Today, we had our taxes filed. The guy who filed for us was pleasant and meant no harm, but was a bit boorish and more than a little sexist. He spoke almost exclusively to Morgan, even when I was the one answering. He asked more questions about whether and when we were having kids than I enjoyed answering a week and a half after our baby’s death. He joked about how he expected me to make Morgan stop at the outlet malls in North Carolina on our way to Charleston in a couple weeks, even though I was unaware of their existence and abhor shopping. Toward the end of our appointment as he was looking over my T-1098, he remarked that I must have gotten some serious academic scholarships. Morgan answered, “Yeah, she’s pretty smart. That’s why I married her.” The man looked shocked and good-naturedly prompted Morgan to add that the real reason he had married me was because I was beautiful. He joked, “Man, I just saved you a night in the doghouse.” Morgan rolled his eyes. On the way home, he clarified, “I do think you’re beautiful, but that is not why I married you.”
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I think my husband is pretty much perfect. He is brilliant and compassionate, funny and loyal, endlessly selfless and more giving than anyone I have ever met. We’ve been together for almost a decade and I wouldn’t change our story for all the riches in the world. A friend joked a while ago that from the way I talk about him, Morgan must have no faults. Full-disclosure: He’s a grumpy old man and stubborn as a mule, but those are really the only complaints I’ve ever had. Morgan has been, and continues to be, a godsend. As a side note, he’s also an unabashed feminist, which I adore, who married me for my brain and my hilarious sense of humor.
When we were at the hospital, Morgan was a rock. He hadn’t slept much the previous 48 hours because he was qualifying and was at work practically overnight. Before the doctor realized I was in labor, she deposited us in a temporary triage room. He held my hand, reassured me, and didn’t leave my side. At some point before switching to the room where I had Cory, someone gave me medicine to try to stop the contractions and allow me to relax. From then until my water broke the next day, remaining conscious against the drugs was a struggle. Every time I woke and looked up, Morgan was there. His hands were always holding one of mine, his face was always easy to locate, his eyes were always filled with concern and love. There wasn’t a second that he wasn’t there. He never left the room, he barely looked away. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
When the doctor told us that Cory was going to die no matter what we tried, I looked for Morgan. I was so out of it and so confused, but I knew I had to tell him how sorry I was. This man who had given up everything to take care of me and my family, who never held anything too dear that it couldn’t be given to someone else, who loved me far more than I deserved…and I had lost the son he had wanted for years. He had prayed for Cory, talked to him, waited anxiously to feel him moving. Morgan was already head over heels in love with the child I was carrying. And now we were going to lose him. In the moment, I was so much more upset for my husband than for myself. After everything Morgan has sacrificed over the years, now he had to let go of his son as well. I don’t know how many times I told him I was sorry that night, and since. I am so sorry. I would have done anything to save his son.
Morgan did sleep for about two hours while my mom or my sisters sat with me. When he woke, though, and realized I was too scared to sleep, he parked next to the bed for the entire night, promising me that he’d make sure I didn’t stop breathing. I do not know how I could have made it through that night without him. During the actual delivery, he kept me focused and centered, reminding me of decisions I had already researched and decided on, refusing to allow the doctors to do things he knew I didn’t want. I really think the only reason I didn’t end up numbed, sedated, and with an unnecessary c-section scar was because he was there. The next day in the hospital as we had to make decisions with the funeral home and my body fell apart completely, he was a non-stop support, even when wrestling with his own pain and loss. He kept telling me how strong I was and how proud he was of me. He was an island of encouragement and positivity in a sea of pain and loss.
In the days since Cory died, Morgan has waited on me hand and foot. He has remained ever grumpy and stubborn, but perpetually available and “there.” This has alway s been his best quality: his there-ness. He is a stable, steady rock that never gives out or leaves. Even in the very worst of times, he is there. He is always there. I’ve never been more grateful for this man God gave me. Even in the aftermath of saying goodbye to our child, he has remained unwavering.