So, I just got out of the shower - or as I have come to call it, the Crying Cubicle. It could be the warm, comfort of the water or the fact that it's a small, confined space that feels safe - but most likely it's because in the shower, I am forced to actually see my body and what it has become. My stomach is deflated and empty. It is no longer the rounded basketball it was just a few weeks ago. I no longer look like I am full of promise and hope and new beginnings. My stomach - like my heart - sags with a hollow sadness.
Every time I see my belly as it is, my hand automatically flutters to where she used to be, as if I could by some miracle actually feel her again. As if she might suddenly reappear inside. But she doesn't. She won't. And the paper thin ribbon that has been holding me together that day rips apart and I shatter all over again.
Imagine a metal claw, similar to one in those toy machines, reaching into your chest, its cold fingers piercing your heart, tearing through the slippery softness as easily as butter. You bend forward in pain, your body breaking, your soul screaming. Then, once it has ripped your insides to shreds, it snaps its fingers open like an explosion, sending bits of you flying everywhere. Bloody. Unrecognizable. Leaving you to, somehow, piece yourself back together. And you do, because you have to. And you retie that tattered ribbon around your broken parts so that you can go out into the world. Even though you know it will just happen again. And again. And again. Yeah, it's like that. Every day. Every time.
In the shower, I can't hide under my clothes. I can't distract myself with washing dishes or checking email. In the shower, I am alone. Exposed. Vulnerable. I touch my belly. I clean my scar. And I remember. I remember washing a very different stomach not that long ago. I remember singing "Baby Beluga" to her while I washed my hair. I remember her kicking and moving. I remember what it felt like to love someone I had never met - and I remember what it felt like to lose her. And then, I lose her all over again.
People like to tell me that things will get easier - with time. Already, there are some things that are easier - like getting out of bed or doing regular daily activities. But this part of my life has not gotten easier. Not one tiny bit. Like a tormented ghost re-experiencing her own murder night after night in a terrible time loop, I feel the pain of losing her every time I take a shower. It's just as horrific as the first time. It is not easier at all. I hope with every shredded fiber of my being that it does get easier. How many times can a person fall apart before they can no longer be put back together? How much can one weary heart take?