The dream of being a mother was more like a nightmare. It had given me relentless hope and endless despair. After 8 miscarriages, I thought there was no crueler fate. But alas, there was….I could no longer conceive and the thought wrecked me in ways I thought I had become immune to. With each miscarriage, there was always this fleeting hope that one of these pregnancies would result in a baby…..always a next time, always a “maybe this is the one,” always hope for a different outcome. Then even THAT was ripped from me, as months turned into a year and then two without a pregnancy. I scolded, blamed, and despised myself. In my mind, I had destroyed my already broken body with the endless losses, and the thought was ever in my mind…..there would be no more pregnancies. No more hope, no more wishing….only a vast empty void of longing for something I would never have.
I think, Scotty breathed a sigh of relief that our once easy conception had become another futile attempt that bore no results. He had tired of seeing me ruined, the endless heartache that I endured, and I think that perhaps he believed that normalcy would return. He had resided in the knowledge that I was not meant to carry a child or be a mother. Much to my dismay he seemed to embrace this new found freedom from this unrelenting journey to nothingless. I think he earnestly hoped that I would come back to him…..the girl who was “unbroken,” the girl that was so carefree, so full of life, but that was no longer me. I couldn’t give him that. I couldn’t give up now. I couldn’t allow all my heartache and grief to be in vain. I needed to find the place that I could grieve, and I couldn’t do this by his side. Why, you ask? How could I remain by his side when my one and only dream was supposed to be forgotten, all my babies that I had lost….FORGOTTEN?
So, I began to see him as the enemy. The one that was happy to just be us. To walk away from the thing I desired the most, it was unthinkable. The distance between us separated us like a sunrise divided the sky and the ocean. I was unfair, I was disillusioned but I knew what I wanted and he was passed the point of finding a remedy. I spent many nights falling asleep by his side, tears soaking my pillow as he drifted off into oblivion. I could hear his breaths coming in and out like a man who had no worries in the world. I couldn’t sleep, I would just listen to his breathing, wondering how it must feel to be at peace, and even hating him for it. I needed him, he was there but he was absent. My heart burned with a fire so intense that nothing could put the flames out. I was nothing but ash, nothing but loss, nothing but hopeless, and I felt like…just that…. simply nothing.
Our lives were so far apart, he was a calming wave lapping against a peaceful seaside, and I was the tornado wanting to destroy all the destruction I had been faced with. I wanted to rip apart every piece of my existence, wanted to be someone else, I wanted to forget and maybe move forward. But how could I? Part of me was missing, a part that I couldn’t survive without. I couldn’t be what he needed, and he couldn’t give me what I desired…..a partner who would go to any measures to find my way to my destinations.
To stop now, would mean that my losses were for naught, that my pain wasn’t justified and that after everything, I was even further from my place of rest. My place of rest was a nursery, a babe in my arms, sitting in my rocker looking at my child and finding my child cooing up at me. I daydreamed about this place, the immense power of a moment like that but it was as impossible as swimming across the ocean…I couldn’t find my shore. Scotty had been my lighthouse and now it had also burnt out. I was left alone in a sea as vast as far as the eye could see. While he sat upon the shoreline oblivious to the waves that crashed over me, again and again, feeling my lungs up until I couldn’t breathe. My tired limbs, depleted of energy simply gave way….and slowly I sank…I sank into the depths of mourning, into the blackness of the water as it pulled me in. I knew when I emerged I would be forever changed. I found my footing after several deaths across that sea. But when I arose on the sands of the shore, I was different. The facade had died as well, I had to face the fact that I would never be a mom. The pain was tremendous but Scotty was a reminder of everything that I would never have. Though I may never have it, I could not bare to accept that he hadn’t fought for something I needed, he didn’t care…or so it seemed.
So one lonely night as the tears fell down my face and the realization that I would never find my heart again. I packed my things and left. It would be a long journey, one of treachery, and wrong decisions but one I had to face inevitably. I was going to start a new path, going to give up on everything and just be a new version of myself. Someone who would create her own happiness, someone with disregard to everyone I loved. I walked away, feeling like if I could get away from the reminders of all the heartache, if I ventured far enough the past couldn’t touch me, right? Well, this is what I disillusioned myself into believing…it almost worked…..except Scotty wouldn’t let me forget…he wouldn’t let me quit. He kept reminding me of us, of what we once shared, offering me hope for a happy ending. I will never know how he was strong enough to keep coming back, keep searching for me, keep seeking me even when I resisted! I didn’t make loving me easy during this time, I shut down every emotion, every thought, every memory…..because if I spotted any semblance to my history I knew I would crumble.
