This is Part I of II posts on separation and love after loss.
Please come back Wednesday to read the second part.
We weren’t married, Soley’s dad and I. We wanted to be married, and we had everything — a ring, a date, and a venue — but then we had cancer. When our 3 month-old was diagnosed with a brain tumor, all wedding plans (all of our plans really) were immediately cancelled. We had no future anymore. Our baby girl was supposed to wear a a big white puffed dress at the wedding. But by the time it should have take place, she was already classified palliative care. The only legal status our family had was the civil partnership we had signed during the pregnancy. Nothing romantic, more of an administrative formality — mostly it was about establishing paternity rights, for insurance matters. I was in my third trimester, we had booked the appointment on our lunch breaks and went right back to work afterwards. Our big wedding was planned on the same month the following year. I couldn’t wait for all three of us to have the same family name.
Soley was diagnosed seven months before our should-have-been wedding date. Still, whenever the doctors asked, I answered that we were married. We were young, they didn’t always take us seriously and for some reason I felt it would give us legitimacy as a family. I wanted them to understand we were responsible parents, even if we looked like two lost kids. It didn’t feel like lying to call him my husband. We might not have had the wedding, but we definitely had the marriage.
And what we went through when it ended – that sure was worth calling a divorce.
The summer after Soley died, we went through a grief honeymoon of sorts. We left the hospital where we had lived for six months and went back to Brittany, in the same house we had brought our newborn the summer before. We slept in the same room, except she wasn’t there to keep us awake at night anymore. We traveled to Brussels and Amsterdam. We walked around the city, we smoked weed and drank herbal tea, cuddled together on the sofa in the coffee shop. It was sad, but in a sweet way. I don’t remember much tears. After almost a year in cancer world, we were trying very hard to acclimate back to the normal world.
I’m not sure we had realized our daughter was really, definitely, hopelessly gone. And we certainly didn’t see that our relationship wasn’t going to last.
*Read part II of this post on Wednesday!