Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Cold Hard Place

August 2008
One day my unborn child, who had already enchanted me, was handed down a sentence, unearned and unjustified, and it became my passport to the molten center of my life’s core. In the beginning the adrenaline fueled by my fear protected me. After that, I cried and I cried until I was empty and speechless, and then I slowly learned a new language... one that gave me hope of a way out, one that reminded me that there may not be one.

And now I wait. I watch my baby’s body war with itself. I feed off the brief glimpses of normalcy... a coo, a cry of hunger, a dirty diaper. I stare into eyes that do not know what I know, that do not fear what I fear. I wonder if the coin tossed high will land on my call, and if I will still be able to gaze into these eyes tomorrow. I am afraid to leave her, afraid to go home, afraid that she will die while I shower, or kiss a different child goodnight.

I pray, (and perhaps I bargain and make undeliverable promises). I walk alone into the temple with my paltry sacrifice, and I go one on one with God. I am terrified that He will ask for this child, and that I will not be able to answer.

Specialists, with stacks of medical degrees, confer at her bedside. They can not give me the answer. They can not write the end of this story for me. These chapters that hang between living and dying are fraught with needles and drugs, wires and tubes... the life support tools of the trade. Fancy machines monitor her score with numbers blinking red and ever changing. Alarm bells ring for more troops and battalions charge in to rescue her in these moments.

I am so tired in my head. I feel like we have been marching for days on end with no food or sleep. I feel as though I might drop her before we reach our destination, and that if I do, this will all be over, and her death will go on forever.

So I sit, awake in the cold hard space between life and death, watching her, waiting on her. I touch her soft warm skin, bruised and torn. I lean in close and sniff her baby scent. Heaven’s perfume still lingers on her. I swallow down everything that is outside of this breath of her. I push it into the tight ball that has taken over my stomach. I cannot let anything distract me from memorizing this instance of her... because I’ll need it someday, no matter how this story ends, I know I’ll need it.

(I read this post and it took me back in time to a place I’ll never forget. She does a much more eloquent job of explaining it, that cold hard place where a parent goes to wait for the answer.)

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