Today's fortune cookie read "Your place in life is in the driver's seat." God knows that's where I prefer to be, in control of what happens next.
So while it stings when Ben asks "Do you think if I came back, we could make things work?" it gives me a great sense of control, and accordingly a sense of strength, to say resolutely, "No." As our marriage dissolved I felt a deep sense of helplessness and loss of control. Nothing I did made a difference. Apologies, tears, missed marital counseling appointments, self-help books and prayers all went unresponded to. So now hurt and pride and wounded trust and a commanding need to control the circumstances in my life combine to deny Ben what he denied me: A chance to make our marriage work. I simply won't look back now.
As we were struggling to save our marriage I was often advised to pray to my angels in Heaven, Baby Cude and Gabriel. That's supposed to be one of the perks of having deceased children, right? I tried a couple of times but it didn't feel right. I am their mother and no matter how unconventional the relationship is I can't bring myself to burden them with my worries. What was I supposed to say? "Hey kids, why don't you patch up Mom and Dad's marriage?" That wouldn't be appropriate if they were here, why should things be any different because they're not? My burdens are not their burdens; they shouldn't have to be their burdens. I know that someday I'll have to face them and I dread explaining to them that their daddy and I didn't make it, but until then I hope they never see me cry, I hope they never see their daddy cry, I hope they never saw us fighting and that they never heard the awful things we said to eachother. I hope they can't see me now, trying to figure out how to open the front porch light fixture to change the bulb, cursing their father under my breath for leaving me to do thse things on my own.
Sometimes I think I feel them with me. Once in a while I get overwhelmed but I climb into the driver's seat, determined to keep driving, and I hear Kenny Loggins telling me I hold the world in a paper cup and life's just begun and I'm the lucky one and most importantly, everything's gonna be alright. Everytime "Danny's Song" comes on the radio I think Gabriel must be trying to talk to me and I am soothed. But it's not my child's job to soothe me. I couldn't fix him; how can I ask him to fix me now?
Carrying Gabriel to term would have been much more difficult if not for the online anencephaly support groups. Losing him would have been even harder if I didn't have the opportunity to counsel women who were also experiencing the same thing. But now as I read their pregnancy and birth announcements sharing the news of their rainbow babies the pain is almost unbearable. I read the words "My angel is looking out for his mommy and sending us a rainbow." Where, then, is my Gabriel and where is my rainbow? I wonder if he's mad at me for not trying to work things out with Ben. I know it's not fair of me to ask him. I won't ask him.
"Don't miss this opportunity to learn about yourself from this process," said a friend of my divorce. Most of what I'm probably supposed to learn, I don't want to. I know I pushed, and pushed, and pushed for a family. I pushed until I found myself alone. And I can't build one on my own, I can't pluck a family off of a shelf in a store; family is not a commodity to be possessed. Among the many lessons I am trying to take away from this experience is to once in a while throw my hands in the air and let someone else drive.