Today my daughter would have been ten, had she lived. Zoe would have been in the fourth grade. She probably would have had tons of friends, or maybe she would have been happy to be close to a few people, like me. It's possible that she would have been a voracious reader, like me, delving into the bottom of books for trinkets and treasures. Maybe she would have been an athlete, or more into math. She may have been musically inclined. I'm sure that she would have adored her baby brother.
Who am I kidding?
I pride myself on my stoicism, my practical nature. My Germanic heritage dictates that I suck it up and carry on. In my grief, therefore, I have drawn and painted a rosy picture of a wonderful life that never was. The reality of what happened to me, and the enormity of my feelings from that day, still overwhelm me, so I have brushed over the pain with a pretty picture. Maybe that's not the best way to deal with a broken heart, but it got me moving forward, and it still keeps me from crying nonstop on occasion. Today seems like as good a time as any to look underneath what was painted over. Reality may be horrible and tragic, but it needs to be faced with eyes wide open.
The reality is that my daughter would have had many special needs, since it is unheard of for a baby to be born alive at 19 weeks. She would have had a long road, wrapped up in wires and tubes and monitors while she slept in an incubator for months, years maybe. It is possible that Zoe might have been blind, or deaf, or both. Since her lungs weren't fully developed, she would have had difficulty breathing, or would have been susceptible to infections her entire life. Cognitively, she may not have advanced much further than recognizing familiar faces. Would I have been strong enough to deal with all of that, or would I fall underneath the weight of caring for such a child? I'd like to think I'd be able to handle a special needs child, but I don't know for sure. I never got the chance to find out.
I do know that I would have loved my daughter, no matter what. So today I mourn.