The minute we crossed the Bay Bridge, I could feel it. When we took the same exit that I had taken so many times to get to the hospital, I could feel the overwhelming grief start to take over. We were in Oakland, but this time, I wouldn't be seeing my Bella. We drove past the hospital. We drove past the clinic where I had once had an ultrasound and the doctor had assured me that everything was okay. We passed by the shops that I had roamed around in so many times, waiting for Bella to get out of surgery or simply to try to catch a breath. I saw the nail shop where I had imagined someday, Bella and I would be getting pedicures together. I had not been back to Oakland since December 7th, 2010, and now I wish that they'd burn that stupid city down and forget about it.
We arrived at the chapel where the ceremony was being held. There were nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains, and other families that had experienced the loss of a child. They gave everyone some time to see familiar faces and to catch up a little. I saw nurses that had taken care of Bella many times. They told me that everytime that a little girl came in dressed in pink from head to toe, they thought of her. They told me how they always remembered that her dad had been the one to want to see her in pink, and they thought it was the most adorable thing. I saw nurses and doctors from the NICU that remembered taking care of Bella. They told me stories that they remembered about her. I was touched that they remembered so much about her. I couldn't believe that these details about us were still so clear in their minds. Bella touched their lives, and I felt so so proud of her.
The ceremony was beautiful. They showed a slideshow of all the children. Bella's picture was one of the first ones that came onto the screen. She was sitting next to her birthday cake, dressed in her pink tutu and matching headband. I cried, and cried, and cried some more. It really happened. She's gone. And this is all it will ever be. There will never be a picture of her 2nd birthday. There will never be more than memories.
I was thankful for the people that put the ceremony together. It really was very thoughtful of them. I just wasn't prepared for it. I walked in there not knowing what to expect, and I wish I wouldn't have. The poems that they read were so sad. They focused on their dying, rather than on their lives. Seeing the familiar faces brought back so many memories. Driving past the hospital and Piedmont Ave just made me feel like I was reliving it all. Oakland was torture.
I'm still trying to recover from that visit. I find myself crying all the time. Remembering more and more the details. I keep coming back to the day that Bella stopped breathing. The way I had felt like my world had stopped at that very moment, and in a sense it had. I can still remember how silent the room was. The way that I could hear the ticking of the clock so clearly. The way that her father and I had looked at each other, afraid to breathe ourselves.
I regret going to Oakland. I want her back. The anger is still there; it's neatly tucked in the pit of my stomache. We didn't deserve this.
|Mommy loves you Lovebug <3|