Yesterday I got an answer to my question. Or at least part of an answer. If you read my last post, you'll remember that I've been wondering about how a dead child and a living child can both fit into the same life, especially once the grief begins to abate.
I've now had a taste of what that answer might be. Here's what happened:
Yesterday, I woke up feeling heavy and terribly sad. Not anxious, and certainly not normal, but sad. At first I couldn't figure out why. I thought maybe it was due to lack of sleep, or from waking up late. My mind ran through a host of possibilities before I realized -- I was missing my daughter.
You see, yesterday I turned 30 weeks with our rainbow baby. Eve died at 31 weeks. So this week? It's the crazy-making week. The one I've been dreading since seeing that positive pregnancy test back in February. And even though my conscious mind had forgotten that I turned 30 weeks, when I woke up my emotions and my body were filled with the knowledge of it.
And I was sad. Just sad. It's been a long while since the sadness has not come mixed with anxiety or fear or anger or detachment.
It was refreshing, in its own way, because it was a way to connect with my sweet girl.
It took me a couple of hours to realize what I was feeling and why, but once I did, I gave myself over to it. I got back into bed and cried for a couple more hours. I remembered all that I know of Eve, and imagined what she might have been like if she'd lived. From the way she moved within me, I got the impression that she was a strong-willed, brave, impetuous, sassy, wild girl. I hope that one day, after this life is over, I get to find out if I was right. But for now, it is good to remember and to wonder.
To someone who hasn't known grief, it might seem strange to hear crying in bed for half a morning described as good. I'm sure that there are some people who might be appalled hear that I still do such a thing nine months out from the cold day I birthed my daughter's body. But I did, and I do, and it was very good. And by "good" I mean that it was healthy and it was needed.
More than that, it was a reminder. A reminder that November is coming, and that even with a sweet rainbow boy in my arms that month will still be sad. The one year mark of Eve's death and birth will still be cavernous.
And it was a reminder of something that I already knew -- that having a second child, a living child, does not "fix" my grief. Eve's death is not a problem to be solved. It just is, along with my grief. Novembers will probably always be hard. Seeing glimpses of my girl in her brother will probably always pinch at my heart. And there will always be space enough for her with me.