Last year at this time, I was in a strange warp zone, not sure where I was, but quite sure that I had been swept up in the backdraft of an alien space ship, and sooner or later they would put me down. How is it possible to grieve a baby, to have a baby that is dead and gone, a full 14 weeks before that baby should have come? How do you explain, how do you go from 26 weeks pregnant to not pregnant and mum to a dead baby, in just a few moments? How do you do that? And how do you live out that time? I did it, but still don't know quite how.
I remember it felt like I was living out of time. I breathed a sigh of relief, in some sense, when Gabe's due date passed. That time out of time sensation was gone. It didn't hurt any less, but at least I knew where I was in time.
And I'm back in that feeling. In the normal world, the real world, the just world, the world I want to live in, I would be going back to work today, for the first time. My years' maternity leave would have ended today. Starting today, I am supposed to be here. Another period of time out of time is over.
This morning, for the first time, I would have driven a station wagon to work, dropping my son off at daycare first. I would have picked him up out of his car seat, I would have kissed him good-bye, and probably cried myself, as I drove off to work.
I would have parked in the same spot, I would have crossed the street, walked through the doors of my office tower, taken the elevator up to my floor, and sat at my desk. I would walk in, be happy, tell stories of my year off. I would have a frame with a photo of my child for my desk. I would complain that I was tired, not used to wearing heels and a suit. I would maybe laugh that I had cut my hair short, too busy, needed mum hair.
Perhaps I would have logged in to the CCTV that the daycare I chose had. Perhaps I would have called the lovely owner. I can hear myself calling. "How is he doing?" Laughing. "I know, neurotic. Harder on me than him. He's doing fine. I know. We tried this out before I came back. I know it will get easier. "
I would have done all those things today.
Most days I can remember what is, and not spend too much time focusing on what should have been. Most days, I can live in the here and now, and in the here and now, Gabriel is not a little boy that I dropped off at daycare, he's dead.
Some days, this day, the space between those two worlds, the space between what is and what should be, it is so tiny, and so frustratingly huge. Small enough for me to see what should have been, to almost taste it, but far, far too wide for me to navigate my way across.
All I can do is wake up and carry on: knowing, remembering, aware, telling you all, this could have been a different day.