It has been 2 months since Gracie came into the world in perfect stillness and silence. Two months. 9 weeks. 61 days. A lifetime. Every day is so different from the day before, yet they are all the same. I think about Gracie as soon as I wake up in the morning, she is my last thought before I go to sleep, and she consumes much of my thought process throughout the time in between.
The second month turned out to be so much harder than the first, especially the last two weeks. I have countless thoughts every day that I would never have had if Gracie had come home with us; sometimes one thought leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another, and so on – sometimes they are completely random and disconnected, and the only common denominator is that they are all my thoughts. Some of them are completely rational, expected thoughts and feelings; others actually cause me to have feelings of guilt and shame, and make me wonder how anyone (let alone me) could think such horrible and rotten things.
I watch other people going about their normal business; I wish they knew how I was feeling, and I wonder if they have ever been in this place. I find myself staring down other women with pregnant bellies, babies or toddlers. I catch myself feeling envious of them, but them I remind myself that I have no idea what they may have experienced in the past and no idea what they may have gone through to get where they are – perhaps they have been down this same road and are finally getting their rainbow baby. I also remind myself that no one knows what terrible surprises and pain might lie ahead of them, and then pray that they are not chosen to walk the road that we are walking. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by feelings of envy toward people I know who are still pregnant or have infants. I would never wish this on anyone, and I am so thankful that most of our friends and family have never experienced this, but I sometimes wonder ‘Why us and not someone else?’ And then I return to wondering how anyone could have such an awful thought.
In the past, I have been accused of being an angry person; those who really know me understand that I am not an angry person - just a realist with a relatively strong cynical streak. But since September 14th I have been that angry person. I knew that the anger would come and I was waiting for it…but it still managed to sneak in with no warning…..and it absolutely doesn’t suit me. I can’t stand being angry, especially since I have no legitimate target for the anger. We have been robbed of so much, and I don’t want ever want a day to go by that I don’t think about Gracie, but the unending anger makes me feel like I’m dwelling and wallowing in self-pity. I have been trying really hard to balance the angry thoughts with some positives. I try to remember that someday Jeff and I will be reunited with Gracie, and then we will be complete again. I try to remember that we can use our experience to help others get through similar loss and pain. I try to remember that, although nothing will ever replace what we have lost, happier times in our lives lie ahead.
I continue to encounter people who either don’t know what happened to Gracie, as well as those who have not yet had (or taken) the opportunity to express their condolences. Most of these people want to express their condolences on the spot, and really do mean well, but most of the time I wish they would just say ‘I’m sorry,’ and leave it at that. Anything beyond that just usually sets me off inside. I could elaborate on this, but I won’t.
I wonder every day what the last two months would have been like with Gracie. I wonder when we would really be celebrating the one or two month marks and how much she would have weighed by the time she was ready to make her grand appearance. I wonder if she felt any pain before she died. I wonder what she would have looked like with her eyes open. I think about all of the proactive things that we did during pregnancy and wonder if it really had any influence or affect on her well-being….and I sometimes wonder if anything that we did sped up or delayed the inevitable. Although the last 61 days have been some of the hardest days of my life, I have no regrets about our time with Gracie. Given the choice to do it again with the same outcome or to not do it at all, I would, unquestionably, do it again. Among so many other things, she has shown us the purest meaning of true and unconditional love, and I would not trade that for anything.