Death – I can’t see you, but I know you’re out there. You linger in the darkness, your rigid gaze staring blankly ahead. You stand tall with an arrogant power knowing the ultimate decision lies in your hands.
I remember a time when I didn’t know you so intimately. A time when I didn’t recognize you because I was too blinded by the innocence of my hopes and dreams. But, I know you now.
We are forever bonded because you stole my daughter from me.
You cause pain for so many unknowing and undeserving families that you probably don’t remember her, but you took her nonetheless. She was beautiful and delicate, my most beloved gift, and you tore her away before she ever had a chance to open her eyes and look brightly onto this world.
I could feel you introduce yourself before we were told she was gone. I felt your presence. I could sense you stalking me from the shadows of that tiny room, your breath creeping down the back of my neck, sending a shudder down my spine as terror and shock seized control.
It was you who reached into my womb and stopped her heart. It was you who suffocated her first breath, severing our future. You ripped her away. Because of you, I was consumed by grief’s unrelenting nightmare. You were the one that made me want to call out, to be taken the same way you had taken her.
Clawing and screaming and sobbing – I begged and pleaded with you to give her back to me. But you stood unwavering. You would not rescind.
I crumbled under the weight of the finality and the realization that I had failed. I could not save her.
My baby was dead.
Broken and bleeding, I sat cradling grief instead of my newborn.
Why? Why her? Why me? What was your reason? Why did she not get to live when so many others do? What did she do that was wrong? What made her so undeserving?
What did I do to you to warrant such pain and suffering as losing her? Why did you choose me to endure this lifelong path of heartbreak? Why didn’t you let me look into her eyes and feel her soft, steady breathing, even for a moment? All I wanted was my baby.
Was she scared when you took her? Did she struggle? Please, tell me she didn’t suffer…Did my baby cry out for me?
Does my daughter know how much I love her?
Why don’t you answer me, Death! You keep too many wicked secrets…
It’s not fair, I never asked for this. You’re a callous monster, and I cannot forgive you for what you’ve done. I will never forgive you.
I hate you.
I hope you know how much you took from me that day – my family, my hope, my motherhood. In one shattering moment, I lost everything I knew, everything I was, and everything that was supposed to be.
I have spent years picking up the pieces. I carry them around in my arms like tattered badges. Sometimes I drop them, and they scatter or break, forcing me to gather them up all over again…and again.
And, while I pick up the shards and yearn for those irreplaceable pieces, I say her name.
You see, Death, there was a miscalculation in your plan. You underestimated me.
Did you believe that if you took her away, she would be forgotten, like a dark secret? Did you expect me to swallow this new reality and stay silent to appease you? You were wrong.
A power has grown out of all the agony and tears, and I will fight for her memory. She will not fade into oblivion. She was a dream fulfilled, she existed, and she is still mine.
I realize now that you could never steal the precious memories and the love that I share with my baby, those are mine to keep forever. I was left with longing, empty arms but also a love that stretches to the farthest stars. As long as my heart still beats, it beats for two – mine and hers.
Death, I no longer fear you the way I once did; you no longer possess that power over me. My end is inevitable. I know that one day you will take my hand and I will follow you to a life beyond this one.
And even though I will miss this world, I take comfort in knowing my baby girl who I have waited a lifetime to hold, is waiting for me.
About the Author: Amy is the mother of two, her daughter in Heaven and a son here on Earth. She lives with her husband, Jason, in the suburbs of Maryland. Amy continues to search for ways to build purpose and promise back into her life as she fights to honor the memory of her stillborn daughter, Savannah, while exploring a journey of renewed hope with her son.