Right after Zoey died, Joe and I got in the car and we just drove. That evening, I posted to the blog that she’d left us and that we wished to have privacy. I didn’t want people at my door. I didn’t want people thinking they needed to come sit watch over me. The only problem: by the time I needed someone to be there, everyone seemed to move on. And by then, nobody really wanted to talk about it. Or at least that’s what it looked like from my perspective. I dove into planning her memorial service. And then I just kept moving. I don’t remember stopping. I’m not sure if I’ve really stopped since then. Maybe that’s what I needed to do. Maybe that’s what’s kept me sane. But I wonder. And I wonder if it made it look like I didn’t need anyone. Or that I didn’t love her enough to grieve “properly”. Not that it matters. I loved my daughter—I LOVE my daughter– and someone else’s perception of how I handle the grief of losing her makes no difference. And I regret not knowing that sooner. And not recognizing it within my own marriage. Joe and I grieve differently. Talking about her, looking at pictures, mentioning her all have different reactions for us both. And I wish I would have stopped sooner to check in with both of us. I needed to ask more what he needed—or how what I was doing made him feel. Because the fact is, there are some things you cannot compromise on—you have to learn to live with how the other person handles their grief when it’s not your way. I’m thankful for a strong marriage. Because these things could easily eat at you. But my husband is forgiving and gracious—way more so than me. He clearly loves Zoey and misses her deeply, just as I do.
I hate Target. Don’t get me wrong, I still go to Target, but it has knocked the wind out of me more than once. Why? All those damn little outfits hanging on display that Zoey would have looked so cute in. All of the things she’ll never get to wear. Toys she won’t play with.
Sometimes you look through the photos and smile. And sometimes you sob. You can hear a baby cry and you want to collapse to the floor. Or it can make your heart smile remembering how you could soothe your own baby girl. A butterfly flitters across your path and you whisper “I Love You, Zoey”. And then you’re driving down the highway and one flies into your windshield. (Yes, I brake for butterflies. And cats, dogs, frogs, a wayward leaf…) Joe and I went to the baseball game the other night. And it all came back. Carrying her through the concourse and watching her eyes grow bigger, meeting Fredbird, creating Clyde. Sweet memories, but it ripped at my heart. Day to day, you never know if something will leave you weeping, or leave you smiling at the memory. Often, both.