I recently went on a trip to Charleston, SC to visit one of my BFFs from high school. Another friend and I went down to spend the weekend with her. It was a great time with two of my best friends, who have been there for me for over 15 years. While I enjoyed my time with my friends, the loss of Asher was still ever present.
Before heading down for the weekend, I obviously had to pack a bag. I only wanted to bring a carry-on bag because it was just a weekend trip. Of course, I had to bring my bear from the hospital with me. I haven’t slept without him since coming home from the hospital on February 20th, 2017. I had a lot of stuff and was trying really hard to ninja pack. When I went to add the bear, the carry-on did not want to close. I almost had a full on meltdown. I was NOT leaving the bear home. He had to come with me. I took a few deep breaths and I re-evaluated my packing. I was spending the night before my flight at my brother’s since he is only 20 minutes from the airport. So I took those clothes out of my bag and brought them separately. Then my bear fit and a full blown emotional breakdown was averted.
Flying can also be tricky as a loss mother because there is ALWAYS a baby on the plane. There was one on each of my flights, both less than one year old. On a plane, I can’t escape them if they start crying. Seeing one waiting in the terminal gives me anxiety that if they cry, I will also cry and embarrass myself in public. Thankfully, on both flights neither baby had a meltdown and, thus I avoided one as well.
While in downtown Charleston, we did a ghost a tour. I love hearing the tales and a bit of the history about cities from these tours. It was extremely interesting and seemed perfectly innocuous, until we approached a church with a cemetery. The tour guide proceeded to tell us a story. I will do my best to retell it here.
“A couple was walking by the church, when the woman stopped in front of the gate. The husband had kept going and then realized his wife wasn’t next to him, so he walked back to her. He asked her what she was does doing and her response was “she buried her heart here.””
As soon as I heard that sentence, I knew exactly where this story was going. This was going to be about an infant who had died. The tour guide went on tell a story about a woman who gave birth in 1888 to a stillborn baby. The mother then ended up dying 6 days later and the two were buried together. Then 99 years later, in 1987, a man came and took a photograph of the cemetery. When he got the film developed, he saw what appeared to be an apparition of a woman kneeling over the grave of her child. You can read the story and see the photo here.
I stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks and my friend’s arm around my waist to comfort me, as the tour guide shared this story. I, too, know the pain this mother felt in 1888. Supposedly, this mother is still mourning the loss of her child, even in the after life. It is a pain that doesn’t go away. You learn how to deal with it better as time goes on, but it is an ever-present ache in your heart.
Despite the crying in public, I was able to enjoy my time with friends exploring a new place. But it is also a reminder of how different my life should be. If Asher was here, I most likely wouldn’t have taken this trip because I would be dealing with an almost one year old. My life should be a lot different than it is right now and that can be enough to stop me in my tracks at times. Life after an earth shattering loss is hard. I’m so happy I was able to spend time with my friends but I know if my life turned out how it was supposed to, this weekend would not have happened.