Sunday, July 20, 2014

So I have this scar…

It is at the base of my left leg, down near my ankle, right in the front of my leg. It is raised and red. It looks like a bug bite that hardened, and stayed put rather than fading away.

This scar came around at the same time I lost my daughter two years ago. Inside me, her placenta was clotting. Her cord was twisting. The Wharton’s jelly around her cord was melting away. The blood vessels that made up her web of life support were clumping together and they weren’t getting her any of the things she needed: oxygen, nutrients, blood, the juice of life itself.

While this was happening inside me, the scar was forming on the outside. A scratch from nowhere grew a thick, fibrous cover and refused to heal. It remained inflamed. It stayed a big bump. I have had two caesarian sections and my abdominal scar is not as raised or hard as this bump on my lower leg/upper ankle. As we went through ultrasound after ultrasound trying to learn why our dear girl was not growing as she should, this scar got more and more apparent, harder and harder.

Nearly two years later, it is still present. I sit and contemplate a midsummer evening, my feet up in front of me.  I stare at it, my constant companion since my daughter’s death, my reminder that my body was not OK, was not functioning as it should. I have no proof that this scar and my daughter’s death are connected, but I cannot let go of the notion.  Every time I see it, run my fingers over it, I am reminded of my body’s failure. Of how it failed her.

In 30 days we celebrate (?) Chiara’s stillbirthday. 30 days of remembering that terrible time two years ago, all the fear and anguish of the bad news piling up around us. This weekend, I had my toes painted pink to start this month off. Pink for my girl. Tonight the sky is pink, too. Already darker than just a few weeks ago at this time. It’s the thick of summer, but my heart is heavy. Strange to grieve at this time when the world is so lush with life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sobbing on the Plane

Since you left I’ve become a public crier. The first months after you died I walked every morning in the dark, in snow, in rain, whatever. I walked as fast as I could and sobbed and I listened to music. I walked through my neighborhood and on trails near my house. I cried out. I was not quiet. I cried in the car, on the way to work, sitting in the parking lot at work, at the gym, in my office, with the door closed, on my way to my car each night with sunglasses on, at the grocery store, in airports and on planes, and pretty much anywhere. I would talk to myself, talk to you. I really did not care who saw me or what they thought. 

This has continued. 22 months later, I walk a different neighborhood, I drive a different car, planes take me to different places, and still I cry. Not so much as in the beginning, but still with force and consistency. At this moment I am sitting in the back of a plane, in the very last row of the plane. I am the only one in the row. I am thinking of you and I am overcome. I am sobbing on the plane. I do not care who can see me. The jets drown out my noise. The flight attendant offering beverages gives me extra napkins to wipe my tears. She makes a sympathetic face. I am grateful. I am still crying, but I am grateful. Grateful for the napkins, for her kindness, for the empty seats beside me, for the loud jet engines, for the memories of you.