I wanted to cry last night. Given the circumstances I thought maybe I would, or should. But I couldn't. I don't know. I was tired but a little amped up, as I usually am the night before my long run. And I started thinking, remembering, and still no tears came.
I used to wonder about that, in the early days after Calla died. Women of all ages would console me, remember with me, listen to and speak her name in a way only a woman who'd walked this road can do. They would unselfishly share their stories with me, tell me how they'd emerged from the burning rubble leftover from the death of their babies. And I'd always wonder why they weren't still, all day long, crying.
Yet eventually I stopped crying every day, too. I can't even remember the first night I didn't cry myself to sleep, but I do remember waking up the next day feeling as though I'd forgotten something very important. Soon after I could go to the grocery store, or the library, and come out dry-eyed. Movies and dance recitals, anywhere a large crowd sits together in the dark and watches art, took a bit longer.
That's not say I wasn't, and am not still, sad every day. It's a strange way to exist in the world, with a child you never knew dancing through your heart to the rhythm of your breath. It's just that I can go for a very long time without weeping, which, if you'd told me six years ago would be possible I wouldn't have believed you.
So last night I thought it might be time for a good, soul-cleansing cry. I mean, Calla's birthday and day she died fall on the same days of the week this time around. I remember, vividly, driving to the hospital that freezing, snowing, Friday January 8th night. I remember lying in the hospital bed all day and night, counting and recounting the ceiling tiles and waiting to give birth to my dead baby. I try not to, but I feel more than remember the moment the doctor gave up searching the sonogram for a heartbeat, for any sign of life. I wish I couldn't hear the sounds that came out of my body, the primal wail that sirened out of my mouth, seemingly without end.
But I couldn't cry.
My life right now is very, very good. My boys keep me busy and running all day long. I am so lucky, I have two living, healthy children. As crazy as they make me I understand the supreme gift I've been granted by their simple, ordinary existence. And with their life I've had to make a neat little package of my grief. I can't, couldn't, wrap myself in it, smother myself under it. The two living boys here need me to walk, talk, drive, hug, snuggle, yell . . . I had to pack it in a secret pocket, and pull it out when I need it.
I thought about the women, those who know this pain and bear it without constant tears. I know they cry when the tears inevitably come. I know they have scars that still hurt, a lot, when poked.I am one of them, I am six years away from the death of our daughter. It rips me apart. I miss her no less. I wish she was here and wonder what our life would look like. E, just today, asked where her car seat would be, between him and his brother maybe?
Calla Valentina. Today you have been gone six years. And we miss and love you so very much.