There are not many people who don’t know that I have an obsession with radio. I love listening to the witty banter of the morning show hosts, as they talk about the hot topics of the day with a local flare. On my morning commute to work I often find my mind engulfed in everything they have to say, and I’m mesmerized by the personal sagas of the guests they interview.
This morning while stopped at a red light on my way to work I was enjoying my morning ritual when a light blue Cadillac hearse crossed the intersection in front of me. There was nothing remarkable about the series of events that led the car to be in my path, but suddenly, I wasn’t in my car anymore, I was sitting in the back seat of the hearse. I was wearing a thick black cotton maternity/nursing dress that had gone slightly knobby from wear, and it was a little loose on my 4 day post partum body. And on the seat next to me was a small white box. My arm clutched around it. It was holding the dead body of my daughter. The last time I would ever hold her close. In a small white box, in the middle of the back seat of a pale blue hearse. Wearing a knobby black cotton dress. And my throat burned. And my eyes ached. And I could feel the texture of the box as I dug my fingernails in and held on like my life was in that box, because it was.
And then I blinked and my light turned green, the local hosts threw to their roving traffic reporter and I cleared my throat and kept on driving to work.
I feel like for the last number of months I’ve been disappointing everyone around me. I’ve been socially withdrawn, sleepless, irritable, and emotional. I’ve been generally unwell, getting sick more often than normal and fighting to stay connected to friends that I used to be able to rely on. I’ve probably been subconsciously pushing them away.
I’m standing in the ashes of who I used to be, and I’m afraid, because I can’t keep fighting these demons in my mind and in my dreams forever. I’ve been struggling silently, for longer than I care to admit. Maybe I’m weak, but when I struggle to connect, that’s when Im fighting the hardest.
I have two of the most amazing boys. They’re the joys of my life. My every ounce of life is in them – but in the quiet hours of the morning when sleep evades me and the nightmares taunt every corner of my mind, that’s when I’m Everlee’s mom. And I’m thinking about picking out the 64 box of crayola crayons with the sharpener in the back, and Barbie backpacks, and Sophia the First lunch boxes. Because she should be starting kindergarten. And I should be anxious about all of the upcoming milestones that children her age – the age she should be – are preparing for that she’ll never get to have. I’m thinking of the life she’s been robbed of, and the hurt that I still carry in my heart every single day because I am the mother of three but the parent to two. And am I punishing myself and withdrawing again because I feel like it’s my fault that she’s not here? Because even after all these years I still feel like people look at me as the girl with the dead baby? Or is it because my mind keeps racing and I keep playing out the life she never got to have in my head over and over and over and I don’t want to burden people with the constant ache that exists in every move I make?
And I miss her. God dammit, I miss her.
I’m sorry to everyone I’ve been letting down. But I just have these cobwebs and skeletons in my head that need clearing. I’ll be ok, but right now I’m just not.