We found out Anja had died on Thursday January 12th. Today it is Thursday April 12th.
For the first eight or so weeks after losing her I spent every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday reliving her last week: Wednesday, the last full day she was alive; Thursday, the day we learned she was dead; Friday, the day we made shell-shocked arrangements for childcare and induction; Saturday, the day she was born, that we held her and said goodbye. For a few weeks I have had a reprieve from this Wednesday through Saturday pattern, but here it is again and it must be faced.
Three months. In many ways our days and weeks have resumed their normal shape and pace. We had guest after guest after guest following A’s death and are only very recently back to just the three of us. When the last guests left, it seemed as though our formal mourning period was ending; I feel we are expected to have picked up all the pieces, to be able to rewind and restart our lives as a threesome, A’s part written out of the script, a false direction in the story that led nowhere and is cut from the final version. I know that friends and family want the best for us, want us to feel better; I also know they’d like to talk about something other than dead babies for a change.
I am trying to work again. I am so far behind I feel sick with worry about how I will ever catch up. E is in daycare only two days a week now, so I work when she naps, after she’s gone to bed, on weekend afternoons. Between work, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and, mostly, being with E, there is very little time left over to grieve. In some ways, I almost miss the days where grieving was all I could do, where I could not figure out how to start a grocery list or plan a meal. I feel now as though I have to work grieving into my schedule: oh, look, I have a couple of minutes between getting the groceries and picking E up at daycare: I’ll pencil in a good cry.
I do not feel as raw as I did even two weeks ago, but I think I feel more hopeless. I am trying to reconcile myself to the idea that I will not have the family I wanted, that E will be an only child (and, yes, I know I’m very lucky to have her and I am grateful for her every day), that I will always be the woman whose baby died, but that baby will never be as real to anyone else as she was to me.
Three months. April 12th seemed impossible three months ago. Here it is.