Fear is a great way to end up paralyzed. Not knowing how to get over something or someone can make you sit silently in the corner wondering over and over again how you could have fixed even the smallest of details. And sometimes you just can’t fix anything. Right now I keep looking for answers to two great questions, how to cope with the loss of my daughter and how to come to terms with the ending of my relationship. Neither are simple and currently are the greatest source of my waking up from an already restless sleep to my heart pounding through my chest.
I have loved women in my life before, but nothing comes close to the way I felt about her [in protecting her privacy I have to rely on pronouns, sorry!]. The way she made me feel just by being in the room was unlike anything I had ever felt. From the first time I held her hand until the last time I held her hand, she has been the most important person in my life. Her absence has made things darker, a little sadder. Simple things we used to do now have little or no meaning. Shows we used to watch together I ignore for the most part because we could joke about things in the plots, talk about some book or other show it reminded us of, just in general have simple small talk even when the rest of the world was weighing heavily upon our shoulders. I miss that, I miss the person who was my best friend. The other day I was just looking for the voice on the phone who used to laugh about my calling some of the people in the office children to help me deal with an issue with someone. It wasn’t huge, but I came to rely on her telling me in subtle ways I was being silly and that I just needed to look past whatever.
Protecting her was the most important job I could have ever had. Protect her from being sad, protect her from being hurt, protect her from the things I couldn’t predict but knew were going to happen anyway. What I couldn’t protect her from was me! My needing her to be there. My getting angry about not understanding why things went sideways at a moments notice. My not being there when we lost our daughter. My grief was so strong that I clung to her like a life raft. And then she needed to leave for a little while.
My main focus became making sure she had all of the help I could possible muster for her in the best way I could get it to her. Ask friends to focus on her for a little bit, give her the opportunity to focus on things that only mattered to her, space to figure what she wanted. I never did that for myself, a big mistake. I relied on the notion that we would be there for one another. The same way I laid in bed with her after losing our daughter, I thought that our greatest strength was in helping each other. Those notions of marriages vows still echoing in my head, through better and worse, through sickness and health… We were experiencing all of those at the same time. The pain and hurt, along with the strength I was trying to provide her and gain from her.
I’m not sure I will ever get over the loss of our daughter. I spend time working the program I have joined, spoken with a therapist, added a family counselor to help me piece things together, but it’s a lot of people sometimes giving conflicting advice. The only thing I know for certain is that my little girl would have been loved by a family that wanted her. She would have had cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends who all would have treated her like a princess. Never knowing who she could have been eats at me. Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I didn’t know that even existed and wished that I still didn’t know. But it is comforting recognizing that others struggle to properly memorialize someone who never really had a chance at life.
I had books piled on my iPad about building dollhouses and how to raise a little girl when daddy is not sure how to answer some of her questions. I so wanted to build her a treasure chest for her to have a place to put those things that meant the most to her. A safe place for her toys, or books, some picture she drew that she didn’t want to lose. The plans are still in my desk drawer along with a copy of a sonogram that I look at from time to time. I now wish we had done some 3D sonogram like my cousin, I just didn’t know that they existed. I was so happy to she my little bug rumbling around on the screen I couldn’t have been happier. 10 finger, 10 toes, and a perfect little face was all I ever saw. Like I told her mother, just come home safely, there’s nothing more important to me than that simple action.
The drawers in my bedroom are still empty, the closet only half used because it was about making sure she knew she had a place of her own, space that was hers only. She only needed to fill it. The tshirt she last wore sits on the shelf, unwashed and starting to get very wrinkled from being put under my pillow at nights some times. Trying to fill close, trying to remember when she would just wake up and smile at me as I joked about taking her picture. She was going to make a wonderful mother, she made a wonderful life partner. Our daughter would have hopefully been a copy of her mother. That’s the prayer I always had, just like her mother.
Now I’m grieving them both, one who I can never see and one who lives only a couple miles away. But who will continue to live in my heart.