It had been less than three full days since my c-section, and my pain was unbearable, yet the physical pain could not even be felt due to the pain and emptiness in my heart. I kissed her head and rubbed her hair, and I could not even stand anymore, so I walked towards the noise of a room full of people who loved us, prayed for us, and would try to walk with us through all of this. The first face I saw was my moms, and she grabbed me, and I did not have the energy to look at anyone else. I wailed, I think, very loudly, and simply said, “She’s gone.” I do not know how long they all stayed or waited. I know the day seemed to end too quickly, yet they had been there when the sun was high, and now it was setting and casting a shadow on my sweet girls empty body. Dan stayed back to go over a few things with the nurse, he was strong, my husband, my girl’s daddy, and he did what I did not have to strength to do.
As Melissa pushed my wheelchair, because my mom began to lose her strength, we passed by that NICU room one last time with the name “Mary Anna Caldwell”. Dan slowly walked out and of course, his first priority was me. I remember him touching my head, and then handing me a bear. He said they wanted us to have this, and that it would be something that I could hold. I cried harder and harder and harder, and barely could sit up in my wheelchair. They pushed me into my room, got me in the bed, and handed me the only thing that could fill my empty arms, the bear.
My name to those close to me has always been Karebear. D and my mom especially still call me that to this day, so we planned to call Mary Anna some version of bear something or another, because it is special to us.
The bear could not take the pain away or make sense of anything that was real, yet seemed so unreal, but it gave me something to hold, to touch, and to squeeze. Somehow in someway, to this day that sweet bear is what I grab when I am sad. It’s what dries my tears when I go to sleep at night, and it just helps.
The bear has been to Birmingham, Anniston, Auburn, Seaside, Raleigh, Atlanta, San Fran, L.A., and at times even if I am 26 years old, and I look stupid carrying a bear around in an airport, guess what? I don’t care!
Dan will sweetly tuck the bear in my arms, when I am sad. And even though he’s a big, strong grown man, I have caught him holding the bear too.
Nothing can fill the void of your baby. Nothing except Jesus. Yet, if I have one suggestion if you have lost someone or know someone who has, no matter the age or gender, get/give them something to hold. It helps.