I heard a baby cry today.
My insides didn’t turn to knots. I didn’t find myself gasping for air. I didn’t cringe, I didn’t reel as my memories threw me headlong back into the delivery room. I didn’t find myself back in those last moments. When that brand-new baby cried in my earshot, I didn’t hear Michael.
It was just a baby.
Not my baby. And it didn’t hurt.
Is this what healing is like?
I took a moment and really looked at the pictures of Michael that I still have on my iPad. I examined the photos from that last beautiful month of my pregnancy with him. I studied my face, my son’s face, probing that hole in my heart like one prods underneath a scab. Does it still hurt? Will it hurt if I poke it hard enough? Or am I just building walls like a crazy architecht, sealing off that portion of my soul like it’s a diseased thing? It’s possible. I’ve done it before…
No. It still hurts, it will hurt, but the triggers are harder to find. I am not tiptoeing around the edges so much as I once did.
Is this how it is supposed to be?
Six months out, and I am not sent running for the tissue box at the sound of a child crying. Six months out, and it’s like my all-too-brief foray into motherhood never happened (we’ll just ignore the stomach pook), because the all-out grief isn’t knocking me down hard enough, often enough. Oh, I am still uncomfortable and awkward. I still fumble my way around family encounters, I still can’t help but envy happily pregnant women. But my day-to-day life soldiers on with no fanfare, no triumph, just this: an absence of pain at an infant’s wailing.