Thursday, November 20, 2008
There are times when my own story escapes me; it has become such an integral part of my own geography that the details become lost upon me in the rush. This is something that I don't think I've ever consciously realized about the road that I have walked, and it humbles me to the point of almost feeling like an imposter in this world of floundering babylost people.
I never existed out in the world without hope.
What is hope? It was Liam, this tiny seed growing in my womb, conceived not three months after Charlotte vacated. The unexpected delighted in how-could-it-happen little being that planted his feet firmly into my life, as if throwing me a ring-buoy, and has been there ever since.
Certainly there were the days, but there were only 102 of them, where I had nothing. Only 102. For those days, for ALL of them, I was devoted entirely to my grief. I did not work, I rarely socialized, I barely cooked, ate, exercised, or grocery shopped. The only times I left my house were for things that related to Charlotte-- a foray to place her memorial stone, a writing group to lay down my soul on paper, a walk with Greg in a private wood to share our deepest thoughts. My memories of that time-- my sitting time, I call it-- are mostly of me frozen on the couch, my eyes fixed on her tiny footprints that were balanced on the mantlepiece (and still are, not in a frame, just balanced there as if we just casually set them there a few moments ago and plan to move them). I recall being laid out on the nursery floor, the smell of wet wool as my tears literally soaked the rug beneath my face. I remember the sunlight on my bedroom wall as I would wake up in the morning, sucking in the dead air of my room and wishing I could sleep forever. We slept for 12 hours a night that summer, at least. It was all I could see fit to do.
And by the time I went back to work, 15 weeks after Charlotte's birth and death, I knew I was pregnant. At the time, I didn't think the notion of being pregnant was affecting me much, the whole idea seemed so uncertain. But of course it did, of course. How could it not? How could the very idea that something was growing-- even if it might quit on me-- not provide me with something in the way of hope?
And so what do I have to offer, at times, in knowing what it feels like to go for months and years without hope, or to never have hope again? I can equate it only to those early months, and I pray that the later months and years do not sear as wickedly as those early months alone did.
It makes me feel so lucky, which I am in those certain ways.