Exactly one month ago, we arrived at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It’s been a month since we were given the horrifying news that our daughter was losing her battle with congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. I can’t believe how quickly a month has gone by. I can’t help but think that if Aria was still here, she would be growing up so fast.
Now that I’m mostly healed from surgery, Brian and I are now preparing to head back to our home in Florida. I will admit that I am a little homesick, and I miss being in my own space but at the same time, I am terrified of returning.
From the moment we set foot into our home, we will be overwhelmed by Aria’s things. Her Finding Nemo themed bouncer is sitting in the living room. Her little Christmas stocking is still hanging up next to the Christmas tree. Her ultrasound pictures are proudly on display in the kitchen. Her car seat is still sitting in the hallway upstairs. The pack and play, where she was supposed to rest her head for the first few weeks of her life, is set up next to my side of the bed. And then there’s the nursery… Oh, her beautiful pink nursery. When I close my eyes and picture the room, it just feels like her space. I used to spend hours in her rocking chair, holding my belly, and thinking of her future. Now I’m not sure when I will have the strength to walk into her room again.
We built an entire life for Aria. We prepared a place for her not just in our home, but in our hearts. We planned our future with her in mind. In the blink of an eye, all of that changed, and we are still struggling with how to pick up the pieces and build a new life. Staying with my parents in Maryland has been a really good escape from reality. We don’t have to face the world if we don’t want to, and we have family here to support us when we need it. Once we get back to Florida, Brian and I will have to start worrying about the real world again, and we aren’t sure how we are going to handle it. Reentering the world after being touched by such a massive tragedy is scary. It’s not like we can just go back to our old lives, because we aren’t even the same people we were a month ago. We have to relearn how to live, work and socialize as the new people we have become.
So we will be packing up our things and heading back in a few days. It feels a lot like we are moving to Florida from Maryland all over again because we aren’t completely returning to our old life. We are going home to build a new life, with Aria in our hearts instead of our arms.