It has been a really long time since I’ve written and with good reason. My baby girl is a little over 5 weeks old and I have just been too busy to write. She has been doing this really fun thing called not sleeping at night, which makes doing anything during the day nearly impossible. I don’t mean she’s not sleeping through the night, I mean she’s up for 4 hours at a time during the night, usually from 2-6, and it’s made having a normal life very difficult to have. It’s also made me a form of exhausted I didn’t think existed. I do not, however, regret her coming out and I do not wish to be pregnant again AT ALL. I am SO HAPPY to not be pregnant anymore, I can’t even begin to tell you. I have accepted that I am just not a person that enjoys being pregnant. 9 months is just way too long for me, so I am more than thrilled that she is here with me outside of my body.
Things have been easier and more difficult than I thought they would be, depending on the moment. There are days I’m so preoccupied that I don’t dwell on the fact that my mother is gone. And then there are days that it’s all I can think about and it hovers over me like a rain cloud, so I let myself drown in it. There was a night a week ago that the baby was up literally for 5 hours, and I let myself cry for all 5 of those hours. Sometimes things happen during the day and I’ll think, “This wouldn’t be happening if my mother were here,” or “If my mom were here I wouldn’t have to do this, I wouldn’t have to worry about this, my mom would do this if she were here.” And it’s then that I have to acknowledge that she’s dead and it’s then that I feel SO alone. The world is asleep and I’m alone with this baby and my mother is dead. And despite what I know I should do, which is stop those thoughts from pulling me under, I willingly dive into the water and let the wave knock me down and I make no efforts to get out of the water and breathe again.
Before Eleanor was born I really struggled with accepting that I was going to have a baby that was never going to know my mother. It didn’t seem like real life, it for sure wasn’t fair, and I hardly ever let myself really entertain that thought because it would send me spiraling. If I could help it, I tried to avoid that at all costs. But I was talking with my sister about it one day after therapy and she said something that at the time made me lose it, but now is comforting and something I hold on to. She said, “I know you think your baby will never know mom, but the truth is that mom has been with this baby the whole time. So really, she knows mom before she knows you, and that’s actually kind of cool, that mom is taking care of your baby before you are.” Even now, with Eleanor asleep next to me, the idea that she was with my mom makes me cry. I hope one day she says something to let me know she was with her in heaven, that somehow she remembers her. Sometimes Eleanor smiles or laughs in her sleep and I hope she’s seeing my mother in her dreams, that’s she’s visiting her as I hold her. The other night when Eleanor wouldn’t fall back asleep and I was trying to pull it together after the 5 hours I spent crying, I just started telling her everything I could think of about my mom. All of the good things about her, the funny stories I could think of that really showed what my mom was like. Eventually Eleanor and I fell asleep, both of us thinking about my mother and smiling instead of crying. I really can’t wait for the time to come when I think about her or talk about her without wanting to cry, without knowing that letting myself cry means that I might not be able to stop for awhile.
One thing that really seems to put me in a bad place mentally is this specific thought: I am 26 years old and even if I somehow manage to meet the same bullshit fate as my mother and die early at 52, I still have 26 years left on this earth. My point is, I still have a considerable amount of time, hopefully, left of my life, and I will spend every second of it without my mother. I will spend every second of every day missing her, looking for her in a crowd of people, my heart and soul longing for her with every ounce of my being. I just cannot wrap my mind around this and it is so overwhelming to me, that I will never in my life not miss her, not wish she was here, that this will never be over. It just makes me so unbelievably sad that it is debilitating to my life. Almost like why bother doing anything in this life if she won’t be here to see it? And don’t get me wrong, there are good and happy things happening in our lives, but they are not as good or as happy as they would be with her here. I wonder if this feeling will ever go away, or if this is just how life is now? For the rest of our lives, we will live every day knowing that things would be better if she was with us.
But she is here and I know she is. She keeps showing us that she is. We find pennies in random places and I know it’s her. We found one at the hospital she passed in, at the Bistro the day of her funeral; in the boxes she packed my sister for her first apartment on her own, at the mall the first time Sara and I went shopping for a girls day without her. When I was in the hospital having Eleanor, the nurses and anesthesiologists had a hard time finding a vein for my IV – like 6 attempts before they found a vein that didn’t blow – and right before the anesthesiologist got the vein, she looked down and said, “Oh look there’s a penny on the floor.” It was right next to my bed and I hadn’t even noticed it. My eyes immediately filled with tears, and it took all of my strength not to come unglued right then and there. Instead I held it together and just said,”Ok mom, I hear you. I know you’re here. Take care of my baby for a little while longer.” One of my best friends had a dream about my mom shortly after Eleanor was born, and she told my mom that we were finding pennies. My mom’s response was, “I just am letting them know I’m always around.”
I hope I find pennies for the rest of my life.