Today, I feel guilty for feeling better yesterday. I know it’s a normal thing, this one step forward, one step back dance. I know the guilt is normal too.
That doesn’t make sitting at my desk crying any easier.
I look at photos and realize that I have to really work to remember what Lennox looked like. I saw so little of him and we have so few photos of him. Most of them were taken by the nurse that last day, when we held him. I can’t look at those right now. My brave Lennox never knew a moment when he didn’t hurt, when he didn’t have to fight for every breath, every heartbeat. His entire body was bruised purple from iv sticks, from chest tubes, from simply being brought into this world. He never knew how it felt for me to hold him. He never heard my voice.
I’m starting to lose my memories of what Zoë looked like, too. I look at that photo from the day I got to hold her and I want to warn that happy, smiling woman. I want to tell her she only has a few more days left, to stay sitting in that chair a little longer, to look closer. She needs to read more stories. She needs to jump at every opportunity the nurses offer to change diapers, to wipe her mouth. I want to let her know that this is it, her only chance and she needs to wring every bit out of every minute because she won’t have another chance, that that memory of little toes wriggling against her chest is going to have to last a lifetime. I wish she hadn’t gotten so frustrated about bad days that she left the NICU sooner than usual. I made excuses, saying it was best if we just got out of the nurse’s way, if we let Zoë get some rest without us agitating her. Really, I was just scared, frustrated, annoyed. But I always thought there would be another visit later, another chance to see her.
I wish I’d taken more photos of Shannon with her. There’s only the one of him holding her above her bed and a few of his hand on her back, or cleaning her mouth. He spent so many visits talking to her, calming her down by wrapping his hand around her whole body. I should have been recording those moments.
I miss them so much.