I sent that text this morning to my husband and a couple friends.
It is because it is a visceral memory that grabs me and shoves me roughly back to a painful moment of my pregnancy, before we knew the end was coming.
We were about to tell our parents and siblings. I was getting the products that would comprise the surprise packages which is how we revealed it to them. I was bracing the cart in front of me and became overwhelmed with timidity and worry. I started to breathe deep and James walked over from where he was and saw the look on my face.
When he asked what was wrong, I spoke out loud my fears: “I just really want this to work.”
I had fears that it wouldn’t. There was no reason at the time to believe everything wouldn’t be perfectly normal. I was just scared to hope. I was taken in that moment because we were doing something fun and exciting – about to share with family. And I was nervous. We wanted children. We wanted to build our family.
I was caught in the space between hope and fear.
Even so, there was no reason to believe everything wouldn’t work out just fine.
So knowing now how things didn’t end up fine…being here on the other side, the “after”, floods of emotions come when I return to that same physical space.
I feel anger that my fears won. That they became my reality. I feel despondence and self-pity. I feel regret and emptiness and ache deeper than the pores of my bones. I see myself back in that aisle from that day and I just want to run over to her and take her away from everything. Kidnap her and transport her to a place where nothing bad will happen and where she won’t have to endure the aftermath. I want to kick and claw and slash at all the evil and heartache that is waiting to pounce. I want to defend her. I want to defend the future she wanted.
But I’m powerless.
So today, I wait until I’m in the car, driving home to fall apart. It comes ferociously. I let the full weight come and I moan & wail and empty again, as I do when the strong ones come. It’s been a while since one that heavy came.
I almost had to pull over but I don’t. Because I will let the feelings come so I can process and move through them – but I will also draw the line. I won’t let them possess me, taking control. It’s a balance and I’m searching to keep that whenever I can.
I’m oscillating between strength and weakness. Between functioning and being back to “normal” but then mourning and being angry that instead of packing my hospital bag and putting the finishing touches on our nursery in these last few weeks, I’m not. There is no stocking up on supplies. There is no prepping and planning.
Instead, in 26 days we leave for the Mexican Rivera. We booked long ago through a kind agent recommended by a new friend. It’s an all inclusive escape. It’s something we must do. We can’t be here. At the same time, we “look forward” to it, as much as one can. (Though it feels all kinds of wrong to use that phrase – I just don’t know how else to put it right now.) We know the waters will be healing and the ocean breeze calming. We know that in the company of each other, we will bloom even through the ashes. We’ve also never been to a beach together and we’ve wanted a trip like this for years.
Still, it will be complex. Because in less than a millisecond, we’d both give the resort up if it meant we were bringing home a baby instead.
So what do you do with that? We want to let ourselves be happy. We want to be healthy and live the lives we were given in this season. There is always transformation, through everything we endure as humans. We are reconstructing what life looks like now, even if it’s the opposite of what we wanted, dreamed or expected.
I know that won’t be the last time we transform either. This will happen over and over again. It’s like I said in my reveal – it’s the byproduct of breathing.
This won’t be a picture-perfect healing. Grief rarely is. I will be truthful – it has been less forceful than it was at the beginning. These knee-jerk instances are farther between occurrences. I am grateful for that.
Still, when the strong ones come, with them come forceful reactions and feelings and it physically hurts almost as much as it hurts emotionally and mentally. I deal with them by doing this. By talking it out. By writing it through. By being stark honest with God that I’m pissed some days, I’m depressed some days, I’m depleted and empty some days.
I tell the truth. Because I’m in a place in life where I know hiding isn’t productive. The truth is actually setting me free and I will continue, so I can heal. So I can come through the storms still alive.
I may be battered, bruised, bleeding when the sun shines again and the tornado dissipates – but I survived it. That is the win every time.
So this morning was rough.
But I am still here.