Inconstant

Grief is not a constant feeling.  I wish that it was. Instead, in an instant I can switch from this:

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. . . to this:

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It scares me.  The wild swings are disconcerting, but what truly terrifies me are the feelings of normalcy when I know that "normal" is a lie.  I just want to feel sad, and stay sad until healing moves in.  But it's not like that.  Instead, I can live as if I am okay until any one of a thousand daily reminders crashes in upon my amputated heart --

A baby crying at Wal-Mart, making me think that perhaps Eve was crying before she died, screaming in pain, and I didn't hear her.

Driving home at night, reminding me of that drive home from the hospital after being told that Eve was gone, reminding me of those first horrible moments in this new life where babies die. 

Working out, hard, my body feeling too light, and devastatingly empty.

A tiny shred of memory that suddenly blossoms into a near-reliving of the moment the doctor murmured, "I'm so sorry, your baby has died."  A near-reliving of the feeling of  my daughter pushing her way out of me, it seemed, because how could a dead body be moving within mine?  A near-rehearing the clutching silence at the moment of her birth. 

Pregnant women in stores, on the street, everywhere I go. 

A child cradling her dark-skinned baby doll that looks too much like my baby, dark-skinned because she was born too early, born dead.

Dreams in which Eve is alive and not alive in the same moment.  Dreams that she had blue eyes, that she lived outside of me before she died.  Dreams of lies.

The knowledge that this loss will never get better, never be fixed, but that I will only get used to living with a limping heart.

Meeting more and more women who have lost babies, who are losing babies.  Knowing that women are losing their babies right now. 

The knowledge that I am not who I was, and never will be again. 

Grief is not constant.  But loss is everywhere.

Why can't I just live in the loss?  Perhaps then it wouldn't be so painful.  Because I think the most pain is the result of this inconstancy, of coming in and out of the awareness that yes, yes, this impossible thing happened -- my baby, she died within me.

I dwell in two realities which cannot be reconciled, and it hurts.  Why can't I just live in one, the reality where my baby died before she was born?  The other reality, where life goes on and the seasons turn and the earth breathes -- that other place seems too cruel.

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