I will never forget the day we walked out of the hospital after Winnie died. Everyone was going about their usual business; catching the bus to go home from work, out for a run, a bike ride. Even the sky looked, well, normal. Despite its normalcy, I remember it so clear. It seemed to almost hover over us as if presenting us with our new reality. The reality that we were not bringing a baby home with us. The reality that we would forever have this hole deep in our thughts.
My husband and I had just put an end to a long and emotional five days of utmost presence. Never before had either of us experienced such deep love for a person knowing that we would lose her at any moment. Presence in every minute was all we had. (This is really all any of us have though we don't think about it) What's funny is that somehow we believed the rest of the world had been put on hold too. Walking out of that hospital that day we were stunned, almost sickened, by the fact that the world had keep turning while we grasped the first and last moments of our daughters life. Everything as usual. Everyone around us seemed to have had a pretty "normal" day. And I have to admit, I was quite resentful of them. And in a lot of ways, I still am.
Even today, nearly nine months after Winnie's death, I still cringe at the fact that the rest of the world just keeps turning. Like, no big deal. Life is just normal.
As ridiculous and selfish as it sounds; it's as if I somehow wish everyone else could put a pause on their lives too. But they don't. And they shouldn't. It is just the real struggle of all of this; acceptance. Accepting this struggle as mine. Accepting that all the healthy pregnancies that have happened around me in the past year, have not happened to me. Accepting that life has given my family some brutal and very real lessons, while others have been, well, normal.
Normal. I don't have any idea what normalcy is anymore. I know for one, if you were to compare our house and family to the rest of the families we know we would not be called "normal." (But who's comparing.....)
In Buddhism, it is the idea that we are all connected that gives us strength in times of suffering. In this interconnectedness, we share our suffering. This is the only aspect of Buddhism I have trouble really grasping. We support each other, yes. But ultimately we each go back to our own homes, our own struggles.
A year ago I had no idea what it felt like to lose a child nor to have a miscarriage. Now, I know them both (thank you life). A year ago I could not connect with others who had experienced this kind of loss. Not only did I not know the grief that it came with losing a child (at any stage of fetal development) but also the resentment, the envy, the extreme longing for another child of my own. I now yearn for that connectedness that Buddhism describes, for this loneliness to reside and a door to open out from this world of mine.