Sometimes I feel like I can't be completely honest about things I'm thinking about. I often think I'm being judged or criticized for carrying such a deep sadness over the loss of my baby girl. Most of the time, when I'm out there in the world, I am a completely normal, functioning mother of "three." I homeschool, get children to various activities, play games, cook, clean, do laundry, read books, bandage small cuts, take out splinters, kiss noses, wash faces...you get the idea. There is nothing really to hide. But, like most Babylost Mamas, I see so clearly what isn't here, sometimes I need to stop, take a deep breath and...well, and do what many women need to do when they have some issues...I need to talk about it. But to who? This is where I can't always be honest with people. Many, if not most, of my friends have so fully moved on they think it strange when I mention her name. When I turn to Chris, he most often looks as me with the same glassy eyes I have. He simply nods, I know what you are thinking, he might say, I'm thinking the same thing...and then he'll look away. Sometimes neither of us can bear the hurt we see in the other person's eyes.
This past weekend was special in that we got to spend two days with my sister-in-law and her beautiful children, my nearly 3yo niece and 11mo nephew. The kids had a blast, running around the yard, playing in the sandbox, sharing clothes...my girls LOVE their cousins and my niece? Well, she adores the girls. She gets out of the car and instantly wants to know where they are and then she will follow them everywhere (to the point that Erin begins to tire of her--"Doesn't she ever stop asking questions??" she'll say. It is one of those moments that I wish Erin remembered being nearly 3 and full of endless questions!) On Saturday, one of those perfect fall days that Maine is known for, we went down to Acadia to ride bikes on the carriage roads and play in a beautiful stream. On the way back, my niece wanted to ride in our car with Erin, Megan and Evan, so we quickly moved her carseat to our van and happily drove off, singing silly songs all the way.
Sounds perfect, doesn't it? There I was, driving down the road and in my car were four blond children, aged 7, 5, nearly 3, and 1. Three girls and a boy. Hum...anyone else thinking what I'm thinking??? I looked at Chris. He looked at me. But really, what was there to say?
This burden that we carry is ours to carry--ours alone. We get that. I would give anything to be able to look at my niece and not think about where I was when she was born (months from my baby girl, a week from a miscarriage--joy all around, basically...). I would love to be able to talk to my sister-in-law about any of it, but this sadness has permeated its way into that relationship as well. (And it isn't like I don't understand her points--would you want to be the one who has to announce her pregnancy just before your niece's memorial service? Would you want to be raising the child who so clearly fills this other gap in the family but who is so unbelievably perfect and special in her own right that it becomes almost necessary to build an invisible wall between the families? Think about the position all this has put her in! I do not envy her shoes at all!)
So, without the ability to just say her name, here Chris and I sit, just outside the world in which we so easily function most days, watching that which continues to pass us by. That missing chunk of our family that seems so invisible to everyone else, that chunk of our heart that I birthed on a cold day in January three years ago, this we will carry with us when we step back into our lives and continue to move forward. But sometimes, sometimes, when I'm deep into the regular world, I just want someone with me when I step out to weep.