You can feel it in your body before you even look at the date. A heaviness creeps in, a subtle sadness. And then you remember. Last year, on this day, we lost you.
The child we thought we would raise and would love and would change our lives forever, vanished with that first smear of blood.
The family was visiting for the 4th of July. We made a big dinner, complete with an announcement. We’re 8 weeks pregnant, we said, and waved your blurry grey photo. We were greeted with tears and hugs and cries of joy.
We had seen your thumping heartbeat just a few days prior, the heartbeat that finally convinced us this was real. The heartbeat that made me turn to your dad with wonder in my eyes.
We already loved you.
I’ll never forget that night you left us. I cried in the bathroom, then slumped in your daddy’s arms. I knew you were gone. But I still hoped, through the car ride to the ER, through the long hours laying in the hospital bed, bleeding. I still hoped, until the stoic doctor with the awkward manner confirmed what I already knew to be true. We would never get to know you.
A year has passed and we’ve fought and endured much more. I didn’t know that a year after that first positive pregnancy test I’d still be empty, still not expecting, still not holding you. But I’d be in the maternity ward nevertheless, awaiting the arrival of your cousin. I’d again have my family gathered all around, but this time to greet and welcome to the world a different baby. I didn’t know I’d still be without you.
Sometimes, we can be thankful we don’t know what lies ahead of us.
And as we see this anniversary through, a bit haggard, a bit beat up, a bit tougher, we still remain optimistic. We’ve learned about sadness, about grief, about loss. We’ve learned how to fight. We’ve learned how to find joy amidst the relentless longing.
I’ve spent this anniversary thinking of you. Wondering who you would have been. Feeling at peace, then sometimes not. Feeling steady, then not at all. Feeling how sad I was, that day, when you went away.
We will always love you, even if you live forever only in our hearts.