Yesterday, a girl who I went to college with posted a picture on Facebook of her 9 month old twin boys, with the caption, “Happy 9 months old!” She had her babies the day I started labor with Hudson, and I didn’t even realize how close they were to each other until I saw that post. I saw her chubby sweet-faced twins and I got a little choked up because…
I can’t even imagine what Hudson would be like at nine months.
I feel worlds apart from Hudson, worlds apart from the person I was when I went into labor on July 10, worlds apart from where I want to be, and kind of in limbo about the whole thing.
Do I want a baby, or do I want Hudson?
Do I want to be pregnant, or do I want Hudson?
I want desperately for my life to be different, for events nine months ago to have taken place so differently, for our spunky and sweet little lady to be here in the kitchen with me as I write this. I don’t get to have that life.
Writing is great for helping me to put all of this in perspective, but so is reading from time to time. I finally decided to read Harold S. Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I was hesitant to read such a “cliche” grieving book, but after reading about 60% of it, I realize there is a reason this book is so highly recommended to people after a loss. The honesty and logic with which Kushner tackles the business of reconciling belief in God to a world where good people experience so much pain is JUST WHAT I NEED at this point in my journey. I need logic right now, because my emotions are a mess. I need logic right now because I never dreamed we’d be this far from our girl without another baby on the way. I need logic right now because I realize that this world is not fair, and the world is not in the business of handing out miracles, and I need to be okay with that. I need to not take it personally.
But I am so tired. So tired of being saddled with this sadness. I want to carry a torch high for my beautiful daughter, to remember her in ways big and small, to memorialize and celebrate and honor this brilliant, but brief, life. But does doing this mean that all my future happinesses will be bittersweet?
I LOST it in a restaurant last week having lunch with my dear friend, whose daughter was stillborn three years ago. I was talking about this business of being saddled with sadness, carrying a torch for Hudson. She told me that during her pregnancy with her son (who is now a little bit over 1), she noticed little body positions that he would do that were just like the ones they’d see in ultrasounds of their daughter. She told me that her husband, her son and her daughter all had the same eyebrows. She said, “When you have another baby, you’ll see all these similarities, and those can be your torches.”
I burst into tears, this unstoppable force and release of pressure imagining how wonderful our future children will be, how wonderful our daughter was, how inextricably connected I am to my husband because of our children… ugh. Just WHOOSH… tears and a weird, elated laughter at how good that release felt, and how much I needed to hear those words:
“Those can be your torches.”
The further we get from Hudson’s life and death, the harder it is to imagine what life should be like right now. And that’s probably a good thing. I need to be experiencing this life as it is, not as I wish it was.
Something bad happened to us. We are good people. Until time machines (or miracle machines) are invented, there is nothing we can do to change the fact that our daughter – headstrong, funny, gorgeous Hudson Ruth – didn’t live. We can only control how we choose to live this life that we have. And maybe nine months from now we’ll be worlds apart from where we are today… until then, we can only take this life one day at a time, carrying our silent torches for our beautiful baby and missing the world that would have been so beautiful with her in it.