I found myself today reliving a lot of my time spent with Rachel. It all started when Sam pushed the button on his Little People toy and it started playing "Away in a Manger". I caught myself sitting on the couch staring at the wall thinking about her birthday and when I had to let her go. The moments after the funeral home left with her were as bad as I had imagined. Those days were so hard.
I guess what I discovered today was that I don't think I've ever had a pain so deep that I couldn't do anything about. I've had pain related to my addiction, but I ultimately could have changed that. I've had pain related to relationships,but I could work at it or I could walk away. I've had pain in my walk with God, but usually because I was going the wrong way and once I turned back, things got better. I've almost always had choices in my pain. With this, I've had no choice. There is nothing I can do to change it. Nothing I can do with make it hurt less.
I was looking at my tattoo of Rachel's handprint and started thinking about when I got it. I never told you guys this, but I got another big one on my back 2 weeks later. That one has the same words that will be on her headstone. I'm going to sound a little crazy here, but for a moment I understood why people cut themselves. I never understood it, it made no sense... but when I was getting my tattoos, I all of a sudden got it. It was the only pain I had any control over. And the pain was preferable to what was happening in my heart.
The sad reality is that even now, almost 4 months later, nothing I do really takes the pain away. I have fresh flowers in my house every day in Rachel's honor, I'm building her a memorial playground, I tell everyone about her with a smile on my face and let her light shine even still, I keep busy with my other 3 kids and all their activities, I'm having another baby (there, I said it!), I work hard to nurture Rachel at her grave, I'm trying to organize an anencephaly awareness walk, I blog and read blogs... My heart still hurts. I can't do anything to change that...and I don't really believe that time does either. I know as time goes on, I will learn how to live my new life, but the reality of my new life will always hurt. It's not like I'm talking that 10 years from now I'll be sitting around crying - I hardly do that now... that is not what I mean when I say hurt.
When I say hurt, I'm talking about the way my stomach turns and I choke back tears when someone unintentionally makes a brain joke. When I say hurt, I'm talking about the battle I have in my own mind when I mention Rachel and someone changes the subject because she's not a comfortable topic for them. I'm talking about the deep sigh that comes out when someone says "you have 3 kids" to me. When I say hurt, I mean that feeling in my chest like someone dropped a brick on it, that is almost always followed by a strange feeling in my throat and a sting in my eyes. The pain of losing a child. My child. It occurs at the most unexpected moments and can stop me in my tracks. It takes no specific route. It gives no warning. There is nothing I can do right or wrong to change it's course. I just have to keep going,
And so I do.