I wasn’t hungry, although I hadn’t eaten for well over 12 hours, and I wasn’t tired, although it was almost 2 AM. It wasn’t that I was refusing to indulge in these necessary, normal parts of living – It’s just that, after returning home without my son, I truly wasn’t living at all. The tears flowed from my eyes and milk from my breasts, but I wasn’t there somehow – it hadn’t hit me just yet.
I half-heartedly tried to pump milk, but I had always loathed using the breast pump and it seemed like such a waste to endure its frustrations now for no greater purpose than avoiding pain… I knew full well that something far worse than pain was pummeling towards me at a life-crushing pace, and the worthless whir of that awful machine couldn’t lessen the blow. So I packed away the unwashed plastic parts, flushed away the small amount of milk I had drawn out, and resolved simply to endure it… All of it.
My home slowly grew quiet with dimmed lights and sleeping family members. I announced to Facebook our horrible secret and moved upstairs to discover my storm-weary husband holding our sleeping Nora in his arms. Charlotte was cuddled close to her Manna in another bed. I slipped between the covers and lay motionless in the dark, suspended in the emptiness, as my breasts swelled and my heart sloughed away.
At 5 AM I just opened my wet, aching eyes – nothing came rushing back because I had never forgotten. The house was still quiet, and I ate a bowl of cereal. I drove to the grocery store and wandered the aisles in solitude, quivering and leaking with every step. What I needed wasn’t for sale – but I looked for it anyway. I finally walked away with a head of cabbage, an ace bandage, a box of nursing pads and a bottle of aspirin.
I walked through the quiet parking lot and climbed into my car to drive home, but what I was really doing in those lonely moments was placing my body into a wide stance and digging my feet deep into the loose gravel of my path. I was slowly and deliberately lifting my face upwards to look full on at the charging, massive force that was finally catching up to me.
As it barreled forward I breathed in my last moment of poise before the screaming, black horror exploded into me and everything that hadn’t already leaked out detonated outward – spewing forth the oozing, unrecognizable fragments of a life that once was.