Nine Months with Her, Nine Months Without

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A perfect storm arose today, and I buckled under it. Somewhere around 4:00 or 5:00, the most surprising and impactful unexpected wave of grief came up from behind and struck me down. I mean, I guess I sort of felt it brewing. But I did not expect it to form into F-5 intensity. F-5 being unrecognizable me, unless you’re familiar with the me that was a real mess around last February/March. There had already been the hormones and the weepiness that comes with it {that inevitable first day of “the cycle”}. There had already been two cancelations for two different things in one day and the disappointment I was feeling over that. There had already been complete disregard for e-mails I’ve sent, even months ago. There had already been pain and sadness over dissolved or dissolving relationships {casualties of loss or my grief?… not sure I’ll ever know}. There had already been a very tired version of me… overly tired… because I didn’t manage my time well and get to bed early enough the night before. There had already been my short temper {and regret over it} in an attempt to deal with my testing-me-wherever-he-possibly-can typical three-year-old. There had already been a struggle for me to adjust to a new load of work without a gradual entrance into such a schedule. There had already been tough conversations and unanswered calls. There had already been lack of confidence in my work or ability as a mom. There had already been my troublesome left eye. There had already been a child sick for the second time since school started and it isn’t even officially Fall yet. There had already been mixed emotions knowing it was the birthday of my young niece. And I might have even thought those were the only things I had to work through, rolled up into one big ball of “here you go… this is everyone’s life… deal with it.”

But then it hit me. And I knew right away that there was something hovering… just like it has every month over this past calendar year, especially month three and month six. And with the tree we bought last Sunday sitting on our deck as a constant reminder, I knew the 19th was on its way. I knew I’d very soon be opening a tiny wood box to see her ashes for the first time, only to bury them under the root ball of her tree. I knew we’d be planting that tree in just a couple of days, and I knew {what will likely be} the hardest day yet is near. But what really struck me as I realized why my heart almost stopped… or rather, my lungs must have, because I couldn’t seem to breathe… is that it’s been nine months.

It’s been nine months.

The same amount of time I had her.

At nine months, we will bury her. But even if that was not going to be, the nine-month mark is the hardest one yet.

For nine months, I held her. Nine months, she was with me… from that very first single malformed cell the day she was created, all the way up to every one of her 20-something billion malformed cells the day she died… she was with me for all of them.

Now, nine months, she’s been gone. Those cells, merely ashes. The time that has passed since she’s been gone seems like a lifetime compared to the amount of time she was with me. And still, in ways, it’s only yesterday she left.

And so, the super-cell of weepiness, disappointment and frustration rapidly evolved into a tornado of anxiety and sobbing. And I very unpreparedly cowered under a metal table in the basement until the winds had passed—metaphorically speaking, of course. And I may have called a couple different counselors and wrote to a handful of friends pleading “S.O.S. please pray.”

And then the storm passed. And I had dinner. And I read all seven thoughtful and lovely responses to my plea for prayer.

And now I’m typing about it, but without the words to express it, other than a very unpoetic depiction of one of my hardest days yet.

My hope is to save the beautiful parts {that I’m prayerful will be there} for the day when we actually plant the tree. Today was not pretty, though. It was ugly and messy and rather war-torn.

I wish I had a perfect e-mail with perfect words to share from that day she came to be… nine months prior to these nine months without. But there were no perfect, pretty e-mails around that time. So, instead, I’ll share what was written to me about a month in {from the friend who took these photos of me and Anysia}, before we knew anything was wrong or if I was even pregnant for sure. I had written her first to share my suspicions that I was pregnant. This was her response…

And, last but certainly not least!!  Pregnant????????  Georgia!!  I think I shrieked when I read that!  I know it’s not a for sure thing, but it makes me very excited for you if you are!  You are such a wonderful mom.  Seriously.  Seeing you with Isaac last September…you are perfectly laid back and lovely and just a natural.  Having a second would be a walk in the park for you!… I am so thrilled at the idea of another baby for you and Brac and a sibling for Isaac. I will be praying for whatever God’s will is in this.”

She’s still praying.

Where once there was a baby and with her, friends praying, there is no longer that precious little one.

But through my loss, God has spared friendships which I can lean on in the storms.

The more difficult truth to see… that He is present in the storms.

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Photographs by Stacey Montgomery