I wake up from another night of restless sleep and nightmares.
I’m clammy from all the cold sweats I have each night. Pregnancy hormones balancing my doctor says, nothing to worry much about.
I roll over and see my husband reading a text message. I ask, “Who is it?”
He doesn’t answer right away. He murmurs, “It’s the funeral home, the girls are ready for pick up.”
I pause, not knowing what to say. It’s not that I didn’t remember us having our girls cremated; it’s more like I pushed it out of my mind. Pushed into the farthest corner of my consciousness.
Only reality now came crashing back into me. I manage to say, “Let me go with you to pick them up.”
He refuses. He says, “I don’t want you to get sick, I’m fine really. I can go alone. You should stay home.”
I feel the guilt pawing at me. A part of me is relieved that he isn’t insisting I go with him, another part is berating me for my selfishness, for my cowardliness. So I reach over and wrap my arms around him. I know it’s difficult for him. I know his strength stems from his desire to protect me, to keep me from suffering more. I feel weak. I want to tell him not to go without me. I want to be strong again for him. I wish I was ME again.
I don’t say anything. I watch silently as he gets dressed. I watch through grey guilt ridden lenses as he pulls on his pants, and throws on a random t-shirt he finds on a chair.
I feel him kiss me and tell me, “I’ll be back soon, eat breakfast and don’t think too much, ok?”
I don’t know if I respond. The guilt is suffocating. I think I nod my head as he walks out the door. I am afraid that my weakness will be the unraveling of him. I am always afraid now. I used to be so brave, at least I remember being brave. Now my reflection shows someone who is afraid of her own shadow, a chicken-shit worthless human being.
I force myself to sit down and eat my breakfast. Ed texts and calls me:
“Are you ok?”
“Did you eat?”
“Don’t be sad, Keep busy, remember I love you so much, ok”
“Miss you, Really not used to being away from you”
I miss him too. When he isn’t around I feel like the best part of me is gone, really the only part of me that’s left is gone. I don’t tell him this. I just tell him, “Ok, I promise. Love you. Be careful.”
I get up, walk over to the girl’s temporary altar and set up some fruit for them. I feel like I’m on autopilot as I take out the trinkets from the hospital: little pillows with their footprints, a mold of their feet, and pieces of paper with their measurement and weight.
I’m sitting and waiting for Ed to come home with our girls. I don’t want to believe that this is real, but there is no way to deny it. He’s not picking them up from their first day at school, or a playdate. He’s picking up their urns from a funeral home. Without any distractions, slowly this realization is becoming more clear, more real. Rage and sadness fill me as I feel fury over how unfair this is.
Forever in our hearts – my 2 little monkey babies – Zoey + Riley