It can happen anywhere, at any unexpected time. There are a number of things that can alter my mood, bringing me to a sad, dark place; but the biggest is the sound of a newborn cry.
It was a perfectly pleasant day. I was out with my husband. Sunday is our Together Day. We went out for breakfast before our errands and browsed the art supply store. I got a couple items that caught my eye. Grocery shopping can be stressful for me now. I like to get it done as efficiently as we can. Crowds of people can make me feel a little anxious, but we were almost finished. My husband had spent the morning being goofy and making me laugh. We were in the checkout lane and I thought I’d get out without any hiccups. But then I heard it: a loud, healthy, newborn cry. My husband stopped and looked over at me, knowing what to expect: my eyes glazed over, distant from everything around me. He could see the urgent need to get out of there as quickly as possible: before the tears spill out for the world to see. He took over the rest of our checkout and ushered me out of the store, where I immediately broke down.
That cry brings it all back. The rush and panic in the operating room when my baby was put on a table for compressions. The hospital bed, an empty warmer beside it. The cries from the surrounding rooms, as other moms delivered successfully. Holding my silent, breathless son, hoping it was all a bad dream. Trying to stay awake so that I didn’t lose any of my already fleeting time with him. And finally, the agonizing moment that I sent my son away with the nurse. These memories are so vivid and, in those trigger moments, they take over all of my emotions. The more detail that I recall about the hospital, the more painful it is.
These are difficult memories, but they are crutial to remember. Because that day is filled with another type of memory: I have the memory of bearing witness to his incredible beauty. I have my disbelief and my pride that this perfect child came from within me. I have love: such expansive, bursting love unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I see him when I look at my husband, or when I look down at my fingers. I wish that I didn’t have to have the uncomfortable moments that triggers bring me, but I wouldn’t ever will myself to forget. Lincoln’s good memories are worth all of the painful ones, and he will live on in those memories for all of my days.
2 thoughts on “The Trigger”
I’m sorry. I understand some of the mixed feelings about memories. They hurt but they also remind us that they were here and are part of our lives.
(My stillborn son is called Lincoln too. We thought it would have made a good name for a crime writer.)
Lincoln is a very good name. I’ve tried to explain that I would never erase the pain. If it didn’t hurt, it would mean that I didn’t love him.
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