The car seats intended for Zachary, lined up in the spare bedroom, sit empty and collect dust, stare out at me every time I pass that room of the house. The unfinished business of ensuring each make and model still meets safety standards sits idly, pointlessly, on my (pre-tragedy) to-do list. What will I do with his car seats? If I move them even one foot from where they exist, my precious baby will go from healthy to intubated, starved, drugged, paralyzed, then on the mend, suddenly with a fatal brain hemorrhage and finally dead, all over again, in my mind. I feel frozen and bitter about Zachary's unused things. I don't want to donate them to some other baby. I refuse to accept that he no longer needs them, that we will never bring him home.
His email archive is consumed with the sad and the sorry. The congratulatory and well wishing emails were overtaken by condolences, funeral preparation exchanges, communication with the hospital and doctors, memorials and messages from people who continue to remember Zachary in the months since his death. I have to scroll down, pages and pages, to January 14, his eighth day of life, to see remnants of a purely positive outlook. I remember setting up his email archive in the middle of the night, in our hospital room, after he was born. I announced he had arrived, on caringbridge and through email, and the congratulations poured in. The cord blood company began bombarding us with messages about payment and the process for retrieval the next day. To keep it all straight, I had to create a designated space for messages concerning Zachary. Gratitude and peace filled my usually cautious heart as I typed his name to that folder. On that night, and as the days unfolded, I believed I would be storing bits of information for and about Zachary, for years to come, in that archive.
If I focus really intensely, if I wade through and beyond the thousands of jagged pain points of my shattered expectations for him, if I briefly set aside his sudden illness and the horror of his suffering, I can close my eyes and actually see him, feel him, almost perfectly. Those precious feet, pushing against my hand, strong and full of life. Fingers closing one by one on mine. Those raised eyebrows, wrinkled forehead. Wide, searching, innocent eyes. Holding him, whispering in his ear, breathing with him. His tension totally melted away by the recognition of my voice, by the presence and warmth of his mama. He was so beautiful, my Zachary. I still don't want to let him go. I feel heavy, like lead, with missing him.
Zachary would be nine months old today. It has been nine months since the most amazing day of my life. How absolutely wonderful life would be if he were here with us today. I'm so, so tired of this tortuous reality. Every day, another without him.