I find myself gearing up. It's that month...that wonderful, hideous, delightful, yet so painful month. The month that we have wonderful things to celebrate (Reese's birthday...Chase's birthday) and that month that we have our heart broken all over again (Chase's death). And so I prepare...in ways I don't even realize.
I remember the feeling of walking into a public bathroom and seeing a diaper changing station.....and not getting to use it. It was things like this that made me so different from anyone else and feel so alone. I had all kinds of feelings like this going on inside. And as April comes up again, I find myself having these feelings again. Like changing Owen's diaper on one of these tables and being so incredibly grateful that I could do this. That my baby was here this time. He is really here. I still pinch myself and he's 2 years old. I had a lot of paperwork to do a few weeks ago and a job that would have taken anyone else two days to do, took me about 6 because I only got about an hour and a half of it done at once before Owen woke up from his nap or needed my attention. And I was thankful. Whenever I got frustrated for being interrupted during my tedious, time-sensitive job, I was quickly reminded of Chase and that I would have done anything to have the distractions of my baby keeping me from getting things done. I don't know why, really. But my mind kept going there.
Like the high chairs in restaurants....they used to be such a painful sight. Now, they are a reminder because as I situate Owen in his, I am thankful, and at the same time, mindful of those days I would have been using one for Chase, but didn't.
Like the pitter-patter of feet running through the house. One of my most favorite sounds on this earth. And I wonder what Chase would look like. I find myself going through pictures and seeing Reese when Chase was born. The same age that Chase would be today.....that is so hard to wrap my mind around, but I try so hard. I see Chase in those pictures; I try to picture Reese a little different, maybe a mix between Owen and Reese and that's what I want to think of Chase looking like. But I can't. I see a little boy in the same little clothes with the same color hair, but I can't see any facial features on the little boy. I try to...but it's a detail my brain won't let me create for some reason. At bedtime, I lay in bed with my boys and hug my blanket and miss him so much. I close my eyes and touch Owen's face and try again to picture Chase. It feels nice......his skin feels so soft and so incredibly real....but I still can't see any details. Tears. Sadness. Memories. That's all I get. Such a strong yearning to see and feel my little boy. Reese says he's here in bed with us. I hope so. I truly do.
I remember being home after Chase died and whenever I got food out of the freezer, I'd see those April dates. Seeing those dates stamped on something real was like screaming at me. And I still feel that way four years later. When I see milk in the fridge with a "best buy" date of April 14th, 15th, 16th, or 17th, I think of those days in the NICU. Or April 13th, or April 25th, or 26th. They are all triggers for me. So, you see, it's the whole month that I can't get away from. And then we celebrate Reese on the 19th and try to be happy on the 14th for Chase. It's such a roller coaster, April. But we ride it together. And that's the only way I get through it. And so I brace myself, for this ride.