When they say that the “stages” of grief are not linear, they are so right. I naïvely thought I was “done” with the denial stage and the bargaining stage. I went through a period, although I guess it was a pretty short one, where I at least felt like I had accepted that Hudson’s death had occurred, even though I had not accepted a damn thing else about it.
But the more I think about it, the more I think, How can it be? Yes, I know that she is dead, but really, what the hell does that mean? I think hard about what it means to be dead, and I just can’t get my brain to make any sense of it at all.
I look around at grown people around me all the time and think, How is it possible that ALL these people made it to adulthood, and Hudson never will?
I look at all the places her feet have touched, all the spots her head has rested, and I think, How can it be that she was here and now she’s not here? Every time I drive by the National Mall, I think about her running around with Bess in front of the National Monument at the Kite Festival and I think, How can it be that her little feet were just here on that grass, and now they will never be there again? We take Bess up to the field behind the seminary near our house, a favorite spot for walks, and I think the same thing. How can she not be here, watching Bess chase squirrels? I see her sippy cups in the cabinet (complete with a label with her name so they could keep them straight at school) and her spoons and forks in the drawer and think, How could it be that her little hands were just holding those, her little lips were just touching them, but now, somehow, they never will again? I look at her crib (we’ve finally started leaving her door open, although I don’t think it was a conscious decision as much as something we let happen once and then it was just supposed to be that way) and think it again. How can she be gone when she was just here, laying down on her tummy, snuggled with her bear? How can she be gone when she was just here, lifting her little head off the mattress and grinning when Bess and I opened the door to wake her up in the morning? How can she be gone when she was just here, standing up and crying over the railing when she was ready to get out of bed, then smiling and lifting her arms to me when I finally rescued her? DAMN IT, SHE WAS JUST HERE!
And then I think back to times “before.” Sometimes they seem like yesterday. Sometimes they seem like multiple lifetimes ago. Our bar trip/honeymoon to Hawaii. The day we found out we were pregnant with Hudson. The day Hudson was born. Our trip to the pumpkin patch last October. Hudson’s first fun with unwrapping gifts. Our sledding adventures with her during DC’s historic snows. Hudson’s first boat ride on Jordan Lake. We were so happy. So carefree. So innocent. So very naïve. How can it be that we will never be that way again? How can it be that we can’t go back and do this over? Some way that ends up with Hudson alive?
It just doesn’t make any sense.