It’s been a bit since I’ve written…
I suppose you could say that the aftermath of his first birthday took all I had just to survive this far. It’s a new level and a new wave of grief…. that’s for sure. And one day if I find how, I’ll try to explain it, but for now, I’m just glad I survived…
And here I am.
Today, I remember another day close to my heart. His due date.
I remember when we first got the date, how people said they hoped the baby wouldn’t be born one day late and my niece would have to share her birthday (June 25th). I remember people wondering if I was planning to go on the family vacation that would fall just 2 weeks later. I remember thinking of how my babies’ birthdays would be spaced wonderfully now. I remember feeling relieved that my due date wasnt at the end of the summer, like my previous one had been. I remember excitement, anticipation, a bit of worry about not meeting expectations, and joy. I remember feeling like things were “working out just perfectly”… In fact I’m sure I said it more than once aloud. I had it all worked out. Finally.
Except then real life arrived 2 months early and overthrew my perfect plan , leaving me shattered on the floor of my life. My son was born and I learned not only that babies can die… But that my baby can die…without “reason”.
And my world shattered.
It took until about this time last year for me to truly figure out “what just happened”. I won’t say I “absorbed” what happened (most days I think I’m still working on that…), but I “awoke” in a sense from my traumatized trance and realized that he would have been due to arrive today… Or tomorrow… Or maybe even yesterday. My pregnancy journey would have officially ended as of this date 2015. And a new wave of grief swarmed through me. His journey would have been over “on/around this day”.
It would have been Over. Except, it already was.
From the time he was born until his due date, I could say he “would have”, rather “should have” been x weeks or months along”… he “should have” been OK to breathe on his own, he “should have” not had to be in the NICU of he was born now…and a million other thoughts that I know have crossed your mind as well…
And suddenly this date, this “destination” of the pregnancy countdown… Is more dreaded than loved. It is suddenly unimportant,nil even, because you now know that there isn’t a safe zone…ever… Until that baby cries and breathes in your arms.
And even then, you never forget that there is no guarantee for tomorrow with that little miracle. You know that babies die. And you know they can die for no reason. And you can never forget that. Not ever.
You truly understand what a miracle life is. You begin to see what a gift every single day, every single ‘I love you’, every single smile is.
You know that the journey can be over… Before it ever came due.
And that’s something I wish no mother on this planet had to hold in her heart. Ever.
It’s ironic how quickly a “due date” can go from such a happy, joyous countdown… To one of dread.
But I suppose when your due date comes and goes and your arms remain empty, your perspective shatters and can never truly repair to what it used to be. Your heart now knows the most awful, most heart wrenching, most backwards, callous, evil that lives in this earth….
An empty due date with empty arms.
It’s filled with uncertainty and taint. What do you do on an empty due date?
I don’t have that answer. I’m not sure there is a ‘right’ answer (as is with most of grief)…all I know is you walk that day moment by moment and tend to your grief and your aching arms the best way you know how….
Because nothing will ever truly fill an empty due date. Nothing.