That is what this feels like—like I am living in an alternate reality. I guess I’ve felt somewhat like this since the beginning, but as the holidays and Hudson’s birthday have crept nearer, I feel it even moreso. Everything around me seems familiar: the jingle bells in Christmas songs playing at the grocery store, the smell of greenery waiting to be sold, the cold, crisp air and overcast sky, the party invitations, the holiday sale coupons in the mail, the tear-jerking Christmas commercials on TV (thank goodness for DVR), stores’ holiday decorations strewn from ceilings and everything else that will stand still.
And yet nothing seems familiar at all. My child is dead. It is the day before Thanksgiving, and I spent it at home alone doing laundry and baking, instead of making lists and meticulously packing the dozens of little things one must remember when traveling with a toddler, while trying to keep an eye on said busy toddler in the meantime. I made some white chocolate Chex mix and all I could think about was how much I wished Hudson were here to nosh on some. Tomorrow morning, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be on, but Hudson’s not here to watch it with me like I used to do when I was little. We’ll spend the day with Hudson’s grandparents, just like last year, but she won’t be there for us to enjoy. She won’t be here in the coming weeks to celebrate her birthday or help us put up the Christmas tree or watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or learn to sing Jingle Bells. She’s just… gone.
Truly, this very often feels like I am just outside of myself, outside of this life, looking in on it and wondering what is going on there. Because surely this can’t really be my life. I find myself looking ahead to future events and picturing her in them before I can catch myself and remember that she is really gone. That she is never coming back. This just can’t be my life. This just doesn’t happen.
I’m clearly suffering through a fresh round of denial. I’ve never had a day where I didn’t feel a moment of utter disbelief that this really happened, but it has gotten worse again lately. I no longer wake up in the morning with that first thought of “Was this all just a terrible dream?” But there’s no doubt that part of me is still hoping to wake up one of these days and be back in my old life, where Hudson will be with us tomorrow scarfing down turkey and dressing and sweet potatoes. Where she will be celebrating her birthday next week with Elmo cupcakes her mommy made for her. Where she will learn for first time about the excitement of opening stocking on Christmas morning.
It is clear to me that part of me still harbors some insane desperate hope that if I hurt enough, if I long for her enough, if I write all this down enough times, somehow I can make my way back through that barrier that separates this life from my old one, and I can have my girl back.
Oh, how I want her back.