Waking up, in bed next to my husband to a silent house. I was numb. There was no pain, no sadness, no depression. I believe I could have laid on a bed of nails or walked over hot coals and not have noticed the pain. As my body and soul were so emotionless. I was still lingering in shock and slowly the drops of pain were chipping way at my rock hard exterior. Nick rolled towards me and rubbed my arm and said, "How are you this morning?"
I sighed. "I don't know?" I replied as I turned over on my back and watched the ceiling fan spin. "What time is everyone coming over?"
"I'm not sure? I know they are bringing the gifts over to have the Christmas celebration we put off." He informed me about my daily events now, I believe as a way for him to think he could keep me from falling into a deep depressive state. I didn't have the heart to tell him, it would likely happen no matter what precautions we took.
"We are opening presents today?" I remembered quickly about all the gifts I had specially made for the family members to give to them when Nora was born. Necklaces and key chains honoring each person's new role and relationship with Nora. When I bought these gifts with love and care, I envisioned Nora, my daughter being there as we both handed our beloved family members their gifts, honoring their new roles in her life. At this thought I said, "It's time," to Nick as he was about to walk out of the room.
"It's time for what?" He said giving me a quizzical look.
"It's time for me to give you your last Christmas gift. The one from me and Nora." He looked down at his feet as I asked, "Are you ready?" He sighed, "I guess."
"Where is it?" He said referring to the gift.
"It's in your stocking. I can go get it." I replied as I tried to get out of bed, but the physical pain started shooting up my pelvis from my swollen and traumatized vagina.
He stopped me, "Stay there. I'll get it honey. You need to rest."
"Okay, thanks." I said.
He left the room and quickly returned to our bedroom with a tiny box wrapped in red snowman Christmas paper. Nick crawled into bed and returned to the safe place under the covers where our bodies touched, as we craved touch now. Replacing the touch of one another with that of our baby girl we were expecting to hold but never would.
Before he opened it, I said, "I'm sorry she's not here to give it to you." He was looking intently at me as tears slowly rose in the corners of his eyes. He took a deep breath and delicately unwrapped the decorative paper that sealed in hopeful memories of what was not to be. I never saw a gift opened so slowly with such fear of what was inside. It was like his own Pandora’s box of emotions and he feared emotional chaos would unfold.
The wrapping paper was off and he gently held the tiny box in has hands. His left hand moved away to reveal the prize inside, his right hand reached for the brass key chain that was the shape of a military man's dog tag. He lifted the gift to his eyes and read the inscription I had engraved in the metal.
Wife & Daughter
Wife & Daughter
And then the well of tears that waited in his eyes earlier was now spilling over as sobs exploded from his lungs and he hung his head in his hands with the gift still clenched between his fingers. I had never seen a man so full of love and longing. I had never seen a man so deserving of love, so deserving of being a father. And all I could give him was a key chain.
I watched as he cried. Then I cried too. I bawled actually, wrapping my arms around him, and we melted into each other. Holding each other and clinging to metal memories of a life never lived.