The Beginning of Grief

*There's a photo of our stillborn baby in this post.  If you don't want to see her, go away.*

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of 'parties' with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Yesterday we received the professional photos taken of us and Eve at the hospital.  I have been looking forward to viewing this photos since we arrived home, without her.  I couldn't wait to see her again.

But yesterday when I finally got to look at the photos, it was not a happy occasion.  It was horrible.

I think I expected too much from these photos.  Maybe I thought I was going to get to experience Eve again.  Maybe some part of me even thought that, if I could just look at the photos, she wouldn't really be dead.

But I looked, and she is dead.

Looking at the photos is not the same as looking at her.

Even more horrible: I can't remember what our daughter looked like.  I couldn't remember her face even the day after we left the hospital.  I could only remember features -- her mouth, her nose, the curling of her ears, her longer fingers, the smoothness of her cheeks, the softness of her forehead, her curly dark hair.  But I could not get these features, precious memories though they are, to resolve into her face.

So now, when I look at the photos, I am not sure if I am even looking at her.  I can't remember.  My memory has failed already.  My body failed, a living death chamber, and now my mind is following.

That's what it feels like anyway.

But I am grateful for the photos.  I am so glad that we have them.  I look at them and see my love for our daughter, our firstborn, and I see the love between myself and my husband.  I see the pain of her death.  I feel the amputation, the miracle, the sorrow of it all.

Today I feel, at last, that she is dead.  She is not coming back, not ever.  I will never hold her, smell her, cry over her body, smooth the worry lines from her face.  Never again.  It is over.

I feel destroyed.

Baby Girl November 20, 2011-12

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