If you would have asked me what it feels like to have a six year old before Chase was born, I would have told you, that it is such a long time. Six years old is so big and I want them to be 2 again! But Chase came and my perspective is completely different. Most likely due to circumstances, but six years seems like yesterday. I remember it clearly.
Chase's birthday was yesterday. He turned six years old in Heaven's arms. Not mine. And it has been hard. I had been thinking about this day for the past week. My pregnancy with Chase kept popping into my head. Him moving inside of me. That I had read that his DNA is still in me. That I was such baby for not being able to carry him longer. That he was born five days before Reese's birthday and he should have been born five days after. Still, my life would have been crazy planning two parties so close together, but it should have been the other way around. Patric and I were fighting on Easter and it reminded me of the big fight we had on Easter the days before Chase came. Deciding to tell Emma about the Easter Bunny because I needed help. I was such a big baby. And I went to bed the Monday night thinking about the night before Chase was born. Crying myself to sleep because I was taking God's work into my own hands asking for an induction so I wouldn't have to endure 12 more days of the discomfort. Why couldn't I have just rode it out? Hugging Owen a little tighter as my tears and fatigue set in, I finally slept.
I looked at the clock Tuesday morning and saw 7:21am. I felt a punch in the gut as I thought of 7:21pm that day six years ago and the madness that ensued. I remember what seems like every little detail of the horror that unfolded. Why didn't we just demand a c-section earlier? I knew somewhere inside of me that all that blood I lost all day long was not right. I knew it wasn't. Why didn't I call him on it? And when the baby's heart beat was lost, the fear in the doctor's voice as he said we were going into surgery. NOW. Those details, the little ones, that I so often block from my mind as they try to resurface. I was trying to recall every single one. I wanted to let everything come back. It felt like yesterday and I could see it in my mind all so clearly. The out-of-body feeling that haunted me so heavily after Chase was born...I let it come back. The feeling of floating around the room hearing the voices...then the cosmic blackout. And re-awakening. Knowing/feeling not pregnant anymore. Wanting to know....was it a boy or girl? Where is the baby? How is he? And seeing him the first time. When they wheeled his isolette into my room so I could see him before they life-flighted him off. Those eyes that looked at me and my voice that sounded so comforting, even to me, when I spoke to my child for the very first time. He was mine. But what happened?
I'm shaking even as I type these words. But I remember being in a state of shock for the next several days. Not knowing how I was even living under all the stress and worry and fear. And so many more little details that happened over the next few weeks continue to haunt me...but I feel like stopping here.
Because I'm realizing again that I'm on my own right now. This journey is a lonely one. No one who has not lost a child knows your life or how your thoughts are controlled. The new normal that six years ago, I thought would eventually grow old. But it doesn't.
Several years ago, way before I had kids, I had a friend where I worked who became very close to Patric and I. She was almost like our adopted mom in some ways. She had lost her son to a drowning accident when he was 2 years old. I remember her saying it the first time and thinking how horrible it would be to lose a child. I don't remember her talking about it much at all but I do distinctly remember her telling me that even then, it was like it had happened just yesterday. And her eyes welled up with tears that she struggled to keep in. Of course I didn't know what to say to her and I don't remember it coming up again. But I have thought about her a lot since I lost Chase. We don't keep in touch anymore but as I am now six years out, I know that these memories will never fade. I still think about Chase every singe day if not the first thing when I wake up, then he is the last thing I think about as I fall asleep. And several times in between. That will never change, for the rest of my life.
I guess what I was reminded of this year was that this journey is solo. And by that I mean for me and my husband and my kids. Only we celebrate Chase and think of him as much and deeply as we do. No one else does, even in mine and Patric's own families. My community of BLM's support me every year and give me comfort because they are on the journey too. But no one else does. At a point of my life when my relationships with my own siblings and parents have become distant and broken, I am reminded of this again. That I am in a club I was not invited to. A place that I can never leave.