Monday, August 31, 2015
The days, weeks and months following the death of James and Penelope are a blur in my mind. I remember little flashes of time. Still images of our suddenly broken family. I look back at pictures and gleam little pieces of what was going one. I remember puffy eyes, headaches, dying flowers in vases, visitors, sympathy cards in the mailbox, laying on the couch watching Trailer Park Boys, a busy and cheerful toddler running around and a feeling of emptiness. I remember a strong pull to run away from everything. Some pictures that I look back at I am flooded with strong memories. Everything comes rushing back.
About a week after the twins were born I felt a pull to get away. I woke up that morning and I just needed to go somewhere. My breasts were engorged and lumpy from my milk coming in for the babies that I never got to nurse. My belly was soft and empty. My head hurt and my eyes were practically swollen shut from crying. Our stale closed up house was feeling like a prison. I wanted to be somewhere where nobody knew me. Where I could be a Mom, a wife, a regular person. Not a bereaved mother. I came downstairs and announced to Micah that we were going to the beach. We grabbed a few beach towels and got in the car. We stopped at CVS on the way to get a shovel and bucket for Gwenenvere to play with.
Once we got there I felt foolish for not planning ahead. I looked around at all of the other families with their beach umbrellas, coolers and kids running around in bathing suits. We brought a bucket, shovel and two towels. Gwenevere was 21 months old and instantly drawn to the shore. She had on an adorable little ice cream outfit on that was a gift from my Mom. Initially we tried to keep her out of the water. But eventually the toddler won and she played in the lake in her clothes. I rolled up my pants and got in the water knee deep with her. We ate ice cream, walked up and down the beach and drew pictures in the sand. We took several pictures of our day in our best attempt at being a normal family.
The pictures from our beach day are the first pictures we took after we left the hospital. I look at them now and I see so much. I see a mother that has just given birth to babies that died. I see a father trying so hard to keep it together for his wife and child. I see a carefree toddler that doesn't understand why her parents keep crying. I see a family that is holding on for dear life. I see hope that the future will be better. Hope that the intense pain will lessen. This picture of Gwenevere and me is special to me. It is a picture of a big sister and a mother of three. My tired eyes behind my sunglasses, my necklace with two gold rings given to me by the hospital. My sweet daughter just wanting to play. My physically tired and sore body from giving birth a week ago. Me, trying to take a momentary break from grieving to have a picture with my child. Micah behind the camera, being an incredibly supportive husband and father. Through those blurry days, weeks and months following our loss this day stands out. It was our family's first steps towards healing. While it was an attempt for me to try to escape my grief, it served as a much needed break and the beginning of a long journey that still continues.