Today was the first time in exactly two weeks that I’ve left the house alone. Today marked exactly two weeks that our nightmare began.
I needed to stop by work today to pick up some personal items of mine. I also went out to lunch with two wonderful women that I recently learned about that co-founded a project that I wish to stand behind. They are mothers that have experienced the types of losses that I have. Their stories are different, but the same. They had kind words to share, supportive hugs and lots of hope. I didn’t really shed a tear while I told them what happened to me. To Leo. To us. It was as if I was wearing a full-body brace to keep me upright and stable.
Part of my journey to meet them was by my usual means of transportation to the City; the train. It was bittersweet. The last time I rode the train, I was still pregnant. I had a bump and I had started to struggle a little bit with back pain and I always hoped I’d be able to get an empty seat. Today, the train was empty as I wasn’t riding during the usual rush-hour traffic.
All day I payed more attention to things. To people. I saw one man sleeping on the hard ground wrapped in blankets and surrounded by the warm comfort of his dog, his companion. I saw lots and lots of pregnant women. I saw lots of baby strollers and young children.
I also saw a woman in a moment of deep sorrow. She sat right in front of me. She was a pretty woman. She was wearing a white eyelet dress. She had a lime green cover on the iPad she was reading from that she pulled from her red backpack. Not too long after she arrived, a tall & handsome man showed up and he bent over to embrace her while she sat still. He kissed her on the lips and on her cheeks. He put his hands on her body, her thighs. Surely it was her husband, or lover, I thought. And then just like that, she began to sob. I could only tell after he separated himself just the tiniest bit from her body. Her entire body shuddered with pain, the tears just fell from her eyes and rolled off the tip of her nose. He held her closer. He took out a few tissues from his pocket and wiped her tears away. She looked so comforted by his presence. It looked like she was wearing her full body brace, but with the appearance of her friend, a loved one, she was able to shed the brace and let go.
I felt as if I was watching the scenario that plays out in our bed almost every night. For, it’s every night that my brace starts to give out and my resolve to be strong is no longer there. It’s when my mind loses its guard and I’m no longer able to stop the images and thoughts and the deep longing for our son from flooding my entire being.
Today, that moment came much earlier. My strength started to weaken on the train ride home. There was a family with a cute little girl and a stroller. And it made me remember that before I made cremation plans for Leo, just a few weeks ago we were giddy with excitement at the Baby store testing out strollers. Then, everything just made me want to cry. Everything. I haven’t been able to shake it since then.
And then tonight at 11:11 pm, I said what I usually say … “Make a wish! It’s 11:11” — and then I remember that on my birthday, just two days before we learned of Leo’s fate, I had wished the hardest I had ever wished on the candle of my dessert; please protect Leo. Please let him be healthy. Please let him be born. Please let him be OK. Please let the tests be wrong. Please, just get us through this, just let it all be OK.
And I blew out my candle.
And my wish didn’t come true.