I use affiliate links on some of my blog posts. This means that I could make a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Read my full disclosure here.
We spent the week of Christmas at my parent’s home in North Carolina. It was relaxing and low key. We were away from some of the bad memories and moments and had room to breathe. I had a few low points like the day before Christmas when I wrote about how sad I was not to be sharing the holiday with my son. But overall I felt good and refreshed. We headed back home with the dogs Saturday morning. Aside from the obnoxious traffic that comes with living in Florida during Christmas break (read: Disney vacation), we had a good trip full of laughter and conversation.
Mounting Medical Bills
After the initial unpacking, I began tidying up the house. As the Hubs finished taking the luggage off of the top of the car, I began to open the mail and packages that had piled up in our mailbox over the week. Medical bills topped the list. I swallowed back my fear and desire to avoid all of it, and began to open each one. With each torn envelope I felt mounting despair and anxiety. How were we supposed to pay all of this? The proposed final bill amount is way more than the cost of our home! What kind of world is this where people lose an infant, their precious child and have to pay insane amounts of money after his passing??
I get it. I do. The rational part of me knows that medical care is expensive and my Christian had the very best. And while he was alive we would have mortgaged our home three times over and been happy to do so. His life was worth every penny and every sacrifice. The NICU at Winnie Palmer is amazing. He had expertise from amazing doctors and care from wonderful nurses and I will never regret that. Some of them became like a part of our family and we will forever be linked to them.
But now that he’s gone every bill just feels like a knife that keeps twisting into the nerves of my heart. Pouring salt into the proverbial wound, every dollar amount makes my grief so much more cutting. As I finished opening the envelopes, my anxiety peaked and the tears flowed with the intense heaviness of the burden.
As I began to calm down I started to open the myriad of boxes that had accompanied the medical bills. I had ordered most of it and knew what quite a few of the boxes held. But I didn’t recognize the sender on one and proceeded to open it first.
The plain white USPS box contained two smaller beige boxes wrapped in a small brown satin ribbon. I opened the first little box that fell out into my hand. The small silver charm that adorned another modest brown ribbon made me collapse. My hubs caught me from behind and held on as the sobs wracked my body. The charm held one tiny thumbprint. My Christian’s precious thumbprint. We made it the day he died. The memories crushed me. It had all felt like a bad dream while we were gone. But coming home the dam of feelings had broken, and with it, had broken me.
Coming home was not the sweet relief to the end of vacation like I had anticipated. Instead, everywhere I looked I saw reminders of him. The plush Christmas Stitch I had bought just weeks before his birth that would have been his Christmas present. A canvas print of his face I had made just days before Christmas that will go on the wall of our living room. The plant we received in sympathy. The pain I felt was as fresh as the day of his passing. Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I felt drained and completely empty. I came home and yet my precious boy wasn’t there and I felt more empty than ever.
Dissipation of Disappointment
A few days later and I feel as though I can breathe again. The pain is still there, but not as sharp. So are the precious pictures and blessing of his little life there to comfort me when I’m reminded of his absence. I’m forever changed. And while I wouldn’t want to experience this ever again, I’d do it all again just to have those 29 days of immeasurable joy and mommyhood. Those were the best days of my life and I cherish them even while I mourn my Christian.