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.


Hope's Mama said...

Carol I'm at day 94. And I'm stuck on the couch, though I have picked myself up from the nursery floor. Enough tears have been spilt there.
Thanks for making me feel normal.

Shannon said...

It's been 563 days since Isabella, 226 days since Sean.

Sara said...

I was driving last home last night thinking about the hope of a new baby. I had been talking about this pregnancy and spoke mostly about the anxiety of it, my struggle to look ahead to actually having a baby, how different an experience it was from the last time I was pregnant. I realized a day later that I don't think I mentioned the hope. And that hope has been so important, even though it is a tentative hope, hope that I have been afraid to fully embrace. Still it is there. Strange to come home to read your post on this very idea.

Meg said...

what you went through was worse than anyone would even be able to imagine. You are certainly not an imposter. You don't need to compare against how long someone else had to wait for hope. I'm so glad you had Liam to help you and you have given him the best life ever! This post just shows what a wonderful person you are for finding hope and appreciating any good you can find.

Shannon said...

I hope my previous comment wasn't taken the wrong way. I have never really counted the days since I lost Isabella or Sean, I was curious when I read Carol's post, so I counted. I don't feel like my case is worse because I'm waiting longer than some (definitely no where near as long as others) or even because I've had multiple losses. It's a bummer for me because I felt like I hardly got to be pregnant those times and I feel like I might have gotten a little bit more respect from my crappy family had Isabella or Sean lived just a little longer. If I had had a baby shower, had a nursery set up, expected to go into labor and take them home with me "any day now". But I never got there. I don't want to say that I'm jealous of Carol's experience with Charlotte because that just sounds wrong. I just wish I could have felt them move, held them, touched their hands, kissed their faces. I just wish I could have been their mom.