A Glimpse of What Was

Our basement is finally being rebuilt after our recent plumbing catastrophe. Today was, as our contractor gleefully informed me via email, “Jackhammer Day!” I was instructed to be gone from 9-5.

I picked up the twins from pre-school and took them to The Cheesecake Factory to kill some time. There wasn’t much parking, so we walked quite a distance to reach the restaurant.

It was raining, and we all had on our galoshes and raincoats, and we were all merry in spite of the grey of the day. I held each child’s hand, as there was some traffic. We rushed towards several puddles together and splashed in each one, laughing each time. I had listened to an interview with Temple Grandin in the car and she noted an urge lately for people to “prettify life.” Which I think is probably true, given the beautiful photos I’m drawn to on Pinterest. Sometimes though, a moment doesn’t need prettifying. It’s movie-ready, primed for a greatest moment montage of your life. I imagine I would remember this puddle moment if “my life flashes before me again” like it did during the world’s sketchiest take-off.

Aside: When many planes don’t fly into an airport because of “too many issues” (cough*Innsbruck*cough) and you hate flying, please oh please take a train from a nearby city. Before departure from Innsbruck, our pilot quite calmly stated that due to the fact that physics dictated our plane must be as light as possible to clear the Alps with the current wind-shear, they would be loading off all of our luggage onto another plane. That made me extremely nervous. Then we hit so much turbulance on take-off that the engines actually whined then rattled (like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when all the engines died) on my side of the plane. Darcy looked earnestly at me and said: “You know, I really love you.” Which he NEVER says. And then I was watching my life in fast-forward: I saw quick glimpses of my childhood backyard, my beloved metal slide, our Christmas Trees, holding my brother after he was born, a report card with straight As, my parent’s faces when I graduated college, holding the key to the first car I ever bought myself, the moment I met Darcy, and his face when he was on his knee asking me to marry him, the Eiffel Tower glistening in the background. All that in a few seconds.

And because life never lets one forget, as we were still frolicking in the last puddle, I suddenly stopped cold. My spine tingled with dread and then I spotted them. A young couple was walking towards us, she was wiping away tears and they were clinging to one another as if they were drowning in the heaviest gravity. The very gravitational force they were inhabiting was not the same as the one the children and I were in just yards away. And I just knew: she had had a miscarriage. I tried to quiet down the rowdiness of the kids, to respect the heavy sorrow, so weighty it could anchor a battleship, that had so thoroughly pervaded the whole parking lot. As children are wont to do, they ignored me. I nodded to the couple, and while they didn’t even seem to see me, the woman turned as she walked and shot my daughter a glance so full of sadness, envy, disappointment and anger I was visibly shaken.

Tears formed in my eyes, and I was transported back to those awful days immediately following my losses. Part of me wanted to follow her and say: “Have hope: I went through what you did and these children were fought for with all the power I could muster.” But I know I can’t predict her journey. There are so many ways her life could play out and all the paths could be fulfilling to her. I wouldn’t be of comfort in any case. There was nothing I could do.

All I could do was hope that tonight she is writing about her experience, maybe even telling about the salt in the wound of seeing scampering happy kids. And somewhere, whether it is on a forum, Twitter, or a blog, I really hope she is being comforted by those many kind souls in our community who band behind one another during these awful moments.

I wish her to know she is not alone. I too, was once there, in that gravitational force of doom. I will always have my hand out for her and you all.

I was once drowning in grey while all around me, people created the memories that will flash before their eyes before they die.


Filed under Infertility, Miscarriage, Parenting After IF

15 responses to “A Glimpse of What Was

  1. Oh man, this really hit me, I’m feeling for that woman.

    I always remember a moment from about 5-6years ago, well before the shitstorm, when I was walking down the waterfront with Mr Stinky, walking past a couple who were just sat in silence on a bench looking absolutely devastated. The guy had his arm round her and she had her head on his chest and the sadness surrounding them was so palpable. I remember remarking to Mr Stinky a few steps on, well out of earshot, what he thought their story was (for the record, I always notice random people on the street and wonder their stories, and Mr Stinky always completely misses them, so he hadn’t even seen this couple). Of course, blissfully ignorant at that point of any of this stuff, I never even considered child loss or infertility, but many times since I have been reminded of that fleeting glimpse of two strangers frozen in grief and shock (of course I have no idea if that was their situation at all.

    Love how you were so aware even during your movie-time moment. Also hope the woman (and man) have support and somewhere safe and warm to process this crap

  2. Have you submitted anything to Creme de la Creme yet? Because I thought this post was absolutely amazing.

  3. What a stunning moment – and post. I feel shaken just reading this.

  4. What a beautiful article. I’ll be soaking it in all day.

  5. Hey, guess who’s tearing up in the car right now? Good thing I’m not driving!

    Sometimes I wonder what specific moments from my life would be in my montage. I know my surprise 21st birthday party, husband proposing at a restaurant, me staring blankly at a stick with two pink lines on it, lying on a table and seeing Chicken’s tiny pink foot rise over the edge of the curtain and then disappear again… I wonder what other little moments my subconscious would select to define my perspective on my existence.

    This was beautifully written. It’s so hard to think about our own past suffering; to watch someone else actively drowning in that moment is so, so hard.

  6. Wow, this post has me in tears. Great writing.

  7. Wow… beautifully written! I’m having to do some serious power blinking here. I so second the suggestion that you put this up for the Creme list if you haven’t already submitted something!

  8. The beginning part of this is exactly why I began paying more attention to my perfect moments.These are the ones my life is about, the ones I imagine I’ll riffle through them at some reckoning point, much as you did on that plane.

    The last part reminded me how interconnected we are. A perfect puddle moment for one can juxtapose with a devastating moment for another.

    She’s been on my mind ever since I read this. (I sat with this post open for awhile)

  9. This is such a beautiful post. Like all the others I am blinking back my tears, feeling for this couple and knowing that this post will stay will me.

  10. This post hit me in the gut. Stunning, beautiful post. I think it would be so awesome if she did blog about it from her point of view and you two were able to find each other. Serendipity.

  11. This is a wonderful and heartwrenching post. Beautiful. I hope somehow she, and others that have been in that similar place read this, and know they are not alone.

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  14. I don’t know why I didn’t comment on this the first time around. But so glad that I found it. And so deserving. You’ve captured the light exactly here: the clouds, the reflections in the puddles, the bright rainboots, the darkness of grief, and the grey blur of a stranger’s outstretched heart. I hope that we can all do this … that we allow ourselves to do this.

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