After dropping off Benjamin at daycare this morning, another mom said cheerfully to me, "Spring is coming!"
Oh shit. Is it?
I'm not sure my grief is ready for spring.
Lydie was to be a winter baby, due exactly one week before Christmas, but arriving via scheduled c-section, 6 days before that. December 12th. For eight months, I thought it was terrible timing. Poor girl would have to share her birthday month with Christmas. Poor mom and dad would have figure out presents 13 days apart and hope family would travel in for birthday parties that close to Christmas.
Not to mention, having a newborn in the darkness of winter: how would we get out? How often would we be able to leave the house? How would we get fresh air? How would this mama not go stir-crazy?
This mama had obviously not been through life-shattering events, considering these were the things she worried about.
Instead, Lydie was born silently near the end of fall, one week after accompanying her big brother trick-or-treating, as he started out shy and then ended up running up people's driveways. One neighbor gave me a piece of candy "for the baby."
About two weeks after Lydie died, Justin and I asked each other, "Are we always going to be known as 'the people whose baby died' in our neighborhood?" Before, we'd been known as the "people with the bad dog," since Ozzie had not only learned to scale our four foot fence, but caused two different neighbors to call the cops on him when he did so. We heard a story of how neighbors referred to him "Kujo," making our house, "Kujo's house." So embarrassing.
Soon after that conversation, Justin and I went outside to rake leaves. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, and we thought we'd cry outside instead of inside. I hoped we wouldn't see neighbors, that people would leave us alone.
Not five minutes later, a woman I've never seen before charges through our yard, straight up to me. Who the hell are you? I'm thinking, before realizing she was hugging me and I was completely recoiling. I had just delivered my dead daughter, and I felt completely violated. I didn't want anyone to touch me, not even my mom, and here's this woman I've never seen in my life, charging into my own yard, and hugging me without even telling me who the fuck she is.
So I guess that answered our question, yes, you will now be known as the neighbors whose baby died.
"I know how you feel, this happened to me," the stranger says.
"Your baby died? You had to deliver your dead baby?" I ask.
"Well, no," she responds. "But it happened to a friend of mine." (I can't make this shit up).
I envisioned myself pushing her down to the ground and beating her with my rake. Instead, I nodded silently, as she asked if she could bring us cookies sometime soon.
The woman actually hugged me again before finally getting the fuck out of my yard, and a few weeks later, I've never been so glad to welcome winter. (And a side note: that woman, who apparently had heard our story from another neighbor, never did bring us cookies).
Winter meant early darkness, cold temperatures, neighbors leaving me alone.
Winter is appropriate for grief.
It has allowed me to hibernate, to put on my pajamas when I get home from work. When I do want to get out, it has allowed me to take my son to the empty, snowy playground. That same playground that is full of toddlers and parents with babies in the warmer months.
I'm not sure I'm ready to come out of hibernation. I'm not sure I'm ready for flowers blooming and cheerfulness and sunlight and moms pushing their babies in strollers.