It’s been quite a week. We had a friend come into town over the weekend and he left on Wednesday. So we figured Tuesday would be a good day to go down to Houston and enjoy the day. In theory, it was a good idea. For me especially, it turned out to be a bad one.
For whatever reason the day brought into sharp relief our loss, so much so that I couldn’t think of anything else. We started off with lunch at PF Changs (love love love that place!) and then continued south to hit IKEA. Normally shopping at IKEA just makes me happy, but that particular day all I could think about was that the last time I was there, we were pregnant and planning for a future that is no more. The kids section and the cribs just made me cry. And while we bought a few things, none of it made me feel any better. I just felt numb.
Then we went to Houston’s Galleria mall. Ugh. I was pregnant the last time we went there, too. We had gone there with Allison and Mark and their kids back around Christmas. I just kept getting hit over and over again with the weight of losing our little girl. I could barely breathe, let alone think. Tears kept coming, and I found myself wishing to be pregnant again. Me, the person who hated being pregnant! I vowed multiple times over my pregnancy that it would be the last time. But on Tuesday I wasn’t so sure any more. I do have an appointment with my doctor so we can talk about my options. And this morning I found myself thinking that maybe if I start now with a careful diet and exercise program, I can find ways of keeping my blood pressure in check.
The truth is that I want to find a way to control all of this stuff that is so uncontrollable in our lives. I can’t replace Samantha, no matter how much I might want to. No child will ever take her place in our hearts. I look into the infant room and I want so badly to just go in and hold one of the babies, but I can’t bring myself to do it yet. I’ve begun to realize why it is that some women go off the deep end and try to steal someone else’s child. Don’t worry, I’m not that kind of person. But I can see how a sorrow like mine, left unchecked, could lead to such an act of desperation. Thanks be to God that my mental state has not been shattered by this, though at times I’ve thought that losing another child would send me off the deep end.
And yet there are still times that I feel like I’m going crazy. Like at the mall on Tuesday, where I see a picture of a baby nestled in a knit pea pod and I want to have my own child so badly that it hurts to even keep standing. Sitting in the back of our car, I’m profoundly aware that I am not wedged up against a car seat. How on earth is it possible to miss someone so much when I only knew her for four months? I keep thinking of a quote from a favorite movie of mine, Where the Heart Is: “How can you love someone so much you just met?” The main character says this when her daughter is handed to her shortly after she is born. But that line came to me many times during Samantha’s brief life.
I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever be able to watch Love Actually again. We were watching it the last afternoon that we spent with her. But then again, the movie is ultimately about love, and that is something that Samantha taught me how to do better than anyone else ever has. I loved her not because of something she did for me or how she made me feel or anything else. It was this unconditional love. I know that a parent’s love is never perfect, and I don’t claim my love for her to be perfect. But it was as close to it as I’ve ever been in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. I strive to love him as unconditionally as I can. But let’s face it, your spouse can drive you crazy sometimes. I’m sure when your kids grow up they can, too. Maybe that is the one gift I get to carry out of this crazy grief, is holding onto a love that cannot be messed up by human junk that always seems to get in the way of our relationships.
Of course, when I think about it, Samantha could drive me crazy too. It’s grief that blinds me to the times I didn’t want to get up with her, either to feed her or get her to go back to sleep, before she got sick and even after. Breastfeeding was painful at times. Thankfully it’s the memories of love that stick with us the most.
The best thing for me is having my husband who has more or less been a rock for me through this. Losing Jonah nearly shattered him. It was hard for us to comfort each other because our grief was so separating. But losing Samantha has drawn us closer together. Losing her has been a million times harder for me, and if I didn’t have Travis to lean on it probably would break me.
I’m still trying to lean on God through this. Most of the time I don’t know what to say to Him. So many questions fill my head that just don’t have answers, and I keep coming back to love. God loves me, He loves my children, He loves us all. And that’s got to be enough right now.