It gets me every time. Thankfully, it usually waits until I get home. I love my job. But sometimes, it’s fucking hard. And not always in a stressful, too busy, or emergent way. Sometimes it’s hard to be part of the team that takes care of the aftermath. The nothing after the storm. It’s not the calm. It’s the nothing, the in between, the loss. The you have to keep breathing and the you need to get out of bed and you need to eat and the yes I still have to push on your belly and the please let me know when you are ready to say goodbye.
I do what I can to ease the pain. We choose the only blankets and hats that will ever touch their skin. Those beautiful handmade ones that the old ladies knit and donate just for this purpose. I get my friends to help me make plaster molds of tiny feet, cuz it takes 3 of us to do it, so that when they are lost in their grief they have something tangible to prove it happened. Something beautiful to hold in their hands. It’s hard to be the ones that do all the things. The things that come before and the things that come after.
We talk to them, you know. We hold them like they are our own and carefully and gently do what needs to be done.
Sorry, baby. Lo siento, mama.
Is there anything else I can do for you while I’m here? Call me if you need me.
I say these things a hundred times in 12 hours.
And we take that home with us. Those images don’t go away. For them or for us.
Their loss is our trauma, too.
And some days are harder than others, in so many different ways.
So if you wonder why I am the way I am, in part, this is why.
Silently I say
Keep fucking going. It’s the only way. For both of us.