Half of this was written on the bathroom floor, and I couldn't bring myself to read through and edit it, so sorry in advance if there are any typos/grammatical errors.
I was going to post another day of Amsterdam, but I wanted to talk about Carter today. It's going to get real, and if I say anything that makes you feel like you should apologize to me, please don't. That's not what I'm getting at, I just wanted to write about how I feel.
I wrote about this two weeks ago, but it has still been looming over me. Honestly, I don't know that it will ever go away, but I wish my anxiety about it would just simmer down. I'm afraid of a lot of things in life, spiders, snakes, death, heights, the dark, but I've never been so afraid of anything as much as I fear people forgetting about Carter. It's a very strange feeling, to have carried a baby for nine months, have the ultrasounds hanging on your fridge, all the clothes washed and in his dresser, have the crib and bassinet set up, ready for a little body, and then never get to bring him home. I've said it before, but I'm the kind of person that over-prepares for everything. It feels like that's what I've done. Like, in preparation to maybe have a baby someday, I bought all this stuff, and even went so far as to have other people buy it for me, and I washed everything and I hung pictures on the wall and I straightened the sheet in his crib, just in case I one day was lucky enough to get pregnant and bring a baby home. And then I think about being in the hospital, and sitting at the cemetery, and I look at pictures of him, and sometimes I just wonder, whose life is this? Whose life am I witnessing because it surely isn't mine. It's not solid or tangible enough to be mine. I can't grasp onto any fleeting memory strong enough or long enough to recognize it as my own. It all went too fast.
But I, as his mother, am the only person that knows how it felt to carry him, to feel his little kicks, to feel the contractions and to go through the process of delivering him and know the pain of recovering emotionally as well as physically. I am the only person that knows what it's like to watch my husband hold his son and gently kiss him on the forehead as he cries.
Other people know our pain. They read our stories and they see Carter's pictures and I know they know him and love him. For now. But what happens in one or five or ten years when everyone's lives get busier and our pain lessens, and not every single thing I post is tinged with a hint (or a heap) of sadness? How is everyone else supposed to remember when some days I feel like none of it was real?
It means so much to have people write or say his name. It means the world to me when other people validate that he was real because sometimes it feels like he wasn't. There are days that I can't validate it myself, and other people, unknowingly, do it for me. But what about when no one does that anymore? What about when other people have babies born on October 27, and no one remembers the little boy born that didn't get to live with his parents?
I don't feel like a real mom, because my son is not here. What if, down the road, people will forget about the son I had in 2016? What if they look at our family, me and Brandon and whatever kids we have at home, and they forge about the one that isn't there? What if we move away and no one goes to see him? What if our future kids get made fun of because they talk about a brother that lives in heaven?
What if what if what if.
What if Brandon and I are the only two people that ever remember him? Realistically, that's all that really matters. But what about when people forget that I have a giant, permanent hole in my heart? What about when someone wants me to do something on October 27 and I don't want to? Will they remember why I spend the whole day crying, or will they just tell me I'm too sensitive and need to get over it? How long is it okay to not be okay? Because right now, it feels like it will be forever.