I could sit here all day long and tell you of my regrets and the things that trigger my grief; I could probably come up with a few hundred more in that time, but I don’t think that going through my list of painful memories will move anything positive in me. The smallest things can trigger a reaction in me; fire trucks with sirens on, loud beeping sounds, seeing a baby in an outfit that you never got to wear, certain songs, driving by the hospital in Chula Vista…there are so many.
Yesterday, I was driving home with two of your sisters in the car, listening to the radio as we normally do, when I experienced a moment of absolute heartbreak. Heartbreak that I hadn’t felt since the week of your death.
The song was about a bad relationship and the girl was singing about how they didn’t hold each other in their darkest hour. I instantly thought of your dad and how we relied on one another to survive losing you. We didn’t just hold each other in our darkest hours, we carried one another, we pushed, pulled, dragged, and ran with one another.
And that’s when it happened. Heartbreak only takes a second to occur and thoughts can come together so fast that you sometimes don’t realize you were even thinking something until it has already formed.
I’ll never, ever forget the moment your dad woke me up the morning of your death. It was about 1:30 in the morning and he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Angela, wake up. There’s blood on the baby’s face.” The lights were out but the moon was shining bright and we always slept with the blinds cracked open. I could see blood near your mouth and my mind was on overdrive. I had cut your fingernails the night before, it couldn’t be a scratch; maybe a bloody nose? Your dad handed you over to me so I could fix whatever was going on. He turned the light on as I rushed you to your changing table. Blood. There was more blood, on your blanket, on our bed, on your face. I unswaddled you as fast as I could and your dad said, “Please tell me the baby is breathing.”
I hadn’t thought to check, but when I did…you weren’t. You weren’t breathing and you wouldn’t rouse. You know how it all ends…so I’ll stop here. But, as I was driving with your sisters yesterday, thinking about how your dad and I leaned on each other in our darkest hours, a conclusion formed out of my thought cloud.
I failed your dad.
When he handed you to me, he was expecting me to fix the problem. He trusted me, he believed in me, and I couldn’t save you.
I failed Zach. I failed you. I failed my family.
I tried so hard to breathe life back into you, literally, but it didn’t work. Instead, your death sucked the life right out of me! What do I regret? The biggest thing I regret is not being able to save you.
When this thought crystallized, I felt an earth-shaking heartbreak. I mean, my chest physically hurt so badly that I had to press my hand over my heart. I couldn’t even cry. It was a slow tear that hit me so hard, so deep, that I would venture to say that my shadow has a rip in the place where my heart should be.
I am broken. I am vulnerable. I am so beyond any words that our colorful and vast vocabulary could ever attempt to describe.
All my love,