She says, How long have you been married?
I say, Three years.
She says, Wow.
Because it seems like a long time to her.
She says, So do you have any kids?
I say, What?
Not because I didn't hear her, but because I'm stalling. I've started answering that question differently.
She says, Do you have any kids?
I say, Yes. I have two little twin boys.
She looks happy.
I let her look happy for a little while.
And then I say, But they were born really early, so they were stillborn.
She looks like she doesn't know how she's supposed to look.
I wonder again if I'm handling these conversations the right way.
She says, Oh.
I decide I don't care if I'm handling these conversations the right way, or the wrong way. I want to tell her not to be sad, or sorry, but it doesn't ever come out of my mouth. I wish there was some way that I could explain to her--and to everyone--that I actually don't mind conversations like these. I am proud I get to tell people about them. I am proud of them. It reminds me of the feeling I had when the nurse let me carry them out of the delivery room and up to the recovery room while I sat in the wheelchair. I was so glad no one took them away from me. I wanted to protect them and I was so, so proud of my little boys. I have never felt that full in my entire life. It doesn't make sense, but that's how it was.
These conversations where I tell people I'm a mom...they almost make me happy.
And that's the thing. Greg and I are healing. I might even say that we are healing beautifully. Some days are harder than others. Some days I feel so heavy inside and so empty inside all at the same time.
But we have decided that we will move forward. That means I keep myself busy. I have a new job. I work full time. I come home and study. I go to bed. I think of my sons in the moments before sleep and in the darkness of the early morning hours. Their names run through my head over and over and over. Sometimes my arms just ache to hold them again. Sometimes when I am sitting at my desk I will think of how bright the sun was on the morning we buried them, how the flagpole clinks in the cemetery and sounds like a swing on a playground. Sometimes I picture them so clearly for no reason at all. Sometimes I look around myself and think, What am I doing here? What even happened?
But mostly, we are moving forward. We are so changed. But you still have to do laundry, get groceries, sit in Relief Society, drive to work.
I am almost doing better than I ever thought would be possible. I am more resilient than I thought. This, I suppose, is just a sign of the blessing that our years of infertility and our experience last summer have been. God has been making me stronger. He knows what He's doing, and He always did. Even during the months when I sat and thought, This can't be right. This is not how my life is supposed to be.
But everything has been how it was supposed to be. And because of that, we step forward. We remember them, day by day, even minute by minute. But somehow we are moving forward.
It makes me worry a little. Like maybe moving on is some kind of betrayal. How can I love so much, and still worry about that at the same time? But how can I love so much, and move on? Turns out, you don't have to spend too much time physically being with your children to wonder and wonder and wonder if you are a good Mommy.
I have this picture in my head sometimes. I picture a loving God somewhere in Heaven looking down at me. I picture there are tears on His cheeks because He knows He has asked me to do the thing that was most difficult for me in the world. And He says, You can do it, Heather. You really can.
And I picture my little boys with Him.
And I say, I know. I know I can.