The Old Apartment

A few nights ago, as my husband and I drove past our old neighborhood on the way home from a family event, he asked if I wanted to go by our old apartment. I was reluctant, but I agreed. Feeling so unsure about a place we used to call home was unusual. I’ve always liked visiting our old stomping grounds. Not this apartment. This one is different. Like many other things in my life, the memory of our old apartment is bittersweet.

We lived in our old apartment for five years. It was a kind of small for two adults and two big dogs. But it was cute and located in a nice neighborhood in Boston. We loved it. We created so many wonderful memories while we lived in that apartment. We moved there just before we got married, so that’s where we started our new journey together as husband and wife. We were young and so optimistic about the future.

We were happy.

We were still living in the apartment when we made the decision to start a family. We knew it would be challenging to add a baby to our already crowded one bedroom apartment, but we knew we could make it work. Raising a child in an apartment was nothing new. Other people did it all the time. We could do it too. Our plan was to buy a house in the next year or two, but we didn’t want to delay our plans for a family any longer.

Six months passed. I wasn’t pregnant yet, but we were ready to buy a house. That happened much faster than we thought it would. What about our baby? I was trying not to get discouraged, but it was hard to remain optimistic when what I wanted most in the world seemed further and further out of reach as the months passed by.

Finally, three months after we moved into our house, I got pregnant. It took us a full year to conceive our daughter. Things seemed to be falling into place though. We had our new house and, most importantly, we had our growing baby. The baby we had been wishing and praying for.

Life was beautiful.

Nine months later, after a wonderful pregnancy, we found ourselves sitting in maternity triage trying to understand words that no parent should ever hear. I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat. We knew we had a lot of difficult decisions ahead of us so we went home for a few hours to think about our next steps. I remember lying in bed, desperately wanting to run back to the old apartment. I wanted to erase the previous three hours from my memory and just go with my husband and daughter and stay there, hidden away from the world. I wanted to disappear, back in our old apartment.

Of course, we couldn’t escape our horrible reality. Going back to our apartment, at any point in time, would not have fixed anything. This became apparent when the tears started to roll down my cheeks as we drove down Brookley Road. Ben took my hand in his and asked what I was thinking about.

Elliot. It always comes back to Elliot. Life before Elliot. Life with Elliot. Life after Elliot.

I was surprised at just how difficult it was to drive by the apartment. It was painful to be reminded of our old life, a time when we were so innocent and blind to the harsh reality awaiting us. It hurt to be reminded of a happiness we will never know again. I feel so detached from that life now. It doesn’t feel like it was ever really mine.

Even though I cried the entire way home that night, I was glad we drove by our old apartment. It’s another reminder that Elliot is real and loved so deeply.

There, in our old apartment, we decided we wanted a baby. We didn’t know who our baby would be at the time, but ultimately that’s where we decided we wanted to bring Elliot into our lives. We fell in love with her in those moments, without knowing how or when she’d come to us. But we knew we loved her.

Almost two and a half years ago, we decided to set out on a new journey. Almost two and half years ago, we fell in love with Elliot in the old apartment.

Shared on November 23, 2015