The past few days, my husband and I were in Nashville, Tennessee for a Boy Scouts of America conference. My husband works for this organization as a Field Director. The conference was fantastic, but coming home brought something I was not prepared for.
At the conference, there were no Emily memories. Yes, I told a few people about her and there were those who already knew, but in a sea of 4000 people, the death of a child isn’t something that readily comes up. We’ve also taken to simply telling people this child I am carrying is our 6th. Only if the person really begins to dig, do we divulge more information. So, beyond the incredulous looks we got when we told people this was our 6th NOT our 1st, there was very little there to remind me of Emily. We had never been to Nashville with Emily and during the conference there was very little time to even think about life at home because they had us running here and there from sun up to sun down. I carried her pictures with me nearly everywhere I went, but grief did not have its grip on me.
However, as we rounded the corner toward home, I began to feel the memories. At first, they were memories of the hospital stays and surgeries when I would come home late at night to take a bath and grab clothes for the next few days. She was alive and I had no real fears of her dying. I don’t ever remember fearing death during all those weeks. These memories are precious to me, but very hard because I long for those days again. Those days when it was just her daddy and I standing over her day in and day out, smoothing her hair behind her ears, changing the dressing on her central line, loving on her.
As I walked into the house, the two oldest children raced to greet me and amongst all the hellos and goodbyes to my mother who had stayed with them, my grief was allayed. However, as I walked into my bedroom to lay down for some much needed rest, I saw Emily’s sketch, the trunk with her clothes and things in it, and the empty bassinet propped against the wall. These were memories of what was no longer. No baby to nurse to sleep, no little open-mouthed kisses to greet me. Tears melted into sleep.
Today, as I tried to recover from the exhaustion and nausea brought on by the fast food we ate on the trip home, I found myself fighting the barage of memories over and over again. This time they were of her death. It is nearly impossible for me to stop the memories of the night before and the morning of her death. It plays and plays until I break.
But, what I have noticed is that my moments of utter dispair are rather short in comparison to what they once were. A few minutes and I am able to get up and move forward again. I am grateful for this.
I missed my children so much and was so happy to see them, but amid the joyful reunion was a sadness. Another child I miss is not in this home. She did not run to greet me. She did not smile up at me and ask about my trip. She did not wrap her little arms about my leg and jump up and down. She does not live here.
However, some day I will truly come home and no grief will be waiting for me there. What a day that will be!