Today it’s been one month since Lucy died. In some ways the time has gone way too fast, but it’s also been the slowest month of my life.
I think about Lucy all the time. If I’m not distracting myself with other things, she’s all I can think about. She would have been almost three months old. We would have been seriously thinking about taking her home. She would have been off the ventilator and I would have been able to hear her cry. That’s one of my biggest regrets, that I never heard her voice. We’d be holding her all the time, and she’d be getting so big.
We’re still working on our new house, but we finally spent our first night here last night. We weren’t in that much of a hurry to leave my parents’ house – it was nice to have the extra company and support. It’s nice to be in our own home now, but it’s hard in a lot of ways. Things keep going wrong, and they feel more overwhelming than they would have before. The hardest thing, though, is the fact that we bought this house to be Lucy’s home. Everywhere I turn, I see the things I wanted for her here. I wanted the blue room, now filled with boxes of her things, to be her room. I wanted to teach her to swim in our pool. I wanted to teach her to cook in this kitchen, and plant flowers and vegetables with her in the garden. I can see her running around playing, and sometimes I can almost hear her laughing. Whenever I think that none of that will ever happen, the pain is just too overwhelming – I feel like it’s crushing me.
Most of the time I feel like I’m sort of okay, but it doesn’t take much at all to make me crumble, and that’s when I feel like I will never be okay. A couple of weeks after Lucy died, we were eating out, and I overheard a lady at the next table saying “isn’t it so sad about that little tiny baby that died?” I don’t know for sure they were talking about Lucy, but in a town this size, I’d say it’s a fair assumption. That gutted me. They didn’t know who I was, they were just talking about a tragic thing they heard about. It’s weird being the victim of the tragedy instead of the observer. Another time, a salesman in a furniture store asked us if we had children. Such a simple, harmless question, but it was the first time we’d been asked since she died. I froze – couldn’t say a thing. Finally, not wanting to explain, David said no, but that felt wrong. Maybe next time we’ll be more prepared. Yes, I have a daughter, but she passed away. Why couldn’t I just have said that?
I’ve always sort of had a taste for drama, but only indirectly. As a child, I would lie awake at night imagining these heartbreaking scenarios: me on my deathbed, saying goodbye to friends and family, somebody I love dying tragically, etc. I’d get myself all worked up, have myself a good cry, then go back to sleep, secure in the knowledge that nothing like that would ever happen. As an adult, I’ve often enjoyed a sad movie or book – they’re cathartic. But now I’ve lost my taste for drama and tragedy. Having experienced the trauma firsthand, I’ve found that those things aren’t cathartic anymore. Is there such a thing as catharsis for me anymore? When I do break down, it doesn’t feel like a relief, it just feels like a temporary release, letting out some of the grief like the vent on a pressure cooker. As soon as I stop, the pressure starts building again. I think that what will happen eventually is that the time between breakdowns will slowly increase, and maybe I won’t feel the need to cry on David’s shoulder every single night before I can sleep. One day that will happen.
Well now I feel like I’ve been a bit melodramatic. I’ve been trying to regain some of my former cheerfulness and optimism, but some days are harder than others. Today is definitely harder. We’ve been without our baby for a whole month – half the time she lived! – and all I can think today is that we have a whole lifetime of this ahead of us. A whole lifetime without Lucy is just not something I can be optimistic about right now.