I remember the first couple of weeks and months after saying goodbye to my precious Jonah at 30 weeks gestation due to a heart condition as extremely difficult and filled with so many ups and downs, I felt like a marionette doll living someone else’s life, because there’s no way that much sadness could be…
It’s late at night, the chaos and diversions of the day slowly drift away. The house is still and I’m finally able to escape from the hustle and bustle that preoccupy my thoughts.
It is in these silent moments that I find her, and together we sit as mother and daughter.
It’s here, in the darkness, when I find myself missing her the most. These are the moments where reality sets in, where the unquenchable ache rests heavily on my mind and I realize another day has gone by without her. How my spirit crumbles knowing that life carries on without my child as I stumble through it wearing these heavy chains of grief.
I find myself counting the minutes as they struggle to pass, each one becoming longer than the next, each one a reminder of how distorted time becomes after loss. It is in these moments, when you are missing such a special piece of your heart, that you see how long a lifetime truly is. It is here where you start to believe that a single lifetime stretches on forever.
Some days I feel punished for wanting a daughter so badly. Is this the price I had to pay for dreaming?
Was I not grateful enough for the gift I had been given? This is my family now; a family that is forever broken, always minus one. I feel selfish for wanting to be complete again, for wanting to be normal. The wishing and the yearning is enough to make your head spin. I want my daughter but the reality is that no matter what I say or do or think or feel, no matter what else I accomplish in this life, I won’t ever get to have Savannah back in my arms. The finality of her absence is haunting.
Some days, as I sit with her, she feels so far away. The connection that we have feels battered and bruised; the distance between her and I is infinite, and I am left grasping at the emptiness hanging in the air. Could it all be a dream? I find myself wondering if she was ever here, if she was ever really mine.
My brain struggles to return to that day as I try to remember every moment I spent gazing at her sweet face and feeling her weight against my chest. I promised her I would never forget, but on these days she feels so absent that I wonder if I’m losing the memory of her completely.
It is in these quiet moments when the guilt creeps in. A never-ending barrage of what-ifs, should-ofs, and everything in between, is enough to drive me insane.
Thoughts of my failed motherhood swirl around and take my mind hostage. How could I not know something was wrong? I had one job as her Mother, to protect her and keep her safe. I am left reeling, knowing that I am the one who let her go. My inability to save her is paralyzing and I fight to accept that I did the best I could at the time, with the resources I had.
I hate that I am no longer the woman I once was. That woman was destroyed when my daughter’s heart stopped beating. I wish I could be the mother she deserves, the one who is strong and confident and courageous. The mother who could offer her the world.
I feel the heavy guilt for wanting another child. She is irreplaceable, the void left behind cannot ever be filled.
How could I ever imagine loving another as much as I love her? How can I possibly watch another grow and explore knowing that she can never do the same? How could I wake up everyday knowing it’s filled with moments that one of my children will never have, a lifetime of lost firsts.
It is here that I realize the fear I still carry of the future; a future where the ordinary is an intricate dance between despair and joy. I fear finding happiness and hope only to have them so violently ripped away. I no longer trust that good things will happen without a price.
I fear facing a lifetime of emptiness, but the promise of lighter days is terrifying when you want nothing more than to feel grief’s pain if it will somehow keep you closer to your lost child.
It’s late at night, a candle slowly burns nearby as I sit with my daughter. I glance over at her photo and the heartache subsides – all I can do is feel the love I have for her. As my perception of normalcy evolves, I realize how she has forever shaped me. Even during the days where I must hide the hurt behind a smile, my heart can find her walking silently beside me. My heart will always find her and hold her close. My heart will always remember.