I went back to the school district I spent most of my pregnancy at today. As soon as I walked in the door to the elementary school, I felt comfortable. I also felt sad because I was back when I should really be at home caring for my son. I felt relieved to be getting it over with-- this whole starting over process. Breaking the seal of silence is so hard to do. In a way, not returning was still an envelope unopened and an experience I knew would be coming with potential tears and uncomfortable silence and encounters. Immediately, the secretary welcomed me back and told me it was nice to see me there again.
I avoided certain hallways and headed straight for the library where I would be working for the afternoon. The first person to walk up was a woman who shared with me that 32 years ago, she also experienced stillbirth when her first daughter was born. She went on to have 3 more children. This is all too common. She told me that she's glad I came back and that the school is just full of loving people who care for one another-- and if I needed to talk, she would be available for me.
More people came by to hug me and offer condolences... some people I've never spoken to, but obviously knew who I was-- hard to miss that enormously pregnant woman there practically everyday. Then, a man came up. I'd talked with him a number of times before and this time was quite special. He walked up and put his hand on my shoulder and let me know he was thinking about me and offers his condolences. Then he asked if I had a son or daughter. Then he asked his name. Andrew. He knew it now and I was able to say it without crying. It was really special that he considered my son a real person enough to ask his name.
My job started when I read to a few first grade classes this book:
I was so happy the kids didn't ask me where my son was-- especially the little girl I spent about 7 days straight with in October as her one-on-one aide. Thank goodness. It seems like they've all forgotten about who I was and my pregnancy. For once, I'm relieved.
Later on, as I was stocking books on the shelves, that same man approached me again and said, "You know, he's in heaven now. That's why I asked his name because it makes me happy to know that Andrew is there."
Yep, he's in heaven. But on days like today (sad), I just kind of wish he were here to comfort me.