I must admit I wasn't all that excited to come home. It wasn't a home anymore. To me, home was going to be where the three of us lived and made memories. I had already played so many of them in my head throughout my pregnancy, it was as if Peanut was already here. But leaving the hospital with only flowers made it very clear that he was not, and he never would be.
That's the thing that gets me - he was so real and alive to me, not just in my belly, but in my heart. I had played out the first years of his life in my head, dreamed about them and debated over such things with my husband as his head rested on my belly, talking to Peanut. We would "argue" over what instrument he would play - cello or piano, what sport he would be in - soccer or swimming (though soccer was a given), what his favorite band would be - Foo Fighters or Linkin Park. All these things happened even before he was here, so it is hard to just turn them off. He was my son...IS my son. It's easy for people that aren't me or my husband not to think about him on a daily basis. People that would only have seen him when we went to visit can go on with their lives and not blink twice. To them, it may just have been a sad thing that happened. Anyone dying is sad, but a baby dying...that's almost taboo. But for me, it is something I think about constantly. Everywhere I go, everything I do makes me think, 'I shouldn't be here alone, he should be here with me.' or 'I shouldn't be here, I should be at home with my little boy.' But I digress...
What made it easier to come home was that we weren't alone. My mom and mother-in-law had stayed to help while my husband returned to work. My best friend and some of her family came to visit a few days after I got home. We went out to lunch and laughed. They love Owen as much as my husband and me and talk about him still. It is such a beautiful thing to have others acknowledge your child, especially when they are lost. My father and brother visited for a few days and that was amazing. I am such a daddy's girl. We have our own sense of humor and are like two peas in a pod. I loved having people visit because, for a time, I was distracted from the reality. And my reality was so sad, I couldn't stand it. I am such a happy person, ask anyone. My goal was pretty much to make people laugh. If I could make a living doing it, I'd be a stand-up comedian. But now, everything was so bleak, and I hated it. I wanted things to go back to how they were before, only to realize how impossible that truly is.
I was numb to everything. I would just sit and stare at nothing. Everything had lost meaning. What was the point, I thought. Nothing I did now mattered. Nothing I did, good or bad, would bring my son back, so what was the point? I must admit that a part of me went insane, a very microscopic part, but part of me nonetheless. The first few days, I thought, once I have suffered enough, I'll wake up from this nightmare and be able to appreciate him that much more. That maybe that was the test, how much could I bear? How much could I suffer until I said 'no more'. See what I mean? Nuts, right?
Now, I may take some heat for the following, but it's part of my story. My husband and his family are Chinese, a culture very different from my own Hispanic background. Now, neither of us adhere to many traditions, but his family is still very much in touch with tradition. When my mother-in-law told me to "get rid of everything, pictures and all" and that she would buy everything for us next time, I was dumbfounded. Here I was, two days out from the most horrific thing that will probably ever happen to me with only these things to remember Peanut, and she's telling me to get rid of them?! I didn't say anything but 'ok, ok' because of the language barrier, but this was far from over.
That night, before going to bed, I told my husband what his mom had said to me. He said she had told him too. I asked what he thought, but before he could answer, I vented. This is the gist of what I said: I have been very accommodating to his family and their traditions, but this is our family...our son. These are Peanut's things and I refuse to get rid of them. He agreed, but said I needed to understand that Peanut never knew these things, never touched them. Everything that was "his" (the blanket and clothes he was using) was cremated with him. I told him I did understand, but like I said, part of me went crazy. That small, crazy part of me felt that Peanut may come back (I have since come to my senses) and he would be sad to know that we had gotten rid of his things.
My mom stayed for six weeks, to the dismay of some. She was exactly what I needed to help me get through this. Having gone through multiple losses herself, she knew exactly how to comfort me. It's an odd thing - everyone suffers some type of loss in their lifetime, but losing a child is all it's own. It is easy to comfort someone who has lost a grandparent, parent or sibling, but something gets lost in the translation when comforting someone whose just lost their child. It is something that unless you have gone through it yourself, it is hard to understand. It is something I wish no one ever had to go through. She would stay home and just watch TV with me, or when I would get claustrophobic, we would venture out into the world. I can never thank her enough for dropping her life and coming to be with me.
It has been almost three months, and I am still very new to this "grieving the loss of a child", but I feel I am doing well. I have managed to donate some of the furniture in the nursery. We didn't want to sell them, making money off of our son didn't seem right. So we donated them. They were hand-me-down gifts from family and my husband decided that since my family was so generous at Peanut's baby shower, we can afford to buy Baby Cao #2 new furniture. However, the things that were once for Peanut, would now be his gifts to his brother or sister. Cute, huh? When he says things like that, it lets me know that I have chosen the right man to walk through life with. It shows me how much he truly loves Peanut, just as much as me, if not more being that he was a boy (fathers and their sons, you know?).