Adam had an appointment in Ann Arbor today, and I accompanied him. Going back to Ann Arbor was hard only the first time after Grace died, when we went back 2 months later but after that I never had a hard time. Until today. Being in Ann Arbor today was not easy for me. It was too similar. It's March and cold. Last March, was sunny and warm, even hot. The March when Grace was born was cold and dreary, just like it is now. It just stung. Passing the hospital and remembering, how we'd walk in the cold morning, hours before the sun rose, from the Ronald McDonald House, to the NICU and stay until the sun had long set, in the cold. Keeping it together, I've gotten pretty good at that, but coming around the curve of the road and there's the helicopter...and the tears flow. It isn't fair..I miss her..My boys marveled at the fact that their baby sister was only a few hours old and had gotten to ride on a helicopter, how lucky they thought! Everytime they see one now, "is that Grace's helicopter?!" It seemed like almost every single time they went to the cafeteria with us, they got to see it land... It's still all so unreal sometimes.
The other day, I read I beautiful account of a baby's passing, from a parents blog. It was much like most of the babies who pass, something along the lines of "s/he passed in our arms, we surrounded her/him with love and s/he felt nothing but love as s/he passed" etc. The love for that baby is always so evident and it's always beautiful. But each time, it guts me.
My daughter died alone. In a baby swing. I wasn't there. Her father wasn't there. Nobody held her. She wasn't surrounded by our love. I don't have a single clue what the last words spoken to her were. Was the last thing she heard, pleasant? Beautiful and kind? I couldn't tell you. I was an hour away. Her daddy, was close to 2 hours away. I hear/read accounts of other babies last days, I don't have a cluse what her last day on this earth was like. I checked on her around 9 am and she was supposedly fine. I felt like I was being a bother so I resisted my urges to check back around lunchtime, 11 or 12 and was heading for the phone to check on her finally around 2 when I got the call. I don't have a clue.I don't even know what she was wearing. Did she have a good day? Was she fussy? Did anyone at all hold my baby girl that day? Probably not, since she was in her swing. These are the things I don't get to know. The things that I can't yet let go of.
The guilt, why didn't I do what kept nagging me. I kept thinking all morning, that maybe I'd call my mom, see if she wanted to go up with me and the boys and then Adam could come and pick all of them up and switch cars after work. Why did I listen when someone told me that I really needed to stay home wiht my boys more often, why did I feel so bad asking people to stay with them. I missed so much with her. I know they needed me, but so did she and I chose them that day, and she died. I don't think that if I had been there, she wouldn't have died, I know that really and truly, I couldn't have saved her, I just wish I'd have been there for her.
A friend, another beautiful angel mama shared this song on Facebook a few months back. I'd never heard it before, but from that day on it has become one of my "greif helpers" I guess. The tears readily flow and slowly, oh so slowly it helps..