Can't Bear to Give Up

I do not know the exact day I lost them.

abstract watercolor illustration of a notebook with a pen on a table
Image created via Midjourney

I do not know the exact day I lost them.  I think of the day that we found out that there was no heartbeat as "the day that we lost her but that is not true.  I do not know the exact day that their hearts stopped beating.

September 3rd, 2015.  The day that I found out that Nelle's heart was no longer beating, at 21 weeks, 1 day of pregnancy.  Labor was 26 hours, so she was born on September 4th. Labor Day weekend.  The irony does not escape me.  

I thought of September 2nd as "the last day that I was happy" but that's not true either.  I have had happy days since then.  The last day Before I Knew what Grief Was.

Late last night I was so overcome with grief that I was nauseous.  I choked on my own air.  I was shaking.  I took the hottest of hot baths to try to calm myself.  I pulled out the journal that my therapist gave me and looked at the first entry:

16 September 2015.  It has been 9 days and 19 minutes since I gave birth to Nelle.

Now it has been 364 days.  Tomorrow will be 365.  I also looked at one of the last entries in the journal:

18 February 2016 (four days after Iris was born).  I am paralyzed by fear.  I feel like I am under a constant attack of anxiety.  As I look to the future, I wonder.  And I'm scared.

I did not stop writing on that day, but I started writing more openly, sharing my grief with others.

September 3rd and 4th will pass unnoticed by most people, as I gasp and sob, but still have to get through the day.  On these days last year, I was in the hospital. There was nothing except the hospital and delivery.  

Now, going forward, I have to function on these days.  On my daughter's birthday, there is no celebration and it is an ordinary day.

I have been watching it slowly approach and cannot predict the reaction that may strike me further as I start to read my "On this Day" content in the upcoming weeks and months.  I will see my own writing.  I will see my own pain and grieving again.  

I do not know if it will stifle me too much and I will avoid it, or if I will look back at those moments, thinking "Those are the only memories I have.  My own writing, and the way people surrounded me."

I cannot bear to give up what I have written about my girls.  On my phone, I have their obituaries, typed into the Notes section, a mere day or two after they were born.  I had to send the obituaries to a funeral home.  

How do you honor someone that you have never met?  The notes are still there, surrounded by all of the mundane things I wrote both before and after.  They sit side by side.  There is nothing in between.

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