Surviving

 photos by  Jacqueline Foss

photos by Jacqueline Foss

Today's guest post is from Janet. Clementine was Janet's third child. She writes, "When you pray for your child's life, when you prostrate yourself before God and the universe and Buddha and Allah and all that is fair or deserved and the answer is 'no,' there is a fundamental change in every cell in your body in the fiber of your being; in your heart, head and soul. Nothing is sacred, nothing is fair, nothing is true except that everything ends." Janet and her family honored Clementine's fourth "birthday" this month. Since first reading her piece when she shared it with us, I have been haunted by her last two lines, this idea of surviving, and not knowing it at the time. —Burning Eye

Every day, I get out of bed and pretend that I am okay. That it is okay.

But the truth is, it still devastates me, three+ years out. Not a day goes by…

Starting kindergarten (and milestones) or even when we're just laughing with our kids, I think of all she is missing out on and all the milestones that should have come between birth and death.

I know how quickly bad news can happen and shift everything to black.

I know how we cannot protect the ones we love the most – we can try to keep them safe, but life can change in the blink of an eye. What we have is just this moment. This wonderful moment (or pushed-to-the-end-of-my-ability-to-listen-to-whining-go-play-your-iPad-moment) that might be the last one before it all goes wrong.

The phone call. The doctor's face. The news. The ultrasound.

The moment when the world stopped.

The ultrasound gel falling from the table, frame-by-frame. As all the oxygen leaves the room.

The silence and the rush of blood in my ears.

The implosion of my heart breaking inside of me.

The moment when the future dies.

Sometimes I read other stories here and I think, I could not survive that.

And then I remember, I did.

Does your experience ever seem surreal, like it belongs to somebody else?