Sunday, November 4, 2012

Innocence Lost

I introduce myself and then my potential customer will want my email address or my business card. That's when the confusion starts. My business name is ShaunnaMichelle's. I chose that name to honor and remember my daughter. I think sharing my creativity with her in memory is perhaps the best way that I can show people what she meant to me. So I thought I should tell the story. 

I chose a flower because I don't have a photo of my daughter that would be appropriate to share. The photos that were taken of her by others were taken only after. That is not how I want her remembered. I see her in flowers and butterflies, beautiful birds and waterfalls. I would hope that all parents see their lost children in these things of beauty. 

I must warn you ahead of time that the language contained in my story can be somewhat graphic and will probably be offensive to some. Though I don't harbor the same anger toward God or my family any longer, I did then. To change the story would make it unreal and that would be a betrayal to my daughter. So please proceed at your own risk. Here is the second blog post about one of the many reasons I have the mental illnesses that I have. It is in time for her birthday and the day of her death, November 6th. 

Innocence Lost
 We are all born immortal. It is a belief that stays with us throughout our childhood and into our young adult years. Inevitably, there are chips of the immortal armor broken away at the passing of our beloved family pet or at the attendance of a distant relative’s funeral, but death can never really impress us personally. That is, it cannot touch us until some traumatic event strips away the immortal armor leaving us with the knowledge that we can indeed die. It would never happen to me though. This is what I believed in the year of 1995. I was 19 and I had gotten the news that spring that I was pregnant. The possibilities lay out before me and I enjoyed the uneventful pregnancy with a growing excitement of what was to come.
            The Friday prior to the delivery of my daughter, I went to my doctor following a particularly fitful night plagued with dark dreams. These dreams, I was sure, were a warning. I could not put them into words but they gave me an ominous feeling. I was extremely frightened. “You must induce her now! Today! There is something wrong. I can feel it! I know it!” I couldn’t make the doctor understand the depth of the situation as I stood there screaming my fears at him hysterically with tears streaming down my face. “Just lie down now and we’ll hear the heartbeat. You’ll see everything is okay.” His voice was full of false calm, masking his impatience with my outburst, but I could hear it hidden in his words. I lay down, and the room filled with the steady “whoosh whoosh whoosh” of my daughter’s heartbeat. Still, I was not convinced. The dreams were not about today. “I know something is wrong! I need you to induce her today! Please, listen to me!” I stood shaking and crying as the doctor walked out of the room. He had no more time for me today.
            The Monday my daughter was delivered, I should’ve been filled with happiness and anticipation. Instead, I was filled with a growing dread as my mother ushered me into the car. The dreams had gotten worse. The ride over to the doctor’s office was filled with my mother’s idle chatter and my dark thoughts. I lay down for my last exam before the delivery. I watched the doctor as he searched for my daughter’s heartbeat. Time slowed down, the clock ticking out seconds on the wall. His face changed. I saw it. He acted if nothing was wrong. “Let’s do an ultrasound. Sometimes these little ones can be very uncooperative with letting us hear the heartbeat if they are in the wrong position.” His voice sounded odd, like it was far away. I watched quietly as he rolled the ultrasound machine into the room. I stared at the screen as he moved the wand over my stomach. There was no kicking. No fists waving. There was no heart beating wildly as I had seen many times before in the previous eight months. As I watched the color drain from his face, turning him to a pallid shade of white, I knew. He turned off the machine, asked my mother and me to meet him in his office and walked quickly out of the room.
            We walked into an orderly office with a large mahogany desk. My doctor was seated behind the desk, a Bible lying open in front of him. He asked us to sit and I collapsed into one of his overstuffed chairs. His words immediately started to surround me in a feathery echo as my dreams became a horrible reality. I could only whisper, “Why?” I heard my mother’s voice saying, “God needed her”, and a rush of red overwhelmed me as I hurled my doctor’s Bible across the room, slamming it into a shelf of books. I faced my mother in a fury. “FUCK God! If God is so damn powerful, why can’t He go make His own, why must He take mine?” Just as quickly as the rage took me, it released me and I was left with the ghostly whispers of my dreams again, the unreality of the reality surrounding me.
            I said nothing on the trip to the hospital or as they prepped me for delivery. The nurses tiptoed around me like I might shatter. My mother hovered, trying to get me to speak to her. She called my father and he came to take control as he always did. The nurses and doctors were relieved by his taking charge. They asked me no questions. He made all of the decisions. I did not care. The labor and delivery was painful, but I said nothing. When it was over, the nurse placed my daughter in my arms and the world vanished. There was only her and me. The rest of the room darkened and was gone. She was perfect. She had ten fingers, ten toes, beautiful pouty lips and a gorgeous head full of ebony hair that glowed wherever the light touched it. I placed my hand softly on her head. Her hair felt like silk. I silently pleaded with her to cry. A nurse appeared and gently took her from me, but quickly replaced her in my arms wrapped in a little blanket with pastel colored feet printed on it and wearing a pink stocking cap on her little head. I cradled her. I memorized her, committing every inch of her to my heart. When the nurse took her a second time, gently prying her from my fingers, it was goodbye. As she walked away with my daughter, she took with her my innocence and my immortality.