I’m not sure if it’s the mini baby boom my friends are in right now, or if its summer and living is easy. Families and children are everywhere. Vacation photos, pool adventures, baby showers, and births. I’m feeling the starkness of solitary. When I am so bombarded with these events and interactions, I see all that could have been. I see all that I have lost. The stuff that life is made of. Husband and wife. Father and child. Mother and infant. The more time that passes, the more families grow around me, the more I begin to suspect that I will not know this way of being. I can’t help but think it’s all too late for me. So young did we have such profound love for one another. We could have never known our time would be so short. We talked so much about our future children. How we had plenty of time for all of that. Later. And now we have nothing. TJ is dead and gone, and I am left behind. The time for this life has passed us by. I fear I will only be able to experience it through others. And though I sense their joy, and share it as best as I can, I cannot truly know it. Will I ever find contentment in just being included into these families around me? To be the “aunt” to these beautiful babies; will it be enough? I find my alternative path in acupuncture quite fitting for one who is so desperate to be a mother. I yearn to nurture, to care. This will have to be that outlet for me.
I’m looking at a photo of TJ and me. It was taken my senior year of college at a bowling alley. I’m sitting on his lap and leaning my forehead down to his temple. His eyes are squinted. His cheeks are round in a closed mouthed smile. When I look into his eyes in the picture, it feels like he’s seeing me sitting here. Writing. Crying. I wonder what he would think to see me this way? It’s a very real possibility that I will never be a mother. That my womb will never feel fullness with child. That I may not ever have the means to adopt. Seeing this shortcoming as a possible reality is sacrilegious to someone like me. Someone who has hungered for motherhood for as long as I can remember.
I visited a friend today. I went to meet her two week old brand new baby boy. At one point, I was sitting on the floor holding the baby in my arm while playing a game with her two older children. As I picked up a game piece to hand to the three year old, I spoke with the five year old then looked down at the baby sleeping. It occurred to me at that moment that this was my natural state of being. That I could not only handle that kind of life, but thrive in it. And the very next thought was of their mother sitting next to me. That this was not my life. It was hers. I imagined if TJ were to see me sitting there, surrounded by those sweet babies; if he could feel the peace I was feeling at that moment. I imagine that he’d curse that he couldn’t give that life to me. Later, my friend thanked me for playing with the two older children while I was there. I don’t think she realized what a joy it was for me to be able to do that. Hearing their little voices asking me to play with them. Me. They wanted me to play. Call me silly, but it made me feel special. I find myself aching to feel needed, and there is no one out there who really feels that way about me anymore. TJ needed me. His wife. Now that he is gone, no one else really does. Everyone has their own spouse, their own children. Those babies have their mommies and daddies at the end of the day. Those friends, those beautiful babies, they may want me around but no one truly needs me anymore. The distinction between want and need is profound. A distinction I feel each and every day now that TJ is gone. I mourn my necessity.