Very soon after we lost Cora, someone whispered to me “guard your marriage”. I have no clue who said this to me but I distinctly remember hearing it. I was unsure what they meant and even a little hurt that someone would suggest I could lose my marriage after losing our daughter. But then the grief set in. The dark days and tear filled mornings. The physical pain from giving birth plus the emotional pain can cripple someone. The fear of our future and knowing someone will always be missing. Missing from family trips, sports games, recitals, and snuggles on the couch. At times it left me feeling isolated, scared, and introverted.
And then I laughed. A real belly laugh that only happens once in a while. The person who made laugh was Paul. There is a moment from the SATC movie that can explain my feelings perfectly:
Carrie: Will I ever laugh again?
Miranda: When something is really, really funny.
I was afraid I would never laugh again. Never find joy or happiness. My personality is to find joy in everything or at the minimum some laughter :). But in the days following Cora’s death, laughter felt very far away. Then Paul did something that made me laugh so hard that I almost cried. And I realized I hadn’t laughed in a long time, not the belly laugh. I laughed and then he laughed and it was amazing. Such a silly moment but a moment we both needed. I knew we were going to be okay.
While at the hospital we had a lot of time to talk about how we wanted to approach our loss. We talked about how we couldn’t shut each other out or couldn’t run away from each other. That we had to cling to each other no matter what. We told each other that we would get through this. We could do this as long as we did it together. We both have sports backgrounds so we typically tackle things like a team. We consult each other and care about how the other is going to react. But that is easy to do when everything is going great but when things get hard, it’s easy to abandon those vows of “for better or worse”. But not us. Our “for worse” came sooner than we expected but we are getting through it. Every single day, we are getting through it.
I asked my doctor about feeling some separation anxiety from Paul at my 6 week checkup. She told me that was normal & to not beat myself up for it. A small example occurred this past weekend when we took a flight back from Washington DC. We checked in super late to our flight so it was likely we wouldn’t get to sit together. So, I paid the $80 (ouch) to get our tickets upgraded so we’d be in the boarding group that would get us to sit together. I just wanted to be near him and lean on him on the flight. It’s a little excessive but it’s what I needed and Paul went with it. We got through it.
It has been 3 months since we lost our girl. There have been countless moments where I’ve thought “I shouldn’t have to be here” or “if Cora had survived, we wouldn’t be doing this”. But I try to quickly change my frame of mind and look at those moments as little gifts. A chance for Paul & I to continue to grow in our marriage. To lean on each other like we’ve never leaned on anyone else. So we’ve started acting more instead of procrastinating. We’re taking trips we’ve wanted to take, gone to the movies instead of saying we’ll eventually see it, and we even bought roller blades because we thought it would be fun. We did not want more time with just the two of us but it’s what we’ve been given. So, instead of drifting apart, we are choosing to live our lives together. Choosing to say “yes” to what life has given us instead of retreating within ourselves. I will be clear, it is not easy. It is a choice we make each day and a choice we’ve made together.
An amazing example of a little “gift” of time occurred this past weekend at a wedding we attended. My favorite Spice Girls song came on during the dancing and I sprinted out to the dance floor to do my very best Sporty Spice imitation. And Paul joined me. He danced & sang with me through the entire song. Making me laugh & fall in love with him all over again. It’s such a simple gesture but it meant the world to me. Dancing is not his favorite nor are the Spice Girls. But he indulged me and laughed with me the entire time. I was not supposed to be at this wedding. I was supposed to be at home taking care of Cora. But I got that dance that I will remember for the rest of my life and I am grateful for that moment.
It’s in those moments that I recognize our strength. We have been through hell but we can still get out on the dance floor to Spice Girls. We can still make each other laugh and care for each other in ways that we didn’t know were possible. We will spend $80 to sit next to each other on a plane because we needed to be near each other. We will continue to heal together and to make each other laugh. Our “for worse” will eventually get back to the “for better”.
Today is our second wedding anniversary. This next week will tell us a lot about our future. We’ve got an important appointment with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist that will tell us whether we can try again in the near future. We will then go on our anniversary trip to Fredericksburg & San Antonio. This trip was supposed to be our babymoon. We have decided to still go on our trip (albeit a few months later) to honor our marriage, honor our girl, and hopefully have a few laughs along the way.
Below are some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day 🙂
Cheers to the bright side ❤