“Did you think it would get better?” My best friend from college asked over our usual drink of choice, wine, as we sat next to each other in a loud, stinky, small town
She is my “Mom” friend. She knows the bond between mother and child and I think she was trying to let me in on the honest reality that, even though never experiencing it herself, the fleeting thought of losing her child is something she would never get over.
I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t ready to believe that it “wouldn’t get better.” A part of me wanted to say, “Yeah, I thought it would get better! I thought I would forget. I thought by this point I would be pregnant again or, like society believes, I could just wash my relationship with her and all the pain and sorrow that it has left behind away after a few months. In the days after her death I prayed for it being five months, six months, heck six years after. I thought the pain would lessen by now.” It hasn’t.
So I replied with a sigh, “No. I thought it would be….I searched for a word that would fit but only found… different.” As I sheepishly looked entertained by the water marks in my empty wine glass.
She was watching me with love and care. She was helpless on the other side of the table but her affection I always knew I would have, no matter what. She could have run the other direction from me as the woman plagued with child death syndrome that I hear so many mothers seem to think is contagious. But she didn’t. There was a reason she was one of my best friends, because she went right there with me. And what was more impressive, is that she wanted to go there and she knew I did too.
I sucked in a deep breath and said darkening thoughts that were lingering at the tips of my lips. “I’m scared. You see, I’m content now. The worst thing in the world has happened and I learned I can handle it. I can survive. There is a strange safety in where I am at right now. I have nothing left to lose when it comes to the child department. And I’m scared, because I know from the minute I try to even start thinking about becoming pregnant again, I put myself out there to be hurt again by mother nature, God, Karma, Life, whatever you want to call it. The moment I conceive again I will live the rest of my life in terror that my child will forever only be borrowed, on loan, and ready to be taken back the moment I fuck up.”
Her eyes widened, not with surprise, but with realization. She said the thing only a trusted friend of 10+ years can say, “I can see why you would feel that way. But PLEASE don’t let that stop you from letting love back in. Don’t let that stop you from trying again.”
I smiled in recognition. I didn’t cry, but I cry as I write this. Her words are true. Her love for me and my future is apparent. She sat there as helpless as I was in not knowing how to fix the future without getting stuck in the safety of the present. I heard her words. I needed her encouragement. I wasn’t angered as some might be and say, “What do you know.” Because her words came from a place of love and truth and that is all I ask of my loved ones.
“So, are you dating anyone lately.” I had had enough and changed the subject. She took the cue and began telling her silly stories in sarcastic tones that bring me comfort and humor. While she was chatting away, I lingered in a thought she had planted that had been left behind.
“What if it is possible, to let love back in? What if it’s okay to let hopes for the future mingle with the comfort of the present, while honoring the past? What would happen if I found hope again?”