Yesterday you would have turned 4 months old. You would be smiling at people, holding your head up on your own, putting everything you touch into your mouth and starting to babble. You would start to recognize people and respond to affection. You would be receiving so much love from all the people who wanted you here with us so badly.
It’s hard to believe a third of a year has passed. Soon, it will be fall – well not really in Phoenix, but in some parts of the world – and your dad and I will have gone an entire season without you here. Sometimes it’s still so hard to believe that this is our life now.
I’d been dreaming of you and waiting for you for a very long time. I never imagined I’d be left in this world without you. It feels like it can’t be real, like one day I will wake up and this will all have been a bad dream. It feels like the pain is too big to be real.
They say that time is what heals us. Not the specific us but the universal us.
I keep waiting for that to be true. I try so hard to keep up the appearance of being “okay” (whatever the fuck that means right now), but the truth is being here without you only seems to get harder.
This month has been particularly hard. I’m feeling so much anger, an emotion I’m not used to. At all. My version of angry usually lasts about 10 minutes and then I just end up crying because, in reality, my feelings were just hurt.
This is different.
A lot of it is directed toward our circumstance, the fact that shit like this can even happen. And that it happened to us. But then there is the rest of the world. I watch myself losing it over things I would normally be able to ignore.
I’ve come to realize that not all of the attention we’ve received in your absence has been authentic. At first, hundreds of Facebook “likes” and dozens of comments made me feel less alone, like the world cared what was going on in our family. But I’ve realized that, so much of it is genuine, some of it is not.
I’ve started to feel like a reality TV show. Like one of those dramatic programs you watch, not wanting the person to fall apart, but waiting to find out what comes next. What will the broken mother who lost her baby do next?
This part I understand. I kind of knew this would happen. But what has shaken me to my core is seeing people go from watching what comes next to scrutinizing our every move, questioning our character and making assumptions they have no business making.
It’s as if some people expect you to sit in your house mourning for…I don’t know how long. When is it acceptable for me to go on a trip? To get a tattoo? To try to appear normal?
I’m angry that people would rather watch us be miserable than support us as we attempt to rebuild our lives. I’m angry that some people don’t stop being assholes just because your life falls apart.
And I’m really fucking angry that my dad hasn’t spoken to me since we lost you. But that is a bigger story for another day.
The anger feels overwhelming. Like that quick sand that kills Atreyu in The Neverending Story, sucking me in and taking over until it’s consumed everything that I am.
I know this is a stage of the grieving process and that it will pass. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing in this exact moment if things had turned out differently. If we had brought you home.
I was so ready for my life to change and no longer be about me. I was ready for vomit in my hair, sleepless nights, a very scant social life. I don’t know what we’d be doing right now if you were here. Maybe you’d be having a terrible day and having an insane screaming crying fit.
You know what? That would be fucking awesome.
I mean, I know it wouldn’t. Not in the moment. But it would be so worth it to have had these 4 months with you.
It breaks my heart that I will never know what life with you really would have been like. Because no one else will ever be you.
I like to imagine what our life would have been like as if you were perfect. Because you were. You never had the opportunity to make a mistake or hurt anyone else. And because you were robbed of those opportunities, I will always get to remember you perfectly.
Before meeting you, I never fully understood the idea of that kind of purity and perfection. But you have changed everything I thought I knew about the world. In more ways than I could ever express.
Janie Hueston Cobun says
Ariana, I am so sorry to read much of this article. There are probably many of us that have been reading everything you’ve written but never making comments. Just wishing we could help in someway but knowing that grief is a process that you and Steve have to go through or it will screw up your entire life. I would hope you’re in some sort of support group for parents that have lost their child. I was particularly upset to hear about people judging you and that your dad had not talked to you since Maddux’s death. I’m sure I don’t have any influence anymore, but I will send an email or text to your dad. I’m sure he is feeling a great loss as a grandparent, but also as a parent as I know how much you mean to him. Know that I do include you, Steve and Maddux in my prayers.
Lisa R Papsin says
<3 Love you
Thinking of you often. ❤️