I had a mother of all roller coaster days today. I had lunch with some great ladies and just by chance the conversation turned to my pictures of Chase. I happened to mention as we headed out the door to our cars that the nurse who was in the operating room for my surgery had taken some pictures of Chase soon after he was born (because our camera was no where to be found) and had supposedly emailed them Patric but we had never seen them. And her phone had gotten stolen by the time I asked for them so apparently there were some phantom pictures of Chase out in cyber space that no one has ever seen that I will never get. My friend immediately speaks up and says, "I think we have them." I have been thinking/searching for these pictures since April to no avail. It's an ever longer story how she ended up with them so just know that I was hit with one of those tidal waves of grief. I was so hopeful that she might have them, but prepared that she wouldn't. I wanted to see them so badly. The earliest images of my newborn son, captured in time. Before I had even got home, she had already texted me that she sent them to my email address. I don't know why, but as I drove home, I felt like I was going to get to see my baby for the first time again. That's what it felt like. But I knew that I didn't really have him. But it was still a sense of anticipation like I was about to get something that I wanted for a real long time, but I would never get what I really wanted.
So all those emotions come back to me. How perfect he looked. How chubby his legs were. My, his nose looks big! How could he have died? He looks too healthy. How could this have happened? Anger rages within the depths of every cell in my body. Pain fills my heart, my head, my gut. He just needed his mama to hold him, it feels like. It hurts so incredibly bad. This wave is way over my head. I'd been keeping my head above the water up until this point.
I struggle with many things. As time keeps on, there's a part of him that feels like is slipping away. Because I know he is no longer a newborn; now he is 8 months old. And I don't know what that looks like on Chase. In these pictures I know he was going to have his own look. I can't imagine what he would look like at 8 months. I can only see him as he looked days old. And I feel like this is jading me. I don't know what I am supposed to think of him like? I read many different ways people imagine a lost child. And I feel that everyone has their own opinion and own belief. But the problem is, I don't know what I believe. And I feel like it is getting in the way. I can't think of my baby the way I want to because I don't have an image. Or the only image I have is frozen in time the day after he was born and is that what he is looks like in heaven? I had read in a book that he will look age appropriate and I will recognize him when I see him in heaven so that was what I was trying to do....imagine him growing up. But I can't. I don't have a picture in my head of that because I never saw it with my eyes to transfer it to my brain. I need something tangible. Or I need to freeze him in time.
Moreso, I need to think of him for what he is. Not what he is not. He is my baby boy, perfect in every way, with a head full of hair, perfect nose, chubby legs and 10 perfect fingers and toes. And he lived with us for three days. He loved us and we loved him, more than anything in this world. He knows that and so do we. He taught us things that we never knew. And we taught him what a family can be and is. That is what Chase is to me. And always will be. No more struggling to conjure up an image of what he must look like to all those who are up there in heaven with him. No more struggling to grasp how he would look as an 8-month-old baby if he were here with me. I have my photos to remember him by and that is how it will remain for me. Frozen in time.