When I would hear a mother call her daughter's name, and it would be "Isabella". Last week Rollie Pollie had his 6 month check up (he's doing fabulous by the way) and I was standing at the counter filling out more paper work (yea!) because the office has a new computer system. So I'm standing there, minding my business and what do I hear? Three.little.words.
"Isabella come here please!"
A mammoth sized lump immediately lodges itself inside my throat and I look. I have to look. I don't want to look at this Isabella-girl, but I have to. To see. Does she look like MY Isabella? She was in fact, there for her 2 year check up. Perfect. Great. Wonderful. Praise Jesus, she didn't look a darn thing like my angel, I was at least spared that much. But still. A sweet, two year old Isabella running around, talking, smiling, laughing, playing, throwing a beautiful temper tantrum. I glimpse of what I could have. What I should have, but do not. Can not. Will not have. That sucks.
I somehow managed to pull myself together, and NOT cry hysterically at the front desk. I even managed to tell this other Isabella's mother where I got my sling when she asked......without a freak out. One down, a million to go I guess, right?
Well, I'm officially in the "death date month". Yipee. Much to my surprise it hasn't been as horrible as I had dreaded. The birthday was awful, awful, crappy, terrible.......so maybe this won't be as hard. I can only hope. Two months of emotional over-eating, crying, yelling, no sleeping, agonizing over every detail of her death can't be good for me? Right?
Yes, I agonize over her death. Incessantly. Unhealthily. Every detail. Every decision. Everything. Sometimes I just lay in bed and can't turn the horror movie in my mind off. I want to, but I can't. I can still see her..........dying in my arms. I can still hear the awful sound the last of her breath made when it was over. Over for her, but not for me. I can still hear my own screams and cries when she left me.
I will tell you the most difficult part of the night Isabella died. This is something that haunts me and I'm afraid it always will, because I have never had to do something so incredibly difficult in all of my life and I pray like hell that I will never have to do it again. After Isabella took her last breath, I held her....and so did Husband. Family and friends slowly left the room, our Pastor came by to say a prayer over our family and I held her. For as long as I could. I know we were lucky to have her pass in our home (if you can consider any part of my story "lucky" that is) and I am grateful for that small part. I was able to hold her as long as I wanted........to a point anyways. I know she passed away around 8 pm that night......and the last time I saw her sweet face was sometime after 11 pm. Our hospice nurse, who had become one of my good friends, came in and told me whenever I was "ready" they would make "the call". "The Call" was to the funeral home. I sat in bed, holding my sweet girl, wrapped in my favorite pink blanket not wanting to ever make "The Call". When was I ever going to be ready? I mean, really? Not ever.
So I finally told her to make "The Call" and I waited. I cried. I waited. When he got there I was just beside myself. I was crying uncontrollably in front of who knows.......I didn't care. I vaguely remember someone saying "let it out Michelle, it's OK" and boy did I. I just couldn't believe I was sitting in my living room on a Thursday night holding my dead daughter. Just sitting there. It was beyond surreal.
I can't remember the man's name who came to get her, but I will always remember his compassion and the delicate way he handled us.......and Isabella. I didn't know what to expect, I had never done this whole child-died-in-my-house-what-comes-next-thing. He came in a black Suburban and asked us for Isabella's car seat. He wanted to take our precious girl in her carseat to the funeral home.
I can barely type this you should know.
I was so appreciative that he didn't want to just lay her in the back, because of course she was not just a dead body to us. She was still my Princess. None of it seemed real to me. The whole evening was like an out of body experience. Truly it was as though I was watching it, not living it. I couldn't be living this nightmare you see, not me. It just doesn't happen to people like me. Only others.
So I put my Princess, my Isabella in her car seat. I buckled her in just like I would have on any other day. I was hysterical of course and furious and devastated and a million other things. At point, and this is God's honest truth, I almost took her and got in my car. I don't know where I was going to take her, but I just couldn't let someone take her from me. I couldn't handle the idea of truly never touching her again. Never holding her again. It was over and I wasn't ready. Isabella was ready......she wanted to fly, to play, laugh. Letting go of her soul was so much easier than letting go of her body.
Husband and I held each other as we watched the man drive away with our baby. Our daughter. That moment is forever etched in my mind. Like I said, it haunts me and tortures me. For how long, who knows......
After that, family slowly trickled out and we were left alone. The silence was deafening. I stayed up very late that night putting a montage together of her life, our life, working so diligently to get it right. To make it perfect. Like her.
The next few days and months are all pretty blurry after that. At her funeral two days later I was an empty shell of person on shock mode. I smiled, I waved, I hugged....but I was empty. I was not there. I had checked out. I do remember coming home from the funeral and collapsing on the couch and crying uncontrollably until I fell asleep.
I miss her. I miss her so much it hurts......I ache to touch her, to hold her, to simply smell her. Just once.
What I would give of myself, my life to just see her happy and healthy. To watch her dance, smile, laugh or wave. To hear her call me "mama". Anything.
I will have to wait and try to understand God's plan for my life and for hers.............that sounds so simple, but let me tell you, it is not. Or easy. Or fun.
My sweet darling girl, I miss you every moment of this life. I will always think of you on bright, sunny, breezy days, the days you loved the most on this Earth. I hope everyday in Heaven is just like that for you. I cannot wait for our family to be together as one in Heaven and to be a Forever Family. I know you are watching over us everyday, I can feel it. I love you forever sweet Princess.