They say there are seven stages of grief, and that you’re supposed to go from one stage to another.

I go through most of the stages every day.

Shock – I was in shock watching the doctors and nurses give my daughter chest compressions, shock when the doctors stopped trying to save her, and shock when I wake up every morning and she isn’t snuggled next to me.

Denial – I denied that she was in danger of leaving me, even as I watched her heart completely stop beating – multiple times. My brain denies that the last ten weeks have even happened.

Bargaining – When Madeline laid on the hospital bed with dozens of medical personnel around her, I started bargaining, begging anyone and anything to help her, save her. Every night, when I lay my head on her hard, cool urn, I tell her that I would do anything to get her back. And I mean that. Anything.

Guilt – I feel guilty that Maddie got sick. I feel guilty that she died in front of me, and I wasn’t holding her or kissing her during her final moments. I feel guilty every moment of every day that I live, and she does not.

Anger – I was furious when the attending doctor came to Mike and me and said they were “only going to try for ten more minutes.” I am furious they couldn’t save her. I am furious at the universe for taking my daughter. I am furious at my body for not being able to carry her to full-term.

Depression – The depression hits me like a sonic boom. My ears and eyes fill, I can hardly breathe, and my body lights on fire. I feel sick, the seconds stretch out like eons in front of me. I feel hopeless, empty, broken.

Acceptance – I will never, ever accept that my daughter is gone. Never.

They say that all seven stages must be completed for healing to occur. I guess I’ll never be healed.