I know you saw me at the craft store the other day. You caught me wiping away a tear as I gently ran my finger over those artificial pink roses. Maybe you thought I was looking at them for my mom’s grave. Or for a wreath to put on my door.
You didn’t know that I think I’m terrible at choosing flowers and have no idea how to arrange them. And you don’t know that I worry that I’m a terrible mom because I don’t replace them often enough. And you don’t know the fight I went through to get the design of her stone just right. You probably didn’t imagine I was choosing them for the headstone of my baby girl. Because babies are not supposed to die. A mom is not supposed to be in the store trying to figure out how to decorate a grave for her child’s birthday.
You saw me in the parking lot of that strip mall sobbing in my car after hanging up the phone with the doctor’s office. The call when they told me the in-vitro failed. My dream for another daughter crashing. You may have thought I was just having a bad day. Or maybe you thought I was a drama queen and was upset after a run-in with a rude store employee.
You had no clue that my world had just been darkened once again. You didn’t know that I was again filled with guilt. Wondering if I did something to deserve this fate. Wondering if something I ate or drank or did caused it to fail. Searching for any justification for this to happen to us. You didn’t know that I was sitting there trying to figure out how to give my husband even more bad news. The kind he’s getting a little too accustomed to receiving.
I knew you saw me tear up at that cute little restaurant that sits by the water at the park. I was there with my husband eating lunch. You probably thought we were fighting.
You didn’t know that a minute before I was looking at him and was struck by how his emerald eyes sparkled in the sunlight. And that I was remembering how captivatingly blue our little girl’s eyes were. You wouldn’t know that I then realized we’d never have another daughter with those eyes and that our chances of even having a son with his eyes were also evaporating.
You saw me running past the baby food isle at the grocery store. And pausing at the cute little onesies at Target. You saw me fleeing from the party to hide in the bathroom. And getting out of the car with swollen, red eyes.
And you see me put on a brave face and tell you that I’m fine.
But you don’t know my heart is shattered. And continues to break over and over in a million little ways every day.
And you don’t know how I get out of bed in the morning. Or how I manage to keep hope alive when so many dreams die around me.
And to be honest, I don’t always know either. But I know I must. I know I can’t let the darkness win. I will continue to get out of bed and march into that craft store. I will pick out the flowers that speak to me and I will put them in basket at my daughter’s grave. I will kneel there, crying as I wipe the dirt and grass from her stone. And then I will wipe away the mascara, put on sunglasses and keep moving.
Dawn and Joe have been married for nine years. While pregnant with their first child, they learned their daughter, Zoey, would have Trisomy 18. Zoey lived for 120 beautiful days. Dawn blogs about life with Zoey, surviving after loss and, subsequently, their struggle to grow their family at anchoringthewaymires.com.