I used to look forward to grocery day. The hunt. Chatting with perfect strangers over how awful it is that the price of milk has gone up....AGAIN! Watching the old people gaze at my daughter. Getting a great deal on the items I need for the week.
But now I dread it. I slink through the isles hoping no one speaks to me, longing only to get in, get what I need and get out. Desperately hoping I don't see anyone I know, or worse yet, someone I know who hasn't heard that I was ever pregnant or that my son is dead. Or worse still, someone who hasn't heard, but knew I was pregnant. Even strangers are a risk now. Today at Meijer this scene played out:
Cashier: Oh my word, your little girl is a doll!
Me: (Smiling) Thank you.
Cashier: (to Vera) How old are you?
Me: She's really shy sometimes; she'll be 3 in January.
Cashier: Is she your only one??
Me: (Head spinning, stuttering, trying to hold it together so I don't cause a scene) Uhh, Uh.. yes.
Cashier: (Finished ringing me up) Have a nice day ma'am.
Why did I say that? NO! NO! She's not my only one! My son... he's 3 weeks old today. No, wait, I mean, he would be 3 weeks old today. It's just..... you see..... well what happened is.... actually.... My head swims with ways to tell her the truth. By now we were almost back to the car. I actually thought about going back in, finding that cashier, and telling her about Asher. How much I wanted him, still want him. How much I love him. How my arms physically ache for wanting to hold him. Like some how, if I tell enough people that I want him, God will send him back to me.
So I put the food into the car, and load up Vera. On the way out of the parking lot I begin to cry, just a trickle because I don't want Vera to know I'm crying. It makes her sad when mommy is sad. But the more I think about it all, the more I cry, which by the time I make it halfway to our next grocery stop has become a full on sob. I can't hardly see to drive and Vera is now crying. She says, "Mommy sad? Mommy miss baby?" I tell her yes and she says "I need my daddy." I think, yeah, I need your daddy too. And so, even though I still have 3 more stops to make, we go home. And I walk in and Nolan wants to know what's wrong. And I just stand and sob into his chest. I tell him about the cashier and how I feel as if I betrayed my son. I feel as if I abandoned him. Why did I tell her I only have one child? Why did I lie? Was I protecting her? I don't know.
And then of course there are all the Christmas songs. Have you ever thought about how many times the word baby is used in christmas songs? Neither had I until this year. As I was sobbing, I was also crying out to God; Asking how did he expect me to rejoice? How was I supposed to do that? How can He expect me to go on rejoicing when there is Christmas music playing, and old people, and cashiers, and parents who are mean to their children, and snow that I will never get to see my baby play in, and mothers with babies in carriers. How can I rejoice when everything around me reminds me of Asher?? And still even in that moment I felt God holding me. Even as I pounded my fists on His chest he held me and poured his sweet peace on my wounded soul. I felt the tiniest part of me find something to be thankful for: Asher will never have to know the pain of this world. He will never have to experience a broken heart.
So today is a hard day. Today there will be no song.