I started dying about a year ago today. Driving up to a strange house. Getting out of the car and walking up to the front door. I rang the bell and was greeted by an older woman. We made introductions and I entered the house. There you were, sitting in a high chair with eyes darting from left to right, scanning each face, questioning the new one in the room, mine. You were playing with the Fisher-Price stackable color rings holding each one up to show all of us. As you picked one up you properly labeled them:
“Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue…”
I watched you in amazement. Such an adorable little boy and you were to be mine. I had such a wide grin, my eyes showing joy. I was so happy I must have been radiating love. I couldn’t believe how much you looked like me, especially when I was younger, with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. You even had my oval face shape. It would just be natural for everyone to think you were my biological son.
Dazed at this situation, euphoric like at the birth of Sophia, I barely noticed you then holding a book in your hands. Little chubby fingers turning pages, showing us a ball or a little boy. As you closed the book you smiled, your dimple showing and said enthusiastically, “The end!”
A happy beginning… and unfortunately an unforeseen end.
I started dying that day. My old self, one I labeled “Alaska Stephanie” even though Alaska was a few days later. She knew who she was. Physically strong, confident, mentally stable. Off all medication for 4 straight years. Slowly, like a cancer, her body devoured her internally. It riddled her brain with extreme anxiety, nausea, panic, fear and eventually a death. A death that came only a few months after meeting her boy, a death that came the day he left. Upon that death, her body continued to eat away causing shame, blame, guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, destruction, a desire to hurt heself. A death putting this once healthy being into a spiraling hell.
And now, about 9 months later I will bury you. I’ve mourned you several times over and over these past months. Grieving for you. Desiring to be you again. Finally accepting that I could never be you again. You were a remarkable woman, but a woman who did not have to suffer losing a child and losing one’s self and then learning how to rebuild yourself again. I can never get you back. I accept this. I accept that you, “Alaska Stephanie”, are gone forever, buried in a grave in my heart. I will now work to become a stronger version of you. I will take the suffering and the pain and the grief and turn it inward and grow. I will appreciate the small things in life as your death has taught me… nothing lasts forever. And in time “Alaska Stephanie 2.0” will be born, like a Phoenix, rising from the ashes!