Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Right Where I Am: Three Years, Five Months and Nine Days

Edited: This post is part of Angie's Right Where I Am project. Check it out.

Right where I am is clearly not here. Last post was almost six months ago and, truthfully, if it wasn't for this project, I'd likely still be silent. I read blog posts and then don't have words beyond "I'm sorry, I understand, I'm here for you." But here I am, here we are. Again.

Almost three and a half years have passed since my second child, our only daughter, Calla Valentina died. Lying in that hospital bed all those days ago, I swore I'd never smile or laugh or eat or breathe again. At the time I thought giving birth to my dead baby was the worst thing I'd ever live through. And it was brutally awful, inhuman, cosmically cruel. What I didn't realize then, and know bone-deep now, is it's the living the rest of my life without that's the hardest part. The nagging twinge of missing that pulls at every single breath.

It has gotten easier to bear, this missing. In fact, I go many, many days without shedding a single tear. There was a time when I sincerely believed I'd shrivel into a raisin from all the crying. But I didn't, no matter how much I cried. And then the crying tapered off to once a day, to maybe once every few days, and then somehow I wasn't really crying at all.

She is with me every day, though. The nagging pull of something wrong. Where I physically look for my two boys, where they are in the fray of life, I emotionally look for my daughter. Where is she in my consciousness, as that's the only place she really can be. She's certainly not hiding in the racks of clothes at the store or running around with her friends at the farmers' market.

I occasionally get bitter, though I've learned to shrug off the throwaway comments. Surprisingly, my daughter's death nearly three and a half years ago isn't at the forefront of everyone else's consciousness when they remark on O's "second child" behaviors, or ask if we're done having children after only two. I have a pretty thick coat of armor to deflect those comments, because they're not meant to sting.

There is a little boy at E's preschool who was born shortly after Calla's death. I know this because his mother was a cashier at the co-op and every time I'd go in we'd talk about our soon-to-be born babies--her first, my second. When Calla died I remember asking someone to let this woman know, as though this bit player in my unfolding horror movie would actually need to know this information.

But I see this mother and son occasionally, accompanied by a perfect infant daughter. My life, right over there--the one that wasn't meant to be. I try to be bigger than this, as my life is pretty awesome these days. It still hurts to have it waved under my nose, however unintentionally. Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

Things here, though, are otherwise really great. E is finishing preschool, off to Kindergarten in the fall. O will start preschool and I'll have a few hours a week to figure out some way to re-enter the world of gainful employment. I am in the best running shape of my life and am enjoying cooking, baking, living a (mostly) healthy lifestyle. We've gotten to the bottom of C's health issues and he's enjoying running agin, finally. Soccer, dancing, art camp, martial arts, reading, bike riding . . .  the normal stuff of life.

For these things I am so grateful. I can't believe it's been almost three and a half years. Here is my life.