What Life Is

These past few days have been hard.

Reminders of what I have lost are everywhere.  Little girls with dark curly hair, pregnant women, families delighting in their children -- all of these things bring not only a fresh assault of grief, but also visceral physical pain.  I feel like I am being knifed in the gut.  My mouth flaps like a landed fish, lungs aching for air.  I cannot breathe deeply enough.

My throat is always raw, my eyes always aching.  There is no end to the tears.  Even when I am falling on my Father as I should, I cry and cry and cry.  Even when I take comfort in the fact that He understands better than anyone, that He was babylost, too -- even as I run to Him, I know that the pain will not leave.

Not that I want it to.

Everyday I feel like I am shrinking.  I feel lonely, yet fall prey to anxiety when I spend time with others.  I wonder what my place in this world is.  When I was pregnant, I felt like I had become a woman at last.  Now I am a mother, but I gave birth only to death.  Am I still a woman?  Where do I fit in between the new moms and older moms and singles and young couples and grandparents?  There is not space for people like me.

And then along comes the shame.  I see, everywhere, women who are carrying their sons and daughters within them, sons and daughters that will most likely be born and live and grow old before they die.  These women, they remind me of my failure.  Although I know that Eve's death was not my fault, even though I have been reassured again and again and again that there was no cause for her death, nothing that I or anyone could have done to save her -- although I know these things, I feel shame.  My body did not work.  I am a mother who is mother only to the dead.

Sometimes I feel that the people around me who know ours story wonder what I did wrong.  Wonder if I killed my daughter.

I know that I can't help what people might think, might wonder.  But it hurts.  Because how could they not wonder?  It's too senseless of a thing to believe.

And yet it's the truth -- my daughter died, and we don't know why, no one can tell us why.  She was born perfect, but she was born dead. I want to know why, but I can't know why.  There is no answer that anyone but God can give, and He's not saying.

And so, there is the shame.  I can fight it off most days, most nights.  But not today.

Last night I dreamed of the moment my husband showed my daughter's body to me.  Again and again I relived it, the moment when I first knew that this horror was forever.  When I saw her bonnet covered head nestled too still, too quietly, in the crook of her father's elbow.  I dreamed of this moment last night, over and over and over.

I awoke bathed in her death.  I cannot stop reliving it.

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