Friday, December 26, 2014

Need to Remember

#writeingrief Day 19-What do you want to remember? What do you wish to forget?


It’s not what I want to remember. It’s what I need to remember. The need to remember everything is a desperate feeling that all of it will be lost. These last few months have been full of flashbacks of my time that I had with Alaska when she was alive.
Telling the boys that they were going to have a baby sibling.
Pushing people away when they tried to touch my bump.
Debating names and finally deciding.
Telling people our name choices.Not caring when they said things like, “Don’t name your daughter Alaska.”
Waking up starving in the middle of the night and eating a sandwich.
Making guesses about whether we had a new son or a daughter.
Seeing our healthy, alive baby during the first ultrasound.Buying dresses that had plenty of room for a growing bump.
Feeling the tiniest flutters of movement from baby Alaska.Feeling her move for the last time that I remember. (And now wondering whether she was distressed, perhaps dying in that moment.)
Snuggling in bed with my family, watching a movie on Christmas night. Perfection in that moment: Putting my hand on my little bump and holding our boys.
Wondering whether I would need to get a new winter coat.
Taking pictures of my small bump.
Watching as my doctor moved the Doppler around on my belly.
Joking that we must have quite a stubborn little one who would be giving us a run for our money.
Taking the phone call that told us we had a little girl. A daughter. Deciding for sure that her name was Alaska Eileen.

This need to remember the happiest times in my life is answered with the need to remember all of it. The rest of the story.
The still baby on the second ultrasound screen.
The “no heartbeat” and “we can’t find the heartbeat” and “your baby died, I don’t know why.” 
The six failed attempts at starting an IV and the bruises left behind. 
Holding my belly in the hospital bathroom. Grasping it from every angle. Trying to commit the feeling to my memory. Knowing that in a few moments or hours that knowledge would begin to fade. 
Searching for pictures of babies who would be the same size to prepare for what we would see. 
The contractions that didn’t work.
Flipping out at my own mortality.
Quitting so that I could just get home to my alive family.

I don’t want to forget any of it, but I know I have already lost details. I can’t remember what it was like to be pregnant with Alaska. I have these little snippets that are covered in her ashes. I will take these grey memories, though. I will cherish them for as long as my mind will let me.