There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe what it is to watch the love of your life helplessly sob over the loss of your child.
If I told you my heart was split in two, it would feel cliché. And if I said I was devastated, wouldn’t that be all too obvious?
Not only did my hurt run deep for myself, but also for my strong and loving partner, who was now short one of his daddy’s girls.
Since he was built with an “I can fix it” attitude, my soul fell to ash as we bore a loss that could never be fixed.
Despite our heartache, he was phenomenal to me, and I to him, in the immediate days following her passing. We mourned our incredibly heartbreaking loss as a team, and he continued to place my needs far above his own, as he has done so familiarly in past situations.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t but days after she was laid to rest that his persona portrayed someone quite different than the heartfelt man I’ve always known.
What I now saw was an afflicted version of himself. One who buried his daughter and, in return, buried the memory of her as well. Because if he speaks her name, it brings pain of an awful sort.
Without delay, he buried himself in 17-hour work shifts. All the while, I was at home adjusting to my new role as a mom of three, but only a parent to two. My arms ached to hold the one I lost, and I longed for a partnership within my grief, that he wanted no contribution in.
My voice felt useless and my first, desperate coping mechanism came in the form of a recent Xanax prescription. There were days that I truly needed those pills, and then there were days I merely wanted them.
It wasn’t fair to our kids, and I thank God everyday for pulling me out of that foreseeable mess. But I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t crave one of those blue pills every time I’m defeated with one of his many “stop talking about her” snarls.
Where we stand within our grief, almost two years later, hasn’t changed much. He doesn’t say her name, and getting him to acknowledge her is like pulling teeth.
Just to clarify how this sits with my soul, it feels like rejection in the cruelest form. Because when my grief comes in waves and I succumb to the violent hurling of my own memories, I only want his reassuring tone and strong arms to lavish me in comfort.
But it seems right to say, he doesn’t have any comfort left in him to give when it pertains to this matter. I’m shut down and closed off again and again — and it kills me a little more each time.
Coupled with his block-out technique marches an incredibly pissed-off, blind rage anytime the slightest inkling of her memory is shared within his range of hearing. And the end result usually bears a striking resemblance to the foul echoes of a Jerry Springer episode.
I hope it goes without saying that I understand where his aggression’s ugly roots were first formed — I survived the horrible-awful too.
But why should the burden of her short-lived life create an interference with her memory living on through us?
Because to not remember her, in life or in death, feels like a dishonor to such an honorable little girl.
After all, isn’t this the price we pay for possessing a love so deep?
To me, she is worth every second of my pain.
Even if I knew the inevitable outcome her short life would entail, before conception — I wouldn’t change a thing. I would love her and cherish her for the time she was here, and I would love her and cherish her memory for far after she was gone.
This sorrow, inner affliction, and heartache carry the only newness I will ever feel from her, and these emotions are the only lasting thing I have left of her.
So I will continue to feel every bump, swerve, crash and fall in this roller coaster ride called grief, with or without him.
And my prayer is to see a day where her name won’t bring him the saddest misery. But until then, I hope that the realness of her loss creeps up on him kindly.
For if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that grief is a walk alone. I could be surrounded by a million versions of my partner and me, and I would still feel like I was wandering aimlessly in a maze.
Whenever he is ready, I am here. And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, that’s the reason for his blocked out emotions — so, in due time, I can help him as he has always helped me.