So, I was in JoAnn Fabric this week looking for fabric for my next Gracie project, and I ran into a long-time acquaintance. She is one of those people that you do your best to avoid when you see them in public, but are obligated to talk to once you’ve been spotted. I did a really good job of avoiding her for about 10 minutes, but then she spotted me when I wasn’t looking. She said hello, and then got right to it…. “So are you over it yet?” She’s a pretty forward person, but this kind of knocked me back a little. For a split second I thought that she was perhaps talking about something else – maybe she thought that I had been ill, maybe she was talking about some of the small town political BS that provides constant drama around here… So I asked, “Over what?” Without missing a beat, she came right back with “Are you over the baby thing?”
You’ve got to be kidding me. Am I over the baby thing? THE BABY THING? This comes 2 weeks after I was labeled ‘creepy’ by a virtual stranger for carrying pictures of Gracie with me. What the hell is wrong with people sometimes? I like to think that I would never say something like this to anyone… I looked at her and said ‘I’m pretty sure that it’s not something that we’re ever going to get over.’ She told me that we just needed to give it some more time, and we would get over it. I really had no desire to be talking to her to begin with, and had even less desire to be tactful at this point in the conversation. I bluntly told her that we are doing okay, and that we are taking one day at a time. I told her that as each day passes, it gets a little easier to get through it, but it’s not something that we will likely ever get over. She said – again – ‘Just give it time, you’ll eventually get over it.’ I was pretty curt in telling her that losing a child isn’t something that people generally get over – it’s just something you eventually learn to accept, something you get through and work around. It’s not something that you get over. I then excused myself to finish my shopping and said goodbye.
My daughter died. I often wonder if people would look at her death differently if she had died one day after she was born instead of one day before she was born. There is really no difference. In the end, I carried her for 36 weeks, gave birth to her and did not bring her home from the hospital. In the end, she is gone. The moment that I realized she was dead began the worst experience of my life. After that moment, I endured an ultrasound to confirm her death, delivered her lifeless body, gave her up to be taken to the morgue, came home from the hospital without her, and buried her body. I do not like it, and I certainly will never get over it. But I cannot change it. All I can do is accept it for what it is (the shittiest thing that has ever happened in my life) and move through it. I will move through it and deal with it at a faster pace than some people feel I should, and at a slower pace than other people feel I should – but it is my experience and it is something that I need to do in my own time. As I move through it, I expect that I will continue to experience a roller coaster of emotions. And as I move through it, I can make the conscious decision to be forever bitter about it, or I can make the conscious decision to find some silver lining. I want to find the silver lining. I want to find a way for some good to come of Gracie’s death.
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Gracie’s death, combined with some other recent life experiences, makes me feel like I will be ready for the World’s Strongest Woman Contest by spring – maybe sooner. A friend who has walked this road told me that someday I will look back and be amazed by what I have endured and survived. I am pretty sure that I will not experience that moment until after we have survived another pregnancy and brought home a healthy baby, but I am certainly looking forward to it! Until then, I will continue to trudge through. I will continue to lean on other loss mamas that I have met, and will continue to be here for them to lean on when needed. I will continue to do what I can to make every minute of every day count, because life is too short to not. But I will never understand what makes some people tick…