For the first few weeks after Jillian died, I had a constant ache in my chest. It was a physical manifestation of my grief that made it hard to breathe, and a constant reminder of what a terrible turn our lives had taken. It eventually eased, and then went away, but I’ve been experiencing it again over the past week or so. It’s not as constant as it was, but it’s a familiar feeling that sneaks up on me. There’s a thought that comes with it: the realization that Jillian is gone forever.
I am obviously aware that her death is irreversible, but for some reason, thoughts about things that will happen “after she gets here” creep into my head. I think I got so used to being pregnant and anticipating her birth that I haven’t yet become used to the fact that I’m not pregnant anymore and she’s really gone forever. Everything that happened over the four days of her life still feels like it was just a dream. It is so incomprehensible that when I do realize, again, that it’s real and it’s permanent, my breathing stops.
I had a handful of her dresses hanging in my closet before she was born. Last weekend, I was switching our closets around (we’re swapping bedrooms, originally planned because Jillian was coming) and in the process of organizing the closets, I decided to hang up the rest of her clothes. They’re no longer with my clothes, which feels very strange sometimes. I thought for a while that I was going to have to move her clothes with mine. As I was hanging everything, I kept explaining to her that I wasn’t hiding her clothes, that I was just trying to get organized. I felt like I was betraying her.
I still open the closet they’re in and just touch them pretty regularly. It’s an explosion of pink when I open the door, which makes me laugh and cry at the same time. She had more clothes than I did, which I knew would happen as soon as we knew she was a girl. The other night, I took out a onsie that I bought her two days after we learned her gender. It’s newborn size, and I remember holding it in the store, unable to comprehend that a baby could ever been small enough to wear it. When I held it the other night, I realized that the onsie itself was longer than Jillian. This time, I was unable to comprehend that a baby could ever be big enough to wear it.