It usually starts with a picture. And, it typically happens in the early morning hours because I haven't yet gone to sleep. No sleep because it's too hard to shut my eyes. There are too many "other" pictures there. Pictures that will never leave, no matter what I do to stop them.
It grows from somewhere in the middle of my chest, and then seems to sweep all throughout my body. It's a suffocating, crushing pain mixed with an angst that I can't possibly do justice with words. My eyes actually widen, my heart races, and I'm acutely aware of just how FREAKING EMPTY my arms have become. I want to get away, but I don't know where to go. I want to scream, but the screaming inside my head is so loud that I wouldn't be able to hear my own voice anyway. I want to know WHY? Over and over again, I want to know WHY? And HOW? How is it possible that I actually won't be holding him again? How can it be that the weight of his body will no longer be felt by these arms? Really? It really happened? So, he's never coming back? Really, never?
And I can't talk myself out of these moments. No magic pill. No perfect answer. No amount of kind words, thoughts, prayers, food, smelling clothes, punching the wall, therapy, or any other "coping" technique can take me out of that moment. It's terrifying and all-encompassing. I've struggled so long to put a name to this feeling. I haven't been able to put into words exactly how it feels. And I've tried several times because it helps me to see the words, to know that I can have something concrete. But, I've been a mother long enough to realize that I should have known where to look for the perfect articulation. My five-year-old daughter is a genius.
Morgan (fidgeting on the couch next to me): "Mommy. Sometimes I just get so scared. I get scared and I don't know what I want."
Me: "You know, Baby, I feel like that a lot. It scares me too, and I don't know why."
Morgan: "Sometimes I'm scared in my tummy. But now I don't know what part of my body is scared. Sometimes I wonder if it's all of my parts. I used to go find Easton when I was scared, because he made me laugh. I can't do that anymore, Mommy. Because he's in heaven. I don't want him to be in heaven anymore. I get tired of having a scared tummy."
So, if you ever find yourself at a loss for words, wondering if there is anything you can say that will be "right", go find my daughter. She's gotten it "right" so many times. I hate that for her, but am so very grateful that she knows how to say what I can't.