I Can Only See Yellow

When we were in the hospital the Chaplain brought us coloring pages. My nurse, who helps grieving parents,  told me that for some women coloring is the closest they can get to finding a ‘nothing place’. A nothing place is where you go to not feel the pain all around you. It helps you survive the burning house. So I try it. I choose from a stack of abstract designs, settling on a mosaic of butterflies and flowers. I attempt to absentmindedly select colors from my bin, thinking of nothing except patterns and shapes. Except every time that I get to the center of a flower, I reach for the yellow crayon. I tell myself that centers don’t have to be yellow in this type of picture, and 23 other color choices could fill those ovals. Yet time, and time again, my mind can only see yellow.

From the time I saw the  positive pregnancy test, my mind could only see Izzy. A dark haired girl, with boundless energy, that would round out my family and allow my husband to experience fatherhood from the very beginning stages of life. “I’m the youngest of three girls, as well,” I told people, not able to hide my immediate connection with this baby. My older daughters somehow seemed even more special to me as they started to absorb the role of being  not just older siblings, but also caregivers. “Can we read to her at night?” “Can she sleep with us?” “Can we name her Izzy?”

I left my house on Wednesday morning for a quick routine OB visit, a last minute Thanksgiving ingredient run, and to pick my girls up from their theater camp. I returned to my house on Monday afternoon with a memory box, four prescription medications, and a hollow aching in my entire body. She’s gone. I left her in that hospital where I first saw her motionless heart, where I first held her lifeless body, and where I swear I lost a part of me that had nothing to do with a pregnancy. She is gone and yet she is the only thing that I can see.

There are 24 colors around me, and all I can see is yellow. I want so desperately to choose a different one, but my mind and body won’t let me. I’m trying to parent, I’m trying to deal with insurance, I’m trying to imagine a day that I get out of bed but it all seems so incompressible. “It’s purple!” I want to scream, as if somehow it will make sense to my family and friends. I love the color, or at least I once did, but it no longer stands a chance of winning my attention.

I owe so many thank yous, and cards, and phone calls. I am indebted with so many favors and so much kindness. Right now, I have to believe in myself that I’ll get there, someday. But for the moment, I am living in a single color world, and I can’t change it no matter how hard I try.




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