I am sitting, cup of tea nearby, wrapped in the beautiful shawl that arrived in the mail today. It came from a friend I hadn’t heard from yet. A friend whose first pregnancy ended in the second trimester after a trisomy diagnosis. A friend who understands the grief. Someone made her a shawl to keep her company as she moved through the pain of loss. She found comfort in it and so, in turn, sent one to me.
I reread her letter after Ada fell asleep and finally let myself cry. Today was a day of waves. Feeling good and productive, getting things done, then slowly recognizing the ache growing in my chest until my eyes swam. I couldn’t find space to do more than allow the overflow to land on my cheeks. Ada was close all day and kept checking in to see if I was sad.
Yes, sweetheart, I’m feeling sad right now, and I’ll be okay.
Sometimes she wanted to know how sad. How do I quantify sadness to myself, never mind a three year old? I wonder, repeatedly, if it’s easier to lose a baby when you don’t already have another child, or when you do. It’s a ridiculous, unanswerable question and yet my mind wrestles with it too often – another way to acknowledge my feelings without being fully present with them. Another way to cope.
The shawl is comforting, soft, gray. In a moment I will step outside with it, listen to the ocean, breathe in the full moon, wish on a star.
I am exhausted. This is exhausting. Sleep is elusive. So tonight I will go to bed, grateful for many things, devastated by Ben’s death, and pray that fear doesn’t grip me too tightly. Tonight I will let the tears come when they need to, I will put my hand on my daughter’s chest whenever I need to know she’s alive, I will do what I can to trust that all is well, some way, some how.
My dad said to me tonight after I finally showed him Ben’s pictures and footprints that I didn’t deserve to experience this loss. Nobody does.