Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I've Been Here Before
Remember how I mentioned I was about to retire to my room and make of list of what I want to be? Well I did. Maybe more on that later. What I wanted to share was the gift I found in the making of the list. I grabbed a blank journal I noticed on top of the refrigerator (perfect place) to sit in bed and write in, and found a few unblank pages. I know I've said again and again that my grief for Charlotte is so different than my grief for Lily. At least that is what I remember. (And we know how reliable my memory has been...)
But I found this I must have written one night in bed three months after Charlotte died, and it is so familiar. So what I am feeling now. What a relief...kind of...to know I've been here before and survived:
It's memories of her Lasts that grab me by the throat at night. The Wednesday evening her saturations began to slip down, one number lower, now another, while her respirations crept up. The night in the ICU the nurse and I bathed her and she stared at a light up aquarium while I washed her back and this thought arrived--This is the Last. This is her last bath. I put Mickey Mouse socks on her after washing her swollen feet. These will be her last socks. A week earlier she had worn funny black socks with red flames on them to her preschool Valentine's Day party--her last school day. Her Last bus ride.
The day after her last bath I took pictures of her, a bipap mask pressed harshly against her face and tired eyes gazing back at me. I posted it online, along with snap of myself, puffy, tear stained, with the caption "This is what "Spent" looks like". Shortly afterwards they drugged Charlotte to make her mask bearable, and she did not wake up again. The Last.
And Finally--The Last Night. I guess it makes sense that the last night comes again and again--at night when I can't sleep as I couldn't that night. First because my mind was racing in the dark, seeing her birthday again and again, seeing her hands, her hair, and then because I was perched in a rocking chair at her bedside staring as her lungs became stiff, stopped moving, her blood filling with acid.
Seeing the pile of clothes I had bought a few weeks earlier--82 dollars of sweet toddler clothes, size 3T. Even as something told me not to, I bought them, defiant, because shopping is proof. "She will need these clothes" I told the little voice. "See? I just spent 82 dollars on them."
3 Months. A quarter year. A season. A trimester. The protective walls are coming down. "Hold my heart!" I whispered to Charlotte just before they closed the casket, and the crushing I anticipated when the lid was shut did not come.
And yet, it is coming now. Does she have better things to do now? A fading season of blessed, ignorant comfort. This grieving is easy! She is so close!
The casket is finally shut.
I miss both my girls. How unfair that the sweet memories aren't nearly so vivid.