The Gunshot

A month or so after Sylvia died I was told that ‘it would get worse’ by someone in the know. Carlos and I talked about that statement later, only to be baffled at how it could possibly get worse. Surely, we thought, it must at least some how get better. We have been through the worst…right? How could it continue on a downward spiral? How could anything get worse than this? But they were right. It is worse. It has gotten much worse. In two weeks it will be the week that I found out I was pregnant. Any moment past that, I was pregnant a year ago. We are entering the time of year that 365 days ago I had hope. To now be at the same time of year, except without her, without hope and still lost and confused is nearly more than I can seem to bear. The past two weeks or so have been awful. I don’t know if something triggered it or if its just time that is suddenly my enemy. Its truly physically painful. Grief seems to have a tangible manifestation that is present now in my life. Its like a new character, a side-kick. I’d even go so far as to say grief is like a new friend because of its constant presence. Its almost comforting in a way as often I feel like it brings me closer to Sylvia.  

We had a support group meeting last week and it was the only time that I felt a little okay. But the time we spend with other families who get it only lasts so long and is once a month. And then we are back in the real world where it seems that everyone has children, another person is pregnant and happy families are slapping us across the face left and right. Carlos and I were talking after this last support group about how I wished I could either never leave the presence of another bereaved mother or at least bottle the feeling I get when someone near me can relate to how I am dying inside. I am not suicidal but I often think about how much easier it would be if I were to die so that I didn’t wake up with this pain and sadness. I have cried every single day for 93 days now. And when I think about another 93 days from now, much less the rest of my life, it seems only logical that my grief will multiply becoming heavier and heavier until I am smothered. Dying from a broken heart seems very, very logical. It seemed ludicrous that it could get worse, but it has. I understand why people slowly collapse after loosing a child. I get why marriages fall apart. I get why depression can so quickly lead to drugs and alcohol. I don’t hold any decisions that a mother or father in grief make against them. I get it. This is too much for my heart.

I envision a long, slow drawn out end like a movie where a main character gets shot. *BANG* The victims eyes wide with the shock of what just happened. Their hand goes to the wound in their chest, slowly pulling away to see their hand covered in bright red, sticky blood. Their head and neck snap back with the reality of their demise. Their eyes back up at the assassin, looking sad and scared now, with a question that their mouth doesn’t have the energy to say out loud. They take a couple falling steps forward, they clutch their chest and drop to their knees. They stumble on their knees aimlessly forward and then place one hand down. They crawl like that, in a tripodal position for a couple more feet before their legs drop behind them. Their breath hot and thick, they now army crawl, elbow over elbow, dragging their worthless legs for a distance longer before that becomes too much and they collapse into the ground. Several heaves from a heavy, exhausted breath and they die. That, I imagine, is metaphorically how my future could be.

I don’t feel like I have a lot to live for, and thats what I have been struggling the most with. I have lost my daughter and with her went the future and my hope. If something were to happen to Carlos, I feel confident in saying that I would probably succumb to the grief.

People all the time say to Carlos and I, ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ or ‘I wouldn’t be able to go on.’ And it always seems so ridiculous to me. I think it is coming from a place where they are trying to recognize and compliment my ability still be standing but it seems so silly. We have two options, we either die, or we keep living. I know there are some that do end their life after they loose a child, and I get it, trust me. But its surprised me the number of people that think that statistic would be them. I imagine, I would have been one of those people had you asked me before Sylvia died. The choice to live, as far as I’m concerned, shouldn’t be broken down into anything else other than our ability to wake up every morning. It shouldn’t be ranked on our ability to go to work, to pay our bills or to even maintain friendships. Carlos and I woke up today. Thats success. Carlos and I survived another day and night of physically painful, inescapable, heart wrenching grief of life without our daughter. And tomorrow, we will wake up and do it again. I saw a quote recently that speaks to this, ‘Child loss is not an event, its an indescribable story of survival.’ Today, we survived.

Teresa MendozaComment