Writing has been my lifelong lifeline. My journals are close confidantes, accepting page after page of swirling thoughts and meticulous analysis. When life becomes too much to bear, I drown myself in words before coming up for air again. I love the "Aha, that's just it!" feeling after giving words to something that previously escaped description.
Yet sometimes language falls tremendously short, and tears fill in where the words fail. My daughter died on the final day of my treasured, uncomplicated, 41-week pregnancy. Despite my pleading with the universe, her life ended and mine kept going, suddenly empty and unrecognizable.
"Old me" spent nearly a decade writing copy for an advertising agency and creating internal communications for a Fortune 100 healthcare company. Now, my writing tackles traumatic grief, the endless questioning, and the reintegration into a society that is uncomfortable with loss.
When an older person dies, his loved ones gather and remind each other of his most special attributes. They reminisce about his endearingly crooked smile, or his well-timed punch lines, or the way he always poured the pancake batter into silly shapes on the skillet.
When a baby dies, the response lands somewhere between "I can't even imagine" and total silence. There's not a room full of people who can attest to my daughter's intrinsic goodness, to her irreplaceable position in my family, or to the gaping void that marks her absence – though I know all of this to be true.
Our story does not have a happy ending.
But it is a love story, and it is worth telling.