Normally my favorite part of FB is checking out my “on this day” posts. I adore looking at photos of J and C when they were little, reading about what ridiculous things they said or did, catching up on what the Army had in store for us. But for the next few months I’m dreading them. Seeing all of my blogs about how damn hard it all was. Months of being in a fog, not knowing (or caring) what was going on. Feeling like Zoe’s death was unsurvivable. Barely functioning. The numbness. The pain.
I know I should go back and revel in how far I’ve come. That life went on and I survived it. But that goes completely against my avoidance personality. I don’t like to think about my feelings and I especially don’t like talking about them. (Not to be confused with talking about Zoe. That I have no problem with…in fact I love to talk about her. As long as it doesn’t lead to how I am/was feeling.)
Here’s a specific example for you. Jeff called this morning bright and early, which he never does. Did I know the reason for this odd change in routine? You betcha. Did I acknowledge it? Of course not. That wades into dangerous territory for me. Do I feel guilty that I can’t talk about it? That he may want—may NEED—to talk about it? Absolutely. But does that change anything? Nope. Even reflecting on the last two years in this blog was hard enough today. I forced myself because I know that I shouldn’t be in COMPLETE denial about it all. That the tears I will eventually force out of me by the end of this entry are healthy and a necessity. Not a weakness.
There’s so much that I don’t remember. That I don’t WANT to remember. I like to think about the days sitting by the incubator, my hand barely grazing her arm, talking to her for hours. Telling her stories from my childhood, how Jeff and I met, the day we got married, her siblings (both human and four legged); every detail about our lives that I could think of. Telling her the things I was most excited for her to experience in her life—losing a tooth, first days of school, new homes and friends, first date, her wedding, etc. Reading “Baby Bear Baby Bear What Do You See?” a trillion times. Singing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. Getting to hold her that one time in the first hospital. Releasing the butterflies at her memorial. Planting a tree with her ashes. I want to skim through my blogs and remember all the good details that I’ve forgotten. But it’s impossible to do that without remembering all of the awful things. How we thought she was going to get better. How it felt to make that final decision. The mind-numbing grief that seemed never ending. The absolutely heart wrenching, punched-in-the-gut pain of seeing a baby in public those first few months. I don’t want the memories like that to resurface. The ones I do remember are enough.
On Zoe’s birthday Jordan asked me why we don’t do anything on the day she died. I told her because unlike Zoe’s birthday, her death day isn’t a time for celebration. It’s a time for reflection. To be thankful that anything can be overcome given time. Not totally, but enough to survive. To acknowledge how you’ve changed and will never be the same person again. I’m not a better or worse person—just different.
But mostly it’s a day to be thankful for everything we have. The health of myself, husband and remaining children. Love. Happiness. Life isn’t perfect—far from it—but that’s what makes us appreciate the parts of it that are just right. No matter what, I’m thankful for every moment of every day. Thanks Zoe Bear. Love you forever and always.