October 28, 2019: 

“I’m so sorry,” she said, as she backed away from the machine as if it were a hot stove that burned her hands. The woman took a step toward me, her face dropped in horror, her lip quivering.

I already knew. I knew when I first got pregnant an overwhelming fear came over me that this may not turn out the way we planned. However, we made it past the red zone and that fear subsided.

I knew when I didn’t feel him move as much as my first. I was told not to worry. I heard those same words as she glided the small doppler over my perfect round belly as she tried to find his heartbeat only to hear the whooshing sound from my placenta.

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I knew as we walked down the hallway to the room with the sonogram machine.

Finally, I knew when I saw his little body on the screen. His back facing me, I didn’t even get to see his perfect face one last time. From the other sonograms I had, I could already see how he looked like his brother yet still so unique, still so much himself.

Even with all I knew, I was still pleading in my head while watching that screen. Please move, please move, please . . . my thoughts were interrupted. “I’m so sorry,” she said as she backed away from the machine as if it were a hot stove that burned her hand.

“There’s no heartbeat?” I whimpered. She shook her head with that same look of horror, her lip still quivering.

I wailed.  

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I do not cry nearly as much as I did. But the tears still come. The ache of those words the doctor spoke still hit me. I used to cry all day long. Now, it’s mostly saved for the night when the world goes quiet. The stars have watched my tears more than any human ever has. I welcome the tears now instead of fighting them like I used to.

You see, I have learned something through mourning. 

Grief is a funny game. Its colors and patterns forever changing. You think you have a handle and then it rips the rug out from your feet. Some days you are in bed with a concrete slab over you and it is hard to wake up; others, you would think nothing ever happened.

Sometimes you know the emotions are about to come on and sometimes they hit you out of nowhere. Like when you were a child and the wind got knocked out of you.

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Suddenly it feels like you are at the top of Mount Everest without an oxygen tank. No matter how many breaths you take, there is simply not enough air to refill your gasping lungs.

Then, there is peace some days or even just moments. Maybe it’s feeling their presence or just having an OK day. It’s knowing that you were lucky enough to love so deeply. A love that can never be replaced or recreated. A love shared between only you and that person.

Greif is so common yet still completely unique. An emotion every human will feel. One that will never go away simply with time.

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However, we learn to live with our grief. We welcome the tears because we know they come from the heart. We can help others on their journey with their companion, grief. It is the emotion that proves we had someone irreplaceable. It is the emotion that makes our souls grow.  

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy resides in New York. She and her husband have two children, one living and one angel. She is a senior studying English at SUNY Old Westbury. She hopes, through writing, she is able to help her fellow mamas smile and find hope.