Yesterday was the one month mark--one month since Jared and I lost our baby boy. And my goodness, this has been the longest thirty days of my life. I honestly feel like I've aged about twenty-five years since September 22nd.
It's really no good--I feel a hell of a lot older, but I'm still really, really far away from retirement.
You know me, I won't lie. I won't make things seem rosier than they actually are, and I won't pretend to have a perfect take on life. But you know what? Yesterday wasn't all that bad.
When I came home from work, there was a huge, green cardboard box sitting on my front steps. It was taped-up every which-way, scribbled with permanent marker, and quite obviously came from someone's home--certainly not a business.
I curiously approached the box, which was addressed to me, and noticed a return-address from the Midwest. "Who lives in Illinois" I asked myself? "I swear I don't know anyone named Brenda from Illinois."
I clumsily picked up the box, which was surprisingly light for it's bulky size, and walked it to my kitchen table. As I cautiously slit the tape with my sewing scissors, I continued to wonder, "Who in the crap could this big old box be from?" (I've never claimed to have eloquent thoughts)
When I folded back the cardboard cover and peeked inside, I gasped, instinctively covered my mouth with my left hand, and felt a stream of tears begin to run down my face. I pulled a clear plastic bag out of the box and carefully removed the contents, laying them across my kitchen table and stroking them with my tear-stained cheek again and again.
Two months ago, when I still had my heart set on becoming a mother again, I ordered a beautiful set of custom-made cushions for my rocking chair. They were a cream color with red accents--perfectly appropriate for a boy or a girl--and I made sure to order the extra-high-quality foam stuffing. Sure, it was a thirty-dollar upgrade, but I planned on rocking this baby a lot. And besides, Jared never needed to know just how much I spent.
The cushions were absolutely beautiful--much brighter and cushier than I had anticipated.
I carefully picked them up from the table, and cradled them in my arms as though they were the baby I've been aching for. I carried them to our basement playroom, and tied them onto my naked rocking chair. I stepped back to take a look, and couldn't fight the soft smile that came across my face. That chair had never looked so pretty.
So pretty, that I instantly gave in to my urge to sit down and glide for a while in the silence. As I rocked back and forth, I wasn't quite sure what to do with my very empty arms. It had been years since I'd been in that chair--and back then I only used it to lull James to sleep. My arms were always more than full with my giant, happy baby boy.
My arms finally settled onto the armrests, and my head leaned against the back. I stared up for a while, confirmed that I still detest our drop ceilings, and helped myself to a vocal prayer.
"Heavenly Father," I mumbled. "I'm just really, really sad. Please make sure he has someone to take care of him and some good friends to play with. Friends are really important."
"Help me to be a good wife and Mom," I continued, "because Jared and James really need me. They really need me now."
And on and on it went.
When I offered my "Amen" and stood up from my chair some time later--I'm honestly not sure if it was minutes or hours--I changed into my cold weather running clothes, tied my shoes extra-tight, and turned my mp3 player to my favorite comedy podcast.
It's strange, but even though the tears were still coming, I was thoroughly cracking up by the time I got to the end of my street. Some guy was telling some story about accidentally buying a pizza shop from a mobster, and I'm not sure why, but his heavy New York accent kept me belly laughing for the next six miles.
When I came home an hour later I picked up my running log, did my best to grasp my cheap Bic pen with my seriously frozen fingers, and scribbled the following entry:
Hill work-out. Did the long, steep Main Street hill 4x and yelled curse words every time I got to the top. Had my headphones in, so I was probably yelling louder than I should have. A cop stopped to ask me if everything was okay when I was cooling down, and I told him I was fine--but that hill's one hell of a @#$%ing ^&*@!. He liked that. Good work out. Really good workout.
All in all, it wasn't too bad of a day--a whole lot better than I was expecting.
And may God bless anyone who's dealing with the loss of someone special.
(Photo by Ken Schafer on Flickr)