It happens slowly, like a plant bending and curling its leaves toward the sun. You don't notice it happening, you just notice that is has. The slow crawl from dream-like denial to an unwelcome acceptance. My life has transitioned. Not really forward or backward - really more to the side. But, it is different from the first days. Not better or worse. Not lighter or darker. Different.
I have transitioned from the chaos of pain and disbelief into the recognition of reality. This reality. My reality. The reality that exists without my daughter.
It still hurts. It still feels as if I am missing an important part of myself - which I am - but I no longer wake up in the morning thinking she will be here. That little glimmer of misguided hope is now completely extinguished. I didn't really notice it was fading, but it was. And now, it's gone. This is my life. This is where I am. This is who I am because of it. There is no return. No magic potion. No miraculous machine. This is it.
As a result of this transition, my life is in limbo. I hover in the grayness between death and life. The death of my daughter and the life I still have to lead. I know she is gone and she is not coming back. I have accepted my fate as a mother without her child. This loss will always, always, always be a part of who I am. From now on, everything that happens will do so as a ripple from that heavy stone cast into the water. But, I am not entirely sure how to live my life without her. There are so many things I should be doing right now that I am not, so many things I will never do until there is another baby. I should be changing diapers and wiping up spit up. I should be washing onesies and fastening car seats. But, I am not - and I will not for at least another year. So, I wait.
I have transitioned into waiting. I am still mourning. I am still hurting. I am still shaking my fist in anger. But, now I am also waiting. Waiting for my life as a mother to resume. Waiting for a part of me to feel whole again.
Even when there are more children - even when my daily life is full of what it should be - there will always be a part missing. That is what I have come to accept. The hole in my heart will never heal. It will become less jagged around the edges, but it will always be open and weak. I will always ache for her. The joy I find in life from now on will always be tinged with a little bit of sorrow - because she is not here to share it with me.
That is the transition. The movement from "Dear God, why?!" to "So, that's how it is." This is it. She is gone. I am here. And life goes on. Day after day after day. I will wake up without her. I don't really know how to do that - but I do it anyway. And I will for the rest of my life.