Thanks to all of you for your beautiful words of support as I prepare for next week. I pray I can be articulate IRL without the benefit of a backspace key.
I'm not prepared with Show and Tell this week...so I offer up a "holiday" post.
"This time of year" are four little words that represent pages of emotions and expereiences for us. By us, I mean those of you struggling to get pregnant and those of you who have lost a baby. Or both. We are all united this time of year by the palpable absence of a person from our lives.
Some of us know who we are missing, her hair color, his perfectly formed face, their feet represented for eternity with ink on an upper arm.
Some of us know only that we are missing, someone...anyone... to fill that part of our heart that aches with need.
Regardless of the manner of our longing, we see the holidays through different lenses. Yes, the carols are beautiful and the streets glowing with white lights bring a smile, but there is an edge to our cheer, an awareness deep within that the blissful serenity we once felt on these anticipation filled days is just a cover for what truly matters - the ability to feel complete. When we felt whole, celebrating was easy - but now, when we will never truly be whole again, celebrating takes mental preparation. In the first few years it is a challenge, a task set before us. And even now, eight years after our first holiday season without Emma, I am forced to remind myself, Cara, not everyone sees this the way you do. In fact, not many - when surrounded by sweet treats, wine, cheerful conversation or eggnog, even recall what happened to us, nor do they want to.
"Wow! How your children have grown!" My sister-in-law's mother exclaimed at the Thanksgiving table. Twelve of us sat around the long rectangular table and I beamed, "Yes, they are amazing aren't they?" I replied. "How old are your kids now?" she asked. "Bear is nearly six and The Comedian will be four" And Emma is eight "Thanks for asking" I said.
No. I didn't add Emma in my list of kids, but I wanted to - desperately. But I knew the face that would meet my small four word sentence. In an instant it would have shifted from a light smile matched with responsive nodding to a still face with wide eyes, marked with shock - shock that I was talking about my dead daughter, amazement that I even brought her up.
Why dampen their celebration? I asked myself on Thursday. But why minimize mine? When I said that I was grateful for ALL my children, I meant Emma too. So, I guess the question is which side of the social fence do we want to fall into? It is a choice. We can take the high road and spare others the shock of a non-response, content in the knowledge that we recognize our lost souls. Or, we can say what we mean with pride and love in our hearts, regardless of what our words mean for others.
Thursday, I took the high road, but by default. "Bear is nearly six and The Comedian will be four." I said, and in the briefest of pauses before I could open my mouth and continue, my sister in law opened hers. "Yes." she blurted, most probably aware what I was about to say, "All our kids are in a row. After the New Year they will be 4, 5, 6, and 7." Yes. They are all in a row. I cried from the inside. Emma is 8. They are 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
My first daughter. The first grandchild. Always left out. Always forgotten.
CATCH UP FROM THE START!
TO READ MY STORY FROM THE BEGINNING CLICK HERE THEN READ THE 7 COUNTDOWN POSTS TO EMMA'S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!