Please welcome Cameron, who joins us again as a guest writer. Today is the one-year anniversary of the loss of her daughter Cora.
New Me watches silently from the sidelines. I imagine a referee telling me I’ll never compete. I might as well head to the bench. He says I can watch the others play. I assume I’ll cover my face, but I can’t resist looking through my hands at the life I should have. I quietly leave the field, alone, head hung low in defeat. “Life is everyone else’s game to win,” my inner voice says.
That voice used to say, “It’s your turn now! You can do this.” Cora was alive and thriving; my textbook pregnancy felt invincible.
Now, I only want to hear the voices of those who also live in this infinitely cruel domino effect of sadness, who also gnash their teeth at Mother Nature. I can’t relate to the more innocent voices, the ones who think small problems are problems at all, or who think there’s a reason for my tragedy, or who are experiencing life the way they planned it.
A colleague asked, “What would you do if your computer died?”
Be thankful it’s a computer and not a child.
I owned a bracelet engraved with She believed she could, so she did.
Yeah, right. I threw it in the trash.
A headline stated: Princess Kate on the Struggles of Motherhood—‘It’s Lonely at Times’.
Don’t even get me started.
Captivated by the raw heartbreak, I watched Jackie twice in three days. The film starred my closest companion: grief.
The light from the screen danced on my journal as I scribbled ten pages of thoughts in the dark. Jackie Kennedy’s pain was a teakettle coming to a boil, the water gathering volatility, the steam about to spew everywhere, but kept neatly in check for those on the outside.
Jackie gets it, I thought.
She walked through the White House in her blood-stained pink suit. Like me in Cora’s nursery, in my hospital gown.
“I’m not First Lady anymore. You can call me Jackie.”
I’m not acknowledged as a mother anymore.
“Can you tell me what size the bullet was?”
How long was the cord? How tight was it? I must know.
“God is everywhere? Was he in the bullet that killed Jack?”
When nearly everything feels taken or tainted, that inner voice is about all that remains. It’s a sad and shaky voice, yes, but it attempts to whisper its truth. It knows hell firsthand and dares to speak of it. However, in day-to-day life, I’m usually rendered speechless, with much to say. The chasm between ordinary people and myself is simply too great. I walk off the playing field knowing my teammates cannot fathom my reality, and for them the game carries on.
Among those who know the agony of facing a world that pretends your child did not exist, my voice hears echoes of itself. I hear a choir of courage, a melody of survival. Sometimes, refreshingly, my ears pique at words my voice hasn’t yet spoken but knows by heart.
“I’ve grown accustomed to a great divide between what people believe to be true and what I know to be real,” Jackie told a reporter.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Have you experienced a divide since your loss? Tell us about the distinction between the You of before and the You of now.