I once heard that trauma impacts your DNA. And while the jury is still out on whether that’s scientific fact, I’m inclined to believe it. There is no other way to explain what the last week in June does to me.
Its almost uncanny how my subconscious self nudges me towards an awareness of the impending anniversary. For days I sense a smoldering sense of unease. My soul downcast. My mood slightly dark. I never can put my finger on what is causing my angst until I note the calendar and it hits me. Last week of June.
For fourteen years this has been the pattern. The realization alway opens a floodgate of memories demanding agency in my mind. And I remember the day. All of it.
I recall the lump lodged in my throat as I woodenly walked the hall of the hospital towards my room. I remember steadying my breath, willing myself to stay calm. I picture the nurse handing me a crisp hospital gown and gently directing me to the bathroom to change. Her blond ponytail framed the sorrow and fear in her eyes. I remember the way the cool tile felt against my feet in the bathroom as I pressed my head against the door in defeat.
As a mother I knew I should be delivering a new life. But this delivery would end in death. Was I betraying my own child by the mere act of delivering him?
I recall feeling as if I were in a trance as I eased into the bed. Time was moving too fast yet achingly slow. I closed my eyes and turned my head in a futile attempt not to feel the prick of the needle in my skin. And I surrendered to what is to come.
As if I hadn’t surrendered a hundred times since the diagnosis.
I can hear the pert click of my doctor’s heels on the floor. I see her reassuring smile and compassionate hug that did little to mask her unease. I remember steeling myself for the physical pain. Welcoming it almost. All the while drowning in the emotional pain I’d been living with.
I remember my sister and husband’s desperate attempts to cheer me. And themselves. Can you believe we laughed? We did. Many times.
As time wore on, and the waiting became too much, I remember crawling into my own mind. I desperately tried to hide within myself until the dreaded event passed. I remember utter desperation and nonsensically deciding I was finished, demanding to leave the hospital rather than stay and deliver this child to die. Then collapsing in tears of defeat as my family soothed me.
Then suddenly he was here.
The nurse gently wiped a tear from her eye as she handed me my son. Jonathan Daniel Haveman. The one we loved and grieved in equal measure for months before he was born. The one who, just three hours after birth, was made whole and complete and healed before His Creator.
I remember his face. I remember peace that passed all understanding spread from my head to my soul. This was my beloved son.
He was so tiny. So beautiful. So wonderfully made.
Joy, pride, grief, relief, agony, love, awe. How can someone feel so many emotions in one moment?