To start at the beginning, click here…
Saturday, May 16th …. Continued …
I hesitated, with my hand on the passenger door of my mother-in-law’s Buick.
When I stepped out of the car, it was all going to become real. Sitting in the cocoon of supple, broken-in leather seats, warmed from the afternoon sun, it was easy to pretend that the previous hours had all been a fuzzy, out-of-focus dream. But I knew that as soon as my feet would touch the concrete drive, my reality would surface, and with a word, I would change the lives of everyone I loved.
Three from her: Is everything alright?: two from me: He’s gone.
… and the world tilted on its axis, trembled, and righted itself again. But for me, and the woman whose heart I’d just shattered, and for the two men who watched us embrace in wordless agony, the ground beneath our feet would forever remain just a whisper off balance.
Seth was still napping, so I used the silence to make some phone calls.
One to my dad; a vague, "Hey, can we come over in a couple hours for pizza?”
One to our friends, Doug and Sara; “Hey, can I swing by the house to drop off your clean Tupperware?”
One to my mother – to date, the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make:
I remember stepping out to my in-laws back patio, and sliding the heavy door shut behind me for some modicum of privacy. I remember blurting out, “Is Greg [my step-father] home?” as soon as she answered, for I knew that if I didn’t force words out of my mouth in rapid-fire succession, then all she would hear across the miles were my sobs. I blurted it out, ripping-off-a-Band-Aid-style:
“Mom, I lost the baby, and you need to call Grandma and tell her that we can’t make it to lunch on Monday because they are going to induce me, but I’m not sure if it’ll be here or in Nashville, and that’s really all I know right now.”
And though I seem to remember hearing her agonized reply of “what?!,” all I really know is that I kept crying, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry” over and over.
In hindsight, I think being on the receiving end of this news had to have been worse than being the one to deliver it. After all, I think in my heart, I’d known the truth since late Friday night, so I’d had some time to process what was coming. For everyone who had to hear the news from me and Jim….I’m sure the shock was breathtaking.
Sadly, the words became easier to say with each person we needed to tell.
On the way to see my parents, we stopped at the home of Sara and Doug, Jim’s best friend for over twenty years. We had them visit us in Nashville just two weeks prior, and I felt so horrible that we would now be visiting under such different circumstances.
Poor Sara. I walked up on her back porch, and she immediately placed her hand on my belly: “Oh, my goodness, Mon! You’ve popped out so much just since last weekend!” Oh, how I wished I’d not had to burst her bubble. I don’t know that I’ll ever forget the look on her face as we stood there at sunset, holding each other and empty Tupperware.
Outside of our parents, Doug and Sara were the only people we let into our inner circle over the next three days. They are the kind of friends I pray my children grow to have: the ones who will split the cost of a prom limo, raise a toast you at your wedding, and rock one of your sons to sleep as you send the other back to heaven.
The last test of the night was telling the final set of parents. And I chickened out. Not to say that they didn’t find out. But can you figure out how we broke the news that something was wrong?
Yeah. I just didn’t take them off, and as we served up pieces of Papa John’s over the kitchen counter, I waited for someone to notice, which made for an easy if not awkward segue into how we’d spent our Saturday afternoon.
And while it’s hard to admit, because it sounds so desensitized, by the time we were saying the words for the fourth time in as many hours, all the emotion was gone. We delivered the news, ate our pizza, and went outside to play with not another word said about the baby.
I don’t remember changing Seth into his jammies or saying goodbye. I don’t remember driving the 45 miles back to my in-laws. I don’t remember if Jim and I talked on the way home, or if we were both lost in our thoughts.
The last memory I have of that day was stepping into my in-laws kitchen, and completely and totally falling to pieces in my mother-in-law’s arms, where I wept until I had no more tears.
To be continued …