What It Felt Like
I don’t even know where to begin. Learning that Elliot had passed away in utero was a complete out of body experience. Like I was sitting in the corner of the room watching someone else’s life fall apart. I couldn’t make sense of any of it. I was in such a state of shock that I had almost no reaction. I remember looking over at Ben and telling him I was sorry. I also remember seeing the tears in his eyes and wondering why I wasn’t crying. It was because I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept that what the doctors were telling us was true. These things don’t just happen to healthy mothers and babies. They don’t…
Only they do. And it did. To us.
When we got home from the hospital, the shock wore off. All the emotions came crashing down on me. They suffocated me. I’ve spent a lot of time talking and writing about those emotions. Some of them have worn off. Or rather, they linger quietly in the background. Others are front and center, and I feel the weight of them every single day. And I will for the rest of my life. I will say that the strongest feeling I have is love. From the very beginning, love outweighed everything else. But still, the others are there, too.
This is a photo of me in Puerto Rico, April 2015. Ben and I went away two weeks after Elliot was born. The thought of being away from home was just as terrifying as the thought of staying home. But we went anyway. It ended up being the best thing for us at the time. Not that it was fun or exciting. But it was a much needed trip. To think, to let our emotions run through us, to process everything. To just be. I’ve held on to this awful photo because it is a reminder of where I was (lost, confused, terrified, angry) and how far I’ve come since then.
I remember that day in PR so clearly. We drove into San Juan and spent maybe an hour getting a drink and then walking around. I cried the whole way there, during our walk along the coast, and the entire way back to our hotel. I managed to muster a fake smile for the picture. But I couldn’t hide the sadness in my eyes. Sadness is not really the right word. I don’t think there is a word for how we felt at the time. It makes me sad just looking at the photo, thinking about how hard it was in the early days. Even if I didn’t have this photo, I would still remember. I will always remember what it felt like back then.