When I open my eyes each morning, the soft grayness of my room suggests that another day has arrived. As I roll over in my sheets, I am still groggy with sleep, but I am also still painfully aware of what woke me up. Absolutely nothing. I have the "luxury" of waking up as I so desire. There is no alarm clock, but, more importantly, there is no baby crying. My night was dark and quiet. My morning is equally as silent. There is no shuffling and whimpering from a baby monitor. There are no giggles, no coos, no burps. Sounds that should be filling the air do not - and the stillness hangs heavy like a lead curtain.
When I first came home from the hospital, I, not surprisingly, couldn't sleep. I woke up often throughout the night. Maybe it was my grief. Maybe it was my body anticipating the needs of a baby that wasn't there. Readying for cries that would never come. Every time I awoke in the darkness, I noticed how quiet it was. How absolutely silent my house was. How still. Now, as more time passes, I sleep in longer stretches. I can now make it for about 4 hours at a time. But when I do wake up, it is still to silence. And that is not going to change - at least not for a very long time.
Everything I do is punctuated by what's missing. I pick up a laundry basket to bring to the washing machine and I think of the tiny, pink clothes that should be inside it instead of the towels I'm carrying. I wash last night's dinner dishes and think of the little plastic tub that should have fit right where my hands are - the little plastic tub that would have held my baby as I bathed her, carefully shielding her bright, blue eyes from the soap. I get in my car without a car seat. I go to the park without a stroller. I sit on my couch without a baby in my arms. The very fact I know you are going to read these words I am writing is yet one more reminder of what I do not have. But really, when your entire life was centered and focused on bringing a baby into this world, there is nothing that is not a reminder. Nothing.
Every action, every thought, every decision has a shadow of death around it. Everything I do is done with the memory of what once was, and a sadness for what is not to be. Everyday events that haven't changed become burdened with the knowledge that they should have. Every discussion is peppered with words that are uttered because she is gone.
My baby is gone. Everything that could have been is gone with her. The hole left in my daily life is bigger than any patch I could make to mend it. The silence created in her absence is louder than any noise I could make to fill it. And the silence is deafening.