Saturday October 5th: the day that was supposed to be the most exciting day of my life. A date that will forever be etched onto my soul. I awoke, peaceful. My new surroundings–crisp white sheets, rumpled by the night, in a minimalist hotel room with French doors overlooking the desert garden–momentarily distracted me. What’s today? Oh… yes…
The day before, DH and I escaped to Desert Hot Springs, CA. It was fairly last minute, but we found the perfect place in Hope Springs: a small boutique hotel with an atmosphere described as ‘quiet’ on the website. True to its word, all us guests lay around reading books and nodding to each other as we entered one of three natural mineral spas–one hot, one warm, and one slightly cool, all heated by the earth. The gardens were lush with palm trees, cacti, and succulent flowers. The rooms were minimalist with concrete floors, surprisingly warm underfoot. Breakfast included a wonderful choice of loose leaf teas, fresh fruit, dates (in season now), bread, cheese, yoghurt. It was all very Zen.
When we arrived, a small wedding was taking place–just the happy couple and two of their friends. I watched them pose for photos, grinning, goofing around, and was struck by the juxtaposition: this is the happiest day of their life, and this is one of the saddest of mine. Strangely, it didn’t make me feel worse. I was wistful.
I dived into the pool and felt the shock of my hot body rapidly cooling as I entered the water. I gasped when I resurfaced. I expected something in the depths to pull me down again — it feels like every time I come up for air, there’s another blow — but none came. I began to trust these waters beneath the deep blue cloudless sky. I floated on my back and imagined my sorrows being washed away. I exhaled underwater, allowing my limp body to gently sink, and hovered above the bottom. There, I curled up and, for a few seconds at a time, pretended I was unborn, the bubbling whoosh of the jets an easy interpretation for my mother’s heartbeat.
Reborn and contemplative, I took out the book that I plan to hollow to make a memory box. I’ve had it since May, but didn’t have the courage to begin work on it before. In August, I decided I would wait until October 5th to make the first incision. My exacto knife poised, I cut through several pages at a time, leaving a 1.5cm border to hold my Bean’s mementos. The first cut is the deepest, sang my brain. I was pleased it couldn’t remember the rest of the tune. There was no song for this occasion. I hollowed out 1/4 of the book, determined and dry-eyed.
But it wasn’t until after we made love that I cried. I clung to the sheets but DH gently prised my body from its stiff pose and folded me into his arms.
And so I quietly and discreetly mourned the loss of my Bean, knowing I may never know him or his genetic brothers and sisters. I am sad, but trying to look forward–Saturday’s undue date brought with it some relief. I no longer have to count the weeks of how far along I would have been (coincidentally, the week of my pregnancy correlated with the week of the year, so it was hard to avoid seeing in my diary). I am lucky to be married to a kind and loving man such as DH. I am lucky for the good friends I have, some through friendship, others through blood, others through marriage. And some friends are online and faceless and told me the day wouldn’t be nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I can’t put my hand on my heart and say they were right, but I am freer and looser for having surrendered to my grief, and watched it for 32 long weeks. I may be sad, but it would be untrue to say that I am not also calm and hopeful.