Reality now runs in two parts. They were once separated by a very thin layer of ice. I thought I would walk across that ice all my life, all of Avalon’s life, with only minor slips and stumbles. But the other reality, the “bad reality”, lies just below the surface, it runs concurrent,.The only difference is that when we fall through, when we exist below, we always feel the presence of the good reality we once walked in. I can see my alternate reality, the better one, the one I lived in before The Bleed, as easily, and sometimes more easily, than the reality I live in now. The one where I would be 21 weeks on Christmas day, taking a picture of my bump by the tree. The one where I lie in bed each night caressing my growing belly, giggling at the kicks and flutters. That reality seems more real to me at times than this one. This one- the one where I look at my deflated body in the mirror before a shower, shuddering with despair. The one where I live on the couch, trying not to drink so much beer that my mom will get too worried. The one where condolences flood my facebook and emails, and then stop. The one where my dreams are no longer nightmares, like they have been all my life, because I live in the nightmare.
I go on because of my mother. Because sometimes she cries and no one is there to hold her up, because she is holding everyone up. Because she hides her own deep sadness at losing her much-wanted granddaughter and watching her own child suffer, in order to take care of us all. Because losing me would be HER nightmare. Because aside from my child, I love her more than anyone on earth, especially now that I know what it means to love your own child more than your own life.
I think about so many things, mostly those traumatic memories burned into my mind’s eye. My mother telling me, more than a week later, that I bled and bled, and the nurses changed the bed and my blood soaked it again, but all I wanted to know was, will my daughter suffer? I felt no pain, I felt no suffering for myself. If she had to die, and with my nurse’s mind I knew she had to, would she feel any discomfort? I could have bled out, I could have had no pain medication, nothing mattered but my daughter. If I couldn’t protect her from death, could I protect her from pain?
In those moments, I became a mother like any other mother.