The past 10 weeks have been absolutely brutal, for obvious reasons … but the days were compounded with the constant thought of when I woke each morning and throughout my entire day of, “I’d still be pregnant right now.” The anxiety was palpable, literally out of breath each morning, hoping and wishing that this was all a bad dream and I’d wake up with him back in my belly. I even found myself rubbing my stomach, hoping I’d feel a kick or something again. But that wish did not come true and everything was a constant reminder of that. The obvious triggers of literally no matter where I turn, (in real life and social media) that there’s pregnant women and babies EVERYWHERE. A trip to the mailbox was no longer fun; constantly bombarded with formula samples, coupons reminding my of my exact due date, baby shower invitations and all those wonderful medical bills. Even trips to the bathroom were filled with tears because I was reminded that my trips there were much less frequent without him pushing on my bladder. I wasn’t ready to finally sleep on my stomach again or have a cocktail, because again “I would still be pregnant.” I was mourning the loss of my pregnancy along with everything else, because although it was a stressful one, I’d do anything to have it back.
So Jon and I really struggled with what we were going to do on July 30th. This was the day forever ingrained into our brains as what would be the most exciting day of our lives … rushing to the hospital, calling our parents to let them know “it’s time!”, and then finally meeting our perfect son, alive, kicking and screaming. So what do you do when now that day is a constant reminder that none of that happened? My first thought was, well I just wanna sit at home and cry all damn day. And Jon agreed that would be totally acceptable but also let’s have another idea in place just in case. So we talked it through, that yes the day was gonna be shitty no matter what, there was no avoiding that. But could we do something to make it more hopeful, could we do something to honor him? We talk to him everyday and tell him how much we miss him, so does sitting at home crying change any of that? No.
So we began to brainstorm ideas of what we could do, ultimately we decided we wanted to be outdoors and loved the idea of a hike. A hike to us was very symbolic, climbing our way to the top, to accomplish something, and when we got to the top, just maybe we could breathe again. With it being literally 100 degrees in Charlotte, we just knew that hike wouldn’t feel so symbolic if we passed out before we got to the top. So then came the idea of Asheville, sweet sweet Asheville. Our decision to spend the rest of our lives together started in Asheville 7 years when Jon proposed at the Biltmore, then we spent our first wedding anniversary there celebrating and have continued with many weekend getaways there filled with so many fond memories. It also is in the mountains, ie. a much cooler temperature. Jon booked a hotel but with the policy that we could cancel the day before if we just panicked and decided to spend the day at home crying like I wanted to.
So Friday I did start to panic. As I was packing my suitcase, I stopped and began hysterically crying. I told Jon we couldn’t leave, that it felt wrong to leave, that given this day we would be home, we wouldn’t be traveling anywhere right now. So we sat down and took a lot of deep breaths, and Jon reasoned with me (like he always does). He stated that as hard as it is to let go of all the “coulda, shoulda, wouldas” right now, that isn’t our reality. Our reality is that 10 weeks ago we lost our son, we met him on May 23rd, not July 30th, so while all this is hard and tragic, it’s just another milestone that we have to endure without him here, so let’s do something to honor him. This is just one of the million reasons I love this man.
So I let all his words sink in and reflected on them. I struggled because I am met with SO much guilt through all of this. I feel guilty for smiling. I feel guilty for laughing at funny TV show or movie. I feel guilty for having a girls night or date night. I essentially feel guilty if I’m not bed ridden crying all day. How can one celebrate anything when he’s not here? I’m told through grief that it’s important to still find happiness, because if we don’t, we’ll never find light through this darkness. So while our lives have changed forever, Jon and I’s love hasn’t. Our son was created from our love, so how can we not celebrate that? I got this jolt of perspective that I so desperately needed. Going to Asheville wasn’t gonna change our dreams for that day but it could change our future for moving forward towards finding the light again. So I decided to leave my guilt in Charlotte and was determined to finish packing my bags, get in the car and just drive to Asheville …