Friday, April 27, 2012
I can go back there in my mind. All it takes is a song, the smell of a warm spring day, the newness of baby skin.
When I think of that time it's like the air is being pulled from my muscles and bones by a fierce wind.
There are songs I cannot listen to. Glory Baby by Watermark especially. I curled up on the couch in the yoga pants I wore while I labored, an old shirt - my breasts bound beneath to suppress milk production -, the grey sweater I wore the last time I held her, and listened to it over and over as the weather jumped from sun to rain outside the living room windows and the hours without her stretched into days, then weeks.
I can't even go to Glow anymore. It hurts to return, though I found comfort and the dearest friends there.
Honestly, I don't even cry that often anymore. I've been attending weekly counseling sessions since January. I haven't cried once. Last week I stood at the front of a classroom and laid my soul bare as I listened to the shush of tissue being pulled from boxes, my heart clenching as I exposed the regret and shame I feel knowing she died alone. But I didn't cry.
I cried so much when she died, in that first year, on her first birthday, when Bennett was born and spent a week in the NICU. Maybe I don't have tears left. Maybe the tears are deeper now, beneath a hard layer of grief and time. To access them I would have to open myself to that fierce wind, let it pull the breath from my body.
The enormity of my loss doesn't strike me as often as it once did. I used to get pummeled three thousand times a day; now it's part of me: my story, my life, my history. So ingrained her name no longer sticks in my throat, the thought of her still body doesn't make my eyes well with tears.
But I can't escape the pain. Grief with its recognizable signature comes to call even when I avoid triggers.
It's there, it's me, it's bound to my spine, woven throughout my soul.
And when it visits, it hurts.