Sometimes, I Talk to Her
I talked to her tonight. My sweet little baby girl, who was taken too soon last May. After my son, Ricky, fell asleep on the couch and I tucked him in, I ran to the grocery store while my husband waited at home.
As I was driving, I heard something jingling in my purse. It wasn’t a sound I normally hear. And, as with most things out of the ordinary – a unique butterfly, particularly beautiful day or pretty little noise that seems to come out of the blue, it makes me think of her. Like she’s there, next to me, totally aware of what’s going on in our world.
I told her that I love her – more than the moon and the stars – the same thing I tell my little guy when I put him to bed at night. The jingle sounded again, “I know. I’ve been a little hormonal today. You’re right.”
Another jingle. “I love you too. So much.” And then I was there – at the grocery store.
I walked in, picked up something sweet, and started driving home. No more jingling. She was gone.
Losing a baby makes you feel a little crazy sometimes. And while it gets easier to hide your pain, or that everything still affects you, it’s still there. It comes out more in the quiet moments of life. Or maybe she just reaches me better when it’s quiet. I guess I don’t really know.
For most people, especially those who haven’t been through this, I probably sound like a crazy person. If someone would’ve told me five years ago that they talked to their lost child while driving to the grocery store, I probably would’ve they were crazy. But to me, these things are very real. And I really believe that it’s her, just showing me that she’s there.
And now, we’re pregnant again. Due in April with baby number three. And while we are so elated to be having another baby, I can’t help but feel like it’s this different kind of elation – a more cautious optimism than anything else.
As much as I try to make things normal – take this like I would any other pregnancy had we not lost her – we all know that’s impossible. The constant fear that the pregnancy won’t carry to term, that there won’t be a living, breathing child at the end of this road, it’s enough to really make me feel like I’m losing it some days.
So instead of sitting around, counting down the hours until I can mark off ‘another day pregnant,’ I do everything in my power to stay busy. I work every day until I can’t look at the computer anymore. I find new toddler activities and things to do and forts to build to keep my toddler entertained from morning til night. I try to be crafty. I even picked up knitting, which is pretty amazing for keeping my mind busy.
The grief – well, it’s not as easy to control as the anxiety. The funny thing about grief, even months upon months later, is that it comes out in strange places based on triggers I can’t predict. So I’ve learned to roll with it, the best I can.
Part of rolling with it means wrapping it up into my life. Hearing something jingle in my purse reminds me to tell her that I love her. Seeing the same little butterfly in my garden all summer makes me feel like she stopped by to say she’s there.
And I think that’s just part of this life after losing a baby – positive or negative, you grieve how it’s right for you. You move on in a way that’s right for your family. Moving forward doesn’t mean completely forgetting the past. To me, ‘moving on’ is more about holding her forever in my heart – because I don’t think it’s something I can ever get past.
Cortney Galster owns The Mommyhood Project, where she blogs about life with her husband and two year old son, losing her daughter to stillbirth and being pregnant for the third time around.