My due date is 5 days away. A voicemail informed me that her gravestone has been delivered and installed. I imagine that lonely pink stone in the ground. I cannot bring myself to go there, tonight. The first stone in our family plot. My only biological child. My first born. A pink piece of granite to tell the world she was here, she was loved, she was so wanted, she is so missed.
I wonder daily about what is happening in the alternate reality called: My Life As I Planned It. I wonder about it like North Korean defectors must wonder about their family members left behind in an isolated country. I think to myself, “Would I have been in labor today? Or would I already be home with a newborn? Would I be struggling with breastfeeding? Am I sore from a vaginal delivery or a c-section? Do I think that the budding leaves bloom for my new daughter? Does it seem like Spring has arrived just and only for her birth? Does she sleep a lot? Or is she still inside, making me so big and heavy and uncomfortable that I can’t wait for her to come out? Have I stopped working because I just can’t do it? Or am I working up to the last day?”
I am sometimes completely convinced that this other reality is still happening. I can feel it occurring, shades of it seeping into my current life in ghost-like shadows. Yes, there is a shadow of me groaning as I pick my huge, over-sized belly off of the couch. Look, there I am, bouncing a brand new baby in my arms, murmuring her name to calm her, “there there, little Avalon. Don’t cry. Mommy’s here.”
It’s a world I can see and hear all around me, but I can’t reach it, or touch it, or feel it physically. I wonder if the other me, on the other side, can sometimes sense glimpses of me, a sudden rush of sadness, a shadow of grief curled up beside her, a different life lurking just out of sight.