smile and nod things become awkward. Do I deny her to avoid an uncomfortable conversation? Do I deny her because at that moment I can't deal with what may come? If I say four am I telling my kids it's okay to forget, am I telling them they never really had a sister? If I mention it I don't want sympathy, do people think I'm just looking for some attention? Does it matter what people think?
I can't avoid gymnastics and ballet forever. I have parents calling for sports photos. I have things I have to do. How is the baby? She passed away. Where's the baby? She passed away. Way too many people knew I was pregnant. Way too many people had no idea she died. I avoided people in stores, walked in a different direction in parking lots, said hi and ran as if I was in a hurry to get somewhere. It was like I was trapped in this weird alternate universe. I couldn't escape it no matter how hard I tried. It was like trying to walk through quick sand or freshly poured concrete. I wanted to get out of this world and yet I was too weighed down and couldn't move. I feel like three years later I am just now able to take a step.
Now what? I'm stuck in this place between sadness and disbelief. I'm stuck in this place where I don't know what to say. I'm stuck in this place that has no answers. Twelve stages of grief, I'm not even sure I've made it to stage two yet. Three years later and I still feel like I'll wake up any moment and this nightmare will be over, as if the last three years really hasn't happened. My life is a fog; I'm half here. That weird feeling that comes with a dose of Codine-that is my everyday, my forever-walking around in a daze, only half aware of my surroundings. Clueless.
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