But onward, he courted me……cards left on the doorstep, phone calls that I rejected, texts to tell me I was on his mind, flowers on the hood of the car, and he kept wooing me. I disregarded every effort he made…until the day that I didn’t. It was his weekend to get his son, my stepson, who I had grown to love like my own. Upon much persuasion, Scotty convinced me that I should come visit, I could have the bedroom, we would do board games and be cordial. That night was a turning point in our relationship. I am not sure when I forgot to forget all the things I loved. But somewhere in the midst of monopoly, pizza, a preteen aged boy, lots of laughter, my shell started to crack when I wasn’t being vigilant. Scotty, was sneaky about it, knowing that if I realized that he was trying to win my heart that I would be lost forever. Long after the youngest in our crowd had fallen asleep, we continued on, talking about silly nothings, laughing like hyenas, and then just as I planned I retreated to what was once our room….alone.
This continued on for a few months, visiting on the weekends, separate rooms, movies, and talks…it wasn’t long until I realized all the things I had tried to forget were the very things I always wanted to remember. I found myself anxiously awaiting our weekend together, waiting beside the phone for his call, sending him random texts because I couldn’t stop thinking about him. One weekend, I came over and Tyler had decided to spend the night with friends, but I concluded a leisurely night in my own bed sounded heavenly…all the running, hiding, and trying to disappear turned out to be quite exhausting. We spent the night playing dominoes, listening to music, watching youtube videos…..as the night drew to a close, once more I retreated to our master bedroom. As if someone lifted the veil from my eyes, all of the resistance gave way and I was forced to truly see. I tried to close my eyes but the bed felt so empty…..as empty as I had been feeling. I ran my hand over the side of the bed that he had once inhabited, I felt tears pool in my eyes before landing on my pillowcase. I got up, flipped on the light and looked around the room…..it looked the same as the day I had walked out almost 6 months before. A picture of me in my wedding dress sat on the dresser, I leaned down and picked it up. There I was, I didn’t see me in the mirror these days, but there I was the blushing bride……and love looked good on me. I needed to remember, every painful bit of it. I sunk to the floor and ran my hand under the bed until it rested on the object to which I was searching….our memory box. I swiped the dust off of the top, and opened it. Inside were love letters, ticket stubs to movies or receipts to places we had gone, pictures of us….I began to read each letter one from him, then a response from me, dozens of letters we had accumulated over the years. Some brought a smile to my face, and others diminished me to a puddle of tears.
In some letters we were happy, others we were struggling to find our way, but in each one thing was the same……we loved each other. I broke down, crumbling to the floor, how did I deserve this man who loved the most unlovable version of me? Who sought me when I spurned him? Who chased me from the tops of mountains through the driest desert? Who thwarted every attempt he made to show me that he loved me? And the part that terrified me the most is not only had I never stopped loving him (against my own desire), but somewhere along the way I had fallen in love with him all over again. Before I had time to change my mind, or overthink it, I opened the door and ran to the couch where he slumbered and kissed him. The torture that had been in the depths of his eyes melted away and let me know that he was my forever. The good, the bad, the ugly….I couldn’t do this life without him. We talked until the sun broke through the clouds, we talked about where we go from there, and he opened up. Explaining that he always wanted a little girl with me but with all my complications he didn’t want to add any pressure……with me leaving he had recognized that whatever it took he would make that dream come true. We would have a family one way or the other, and how that happened didn’t matter to us. My heart felt peace for the first time in so long that I wept with joy. Life was hard but it was harder without him by my side, without him life was unlivable!!!!!!!!!!!! I fell asleep on his chest……the first time I had slept in months and I felt safe, secure……and at long last at home. Home would and would always be where Scotty was…….I could run, hide, disappear but my heart would always reside with him. To forget him, would be forgetting all the important parts of myself. I embraced all the sadness allowing it to fill in the cracks under the surface but no longer allowing it to break me…….and just when I was at peace with just being “us” a bit longer…..a miracle happened when “us’ expanded to “us plus one”!!!!!