In the Hospital (excerpts from my mother’s journal)

This can’t be happening to me…and yet it is. It has.

I think of those I know who’ve had similar losses. I remember thinking “how awful that must feel”. I remember the fear that the experience could be mine.

And now the fear is realized. It is our reality. Your physical body is gone, no longer kicking and moving inside mine although sometimes the gas bubbles trick me into believing you’re still there – just for an instant.

And then I think of how many times over the years I said “I want to give birth to one child, then I’ll consider adopting”. I guess the universe listened.


Sometimes the tears flow like wine at a wedding (or a wake).
Sometimes I sit, checked out, reading or watching televsion, numb.
Sometimes I ache.
Sometimes I feel relief that the fear of what the night would bring is gone. Relief that I am still alive.
Sometimes I hear a baby cry down the hall and am jolted into the realization that I have no baby to take home. That my body will not give life again. That there is no little mouth to take milk from my breast.
Then I ache. Again.


Exhausted. Can’t sleep.

10pm. 11pm. Midnight. Lungs feel like they’re not getting enough air. Heart hurts – it’s working too hard. Back sore from too many days in this bed, too many nights in this position.

1am. 2am. 3am.

Up. I go to the bathroom and cringe at the feel of more blood between my legs. It’s so much less than before but the body memory of fear is strong. Still there. Fear that somehow I haven’t yet survived this. That my body is still vulnerable. That something else will go horribly wrong.

I have much to live for. I wish I had you to live for too.


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0 Responses to In the Hospital (excerpts from my mother’s journal)

  1. i saw this just minutes ago, before landing here. now i know why my day started with this poem.

    Let the World Spin as It Spins

    Eat the last cookies in the box.
    Wear the same pair of jeans two
    weeks in a row. See the orchid die, leaf
    by leaf. Wipe the countertop carelessly,
    so it’s sticky as spit the next time
    you lean on your elbows wondering
    what’s for dinner. Watch hours
    of television. Call for pizza, for Chinese,
    for the cable company to give you even
    more channels. Drive by the gym
    without skipping a beat. Wash your hair only
    when it starts to wilt, when the mirror
    produces someone who doesn’t look like she wants
    to get laid. Think about sex constantly.
    Order cocktails. Play pool. Spend your money
    on a massage, on t-shirts from the warehouse sale,
    on inflation-priced bagels from the café down the street.
    Ignore the obvious fact that the sheets
    need changing. Occupy your bed gratuitously.
    When you’re done reading for the night,
    flop the pages open, straining the jacket.
    Allow the avocados to ripen beyond repair.
    Stain the kitchen sink with grape stems,
    mango peels, olive pits with the meat
    still clinging. Use vast quantities of paper towels
    for a simple spill of water.
    Lavish attention on the minute landscape
    between your eyebrows.
    Lose time. Ditch the mail into the bulging
    plastic bag near your desk. Almost mistake it
    for trash. Abandon the task of fixing
    the dresser drawer. Turn your car
    into a wastebasket.

    And when it comes, fall with extravagant
    ugliness. Grieve noisily into the balls of your fists.
    Push your heels against the carpet, your chest squirming.
    Feel the walls of the house vibrate with your pain.
    Make pockmarks of your heart.
    Collapse if you have to. It is like this.
    The world spins as it spins.
    No one knows,
    even though we all know
    this is between
    you and you alone.
    So yield. Commit your entire body.
    Recognize your own astonishing anguish.
    Tear it from your skin like a wolf
    eviscerates her trapped leg. Shriek like
    the downed bird you are.
    Invest wholly in your damage.
    Lap up each tumescent despair. Swallow
    the pinbones of your loss. Caress
    every razor edge of not enough. Gift yourself
    long, bruising hours of hopelessness.
    The world spins as it spins.
    Your life is on that same axis,
    half shadow, half radiance
    and turning, always turning.

    -Maya Stein

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