In an effort to get some emotional release, and try to break this writer's block, I went to Borders today to be in the presence of other writers (I had met a very interesting author who I knew would be there today) and write. There is something to be said about being in the presence of other creative folks, when trying to get your creative juices flowing.
While there, tapping away at my computer beside this female author, a man came over (another author) and began talking to us. This is a portion of our conversation.
Man: What are you writing about.
Me: I go back and forth between a few things. I have written a memoir about my daughter who died of Cancer, and also work on this silly little chick-lit book when I need a pick me up. I also write a blog about my grief.
Man: Your daughter died. I am so sorry. How old was she?
Me: 28 days. She was born with Leukemia.
Man: 28 days? Born with Leukemia... Oh, my. When did this happen?
Me: Yeah, the chances of it happening were one in fifty million. I'm just that lucky. We lost her October of '08.
Man: Was she your only child?
Me: Yes, and having her made it so I can't have any others.
Woman Author: She just found this out last week. Can you believe she can even talk about it?
Man: Oh, my.
Man: You're numb huh?
Man: Yeah numb. You're numb right now.
Me: Why do you say that?
Man: It's just, you're telling me something so horrific, but when you say it you are so matter of fact.
Me: Well then, yeah, I guess today you could call me numb.
This conversation really got me thinking.
Why is it that this loss has stripped me of that former sense of self preservation where I would only share good details about myself with those I encountered? Why can't I sensor what I say, even when I know I am sharing too much? It's as if it all flows, unchecked, from my heart to my lips. I can't stop it. Is it because it is all I can think about?
To this man in Borders - "My baby is dead. I am infertile." To the woman at the Post Office - "My baby is dead. I am infertile." To every person who stops to ask me for the time, or to comment on the day, or the weather, or the latest movie they saw, I turn to them lost, repeating the only truths that I know... "My baby is dead. I am infertile."
Sometimes the words come with tears, and I watch the discomfort wash over the face of whichever poor soul I am speaking to. Sometimes the words come with a resigned muffled laughter, a pathetic attempt at laughing at my misfortune or making light of my luck, and the shit-storm that has swirled unrelenting around my attempts at having a family. Sometimes, like today, the words present themselves as bulleted facts. Talking points delivered with little to no expression.
Some take this to mean I am doing well. "She can say this without crying. Look how strong she is." I know it is just the opposite. I know that regardless of the expression on my face, or the inflection in my voice, I am lost. My heart is broken.
Perhaps it is the shock, or the PTSD. Perhaps it is my mind's way of trying to process all that has happened. All that I have seen and done. All that we went through, or worse, all that Peyton went through. She was just a baby. A poor, defenseless, little baby. She endured things that no child should ever endure. Things that no mother should ever bear witness to.
Maybe if I say "My baby's dead, and having her left me infertile," enough, out loud, to everyone I meet, I will finally accept or make peace with the irony and pain impregnated in those words. Or maybe tomorrow I will wake up once again in this world of disbelief, without the luxury of feeling numb, and those words will bring with them the return of my tears.