Breathing Again After Death

The changes taking place in me; inside my mind, my spirit, my heart and all that makes me who I am in this moment, started on November,  26th, 2013. That’s the day that I found out (despite the many doctors telling me it’d be almost impossible), I was pregnant.

It was Black Friday –  after our first Thanksgiving together. We had just arrived back to our South City flat the night before; we’d been to my mothers for Thanksgiving, and the only reason we’d even made the trip back was because he had to work. He was the newest hire so that meant he was stuck with the holiday shifts, nobody else wanted. But, fortunately his courier position allowed him to sometimes stop by the flat during his route. That day he came home for lunch; purely to pressure me into getting a pregnancy test, by insisting I “just get it over with.” Considering the newness of our relationship and not wanting to fuss over something silly, I promised him I would go get a test, as soon as he left to go back to work. Also, I thought it best to get it out of the way prior to making the trip back down south, to rejoin the holiday events at my mothers. I don’t remember buying the test exactly… Due, mostly to the fact that, I “knew” there was no chance I was pregnant! I do, however, very specifically remember the moments that followed, once returning home from Wal-Greens. I’d peed into a plastic cup and dipped the stick (I knew I’d never be able to piss directly on that fucker!), and I called him as I dipped the tip into the plastic cup.  He answered as I was sitting the stick onto the side of the bathtub. I had barely enough time to tell him what step in the process I was on, before two of the brightest pink lines I’d ever seen in my life, popped up clear as day. Indicating, I’d defied the odds and gotten pregnant. 

My chest tightens slightly at the memory of those emotions even now… I don’t ever recall having so many thoughts and feelings at any other point, in all my 27 years of existence. I was terrified. My insides turned, as the breath left my lungs, and my eyes flooded with giant salty tears. Panic set in. The sound of his voice through the phone, is the only thing that could have  brought me back to reality. “SO?! What’s it say?!?!” he excitedly demanded from the other end of the connection. I choked back enough tears to make out a whisper… 

“I’m pregnant…”

After that, it didn’t take long for me to start the normal “expecting mother” habits; buying baby clothes, looking at names and hospitals. Thinking about where we lived and “how our child could never go to a inner city school.” Attaching my identity to the role I would soon take, as a mother. Maybe, even a wife? We may have only been together a short time, but!!, we were in love!!  We were making life together; we would make a family together. It didn’t take long before my thoughts had projected far into the future – Will we have more kids? We can’t have only one child, every kid needs a sibling! Will we buy a house or rent? Should we move closer to family?! You know, those thoughts our brains automatically start running on a loop.  Little did I know – those thoughts, the plans, the life I’d made for us my little family, would never become what I expected. This truth would be devastating to my reality. 

My son died September, 6th, 2014.

He was laying on my chest in the very living room of the flat my water broke in, 4 & 1/2 months early. The same flat I’d learned of my pregnancy in, only two short years prior. He died there. After what I thought, at the time, was a horrible and agonizing existence. 

He was born weighing less than 2 lbs, 1.5 lbs, if I remember correctly. Unfotunately, during delivery; he suffered lots of trauma, due to his tiny undeveloped and delicate little body, and almost didn’t survive the experience of birth. Traumas which resulted in several disabilities, and more doctors visits and hospitalization then any one person should have to experience in an entire lifetime. Let alone in just a two short years of life. Delivery was no cake walk for me either; I nearly met my end, as well. Because, of too much blood loss during my emergency C-Section, and not being unable to infuse me fast enough. Not to mention the bad case of sepsis I’d caught, from sitting in leaking amniotic fluid for nearly 3 days, prior to the doctors deciding to take him. A blood infection, that eventually caused a temperature of 104.5 and a near comma. Needless to say… the experience had not been what I’d expected, what I’d planned, or what it was “supposed to be”.  For either of us. 

The night he died we were all there; the weeks leading up to this point, told us it would not be long and our family and friends gathered around as support, throughout this time of unimaginable of terror. I can remember the sound of his last little breath. I will never, in a thousand lifetimes, be able to forget that sound. The sound of his life energy leaving his body, the body of the child I grew with love inside of me, the child I’d have killed for or happily died in place of… He was gone. And, what followed was yet another turn to the unexpected. Something I could not have in a million years ever anticipated. Even if I had, it wouldn’t have changed what was to come. Because, you simply cannot change the laws of the universe. I’d lost a piece of me, the most important piece of me and my heart broke. Or, a more fitting description it was ripped violently in two. So, as if instinctual, I followed suit. I died. In more ways then one… How can live without their heart?

A friend, who was there the night of his death said to me once “Jordan…the noises that came from you in the moments after his death… They were noises I’ve never heard before in my life. Unnatural sounds… I can’t explain or describe, but I know for sure, I never want to hear anything like that again in my life”. I didn’t know it then, how could I have, but those sounds were the sounds of my heart breaking. The sounds of a mother who lost her child. The sound of a mother dying from heart break. Heart break so deep and with such intensity; that it threatened my very soul, and devoured my being. In the moments after his death; and many more moments, days, and months after, I was dead right along with my boy. And, the physical pain I felt within my chest cavity, served as a constant reminder of my undead state. Of the complete and utter emptiness that consumed (what was left) of me.

 I was void. 

I have faint memories of adults, while growing up, talking about how loosing a child is “unnatural” or “goes against the natural order” of things. And, I’ve known of women who have lost a child, and never been the same. Possibly, because they were unable start to breathing again, unable to come back to life? And, if I’m honest, I see the appeal in that – in staying in the darkness and the emptiness forever. In giving up on trying to live with a broken heart. Because, even now, two years later I can still sometimes feel that familiar pain in my chest cavity.

However, I will not remain a member of the undead. I cannot let the changes started by my son and the experience of his life, not lead me to evolution. Because, what I viewed as an agonizing life, I can see now, was the exact opposite. He wasn’t unhappy, in fact he was always happy. Happier then me. He wasn’t broken, he was truly whole. More whole then me. His life taught me that the broken really are the more evolved; and he was more evolved then me. He loved bigger then I ever thought one little human being could love, and he taught me that I should strive to do the same. He showed me in those two tiny years, how to let go of judgements and attachments, how to accept and love those around me without expectations. Including myself. His existence made me a better me. It forced me to look past the material and look inside; to find the true me, and let that badass goddess out of her cage. He taught me that I can, if I choose (and I do!) to be forever grateful for my broken, scared, and managed heart. Because, without that beat up mutha, I would have never seen the death of the person I once was. I would not be able to be the person I am now. 

…I will not remain a member of the undead.

Most importantly – my son brought me back to life after his death.