Death Creates Life
To experience love and loss is to live. When life slips through your hands, you wander seamlessly about with no rhyme or reason until your heart recognizes that love is and always will be a source of direction.
I received a text message while at work from my sorority sister Dazi, and it read, “Line Emergency.” A “line” consists of the ladies who pledged at the exact time as you. You spend countless days and nights together to ensure that the business of the chapter is carried out. You bond immensely and become absolute family. Nadine was the youngest of the bunch and the life of the party. We nicknamed her Baby Pearl. We all felt a sense of responsibility for her. The last conversation that she and I had was when I picked her up and we drove to an event for our alma mater’s homecom- ing. She began to cry in the car and express her admiration for me. In true motherly fashion, I told her to dry her eyes and that we absolutely could not ruin our makeup to indulge in another sappy moment that we’d always treasured together. That was the last time that I would see her face; it was the last time that we would cry together.
When I called Dazi back, she told me that Nadine had suddenly passed away. In complete disbelief, I told her to never call my place of work with untruths. I think that I hung up the phone. I sat in my office in total shock and disbelief. I transitioned into nonbelief. I spoke with another line sister who confirmed what I had been told. I had not ever lost anyone close to me and had no idea of how to handle it. I knew that there must have been some error, so I called Nadine’s cell phone. There would never be another moment that I could speak to Nadine in this life, and my heart broke. When we attended her funeral, my heart broke even more. I refused to view
I returned home to discover that I was pregnant. My husband and I were overjoyed, because we had made no plans for a new baby. We instantly attached to the possibilities of a new addition. This gave me great joy and helped me to see that life consisted of evolution. Although I could not make sense of the loss of Nadine and the hole in my heart, I learned to speak to her every day as I would the baby growing inside of me.
I guessed that this baby would be a son. For months, we nurtured the baby and began to make preparations. Our family was excited to say the least. As I went for my doctor’s appointment in anticipation of the new developments, I remember beginning to think of names as I walked into the office. I left work to attend this appointment and told my husband that I would call him with all of the updates since he had such a long commute. This visit would allow me to see the baby through ultrasound, and I lived to see my babies moving around. It made the experience even more real. As I lay on the table in the midst of the ultrasound, the nurse changed her demeanor. She seemed to be in search. “Is everything okay?” I asked. No answer. I was so certain that things were okay that I comforted her. “I’m sure everything is fine. Should I lay differently?” I asked. The quiet that filled the room was horrid. The words that she spoke killed my spirit: “The baby doesn’t have a heartbeat. I’m so sorry.” I became paralyzed. The nurse instructed me to place my clothes back on and come inside the doctor’s quarters. I did so, and the doctor began to explain what had happened to me. I heard silence. She provided me with some papers that would direct me to schedule a surgical procedure that would extract the pregnancy, because it was no longer valid.
I left the doctor’s office again in a state of confusion. Life had slipped out of my hands.
On our sixth anniversary, my husband and I sat in the hospital, because my body had made the decision to extract the pregnancy on its own. Mentally, I was not present. I cried for days on end. Giving up was never an option, because I had a husband and two children who were counting on me and I would never let them down, but the pain that I felt was unbearable.
Six months later, we found out that we were pregnant again. The pain from the loss of Nadine and the baby had impacted me so much that I never even acknowledged the pregnancy in public. My husband, mother, and I were the only ones who knew. My husband would always ask, “When are you going to tell people?” The pain wouldn’t allow me to accept the baby, because I lived each day in fear that the same series of events might transpire. I loved the baby growing inside of me with all of my heart and read and sang and nurtured, but I could not allow myself to be vulnerable. I could not bear such pain again. The same wall that I had placed in many volatile relationships was the same wall that I had assembled in my soul. I continued working out, lifting weights, and doing squats daily. The only comfort that I knew was to keep life the same. Around the seventh month, my staff at my then job began to ask if I was pregnant. I never answered. I never acknowledged.
Around the eighth month of pregnancy, I had to be hospitalized for dehydration. While lying in the hospital bed receiving treat- ment, I made a promise to God, myself, and the baby growing inside of me: “God, let your will be done.” I acknowledged that I did not have the power to change the will of God. I addressed the past hurt and said a prayer to release the spirit of the baby that had departed from pain. I also took action and began to make plans for the new baby that would arrive. We found out that she would be a girl. I began to restore the dreams that I had for my first daughter, Lauren, to have a sister.
On our seventh anniversary, God gave us London Blake Orie. One year later from the date that our baby had departed this life, he gave us life.
Today, I keep Nadine’s picture in a treasure box that I look at every day. I speak to her candidly and laugh at the many ways that I know she would respond. Oddly enough, London embodies many of the same characteristics that made Nadine so special. Every day around her is a party. She sings and dances and lights up the room with every breath. I cannot imagine life without my children, and I could not have imagined life not having met Nadine. I know the beautiful baby that we lost sits in his Aunt Nadine’s lap, and they laugh at us. They watch over us, and they protect us.
From the pain emerges passion to accept the will of the universe and to live every moment with vigor, for pain is the essence of passion and purpose.
A heroine in heels turns pain into prosperity.