Tag Archive | grief

To the One Who Isn’t Here

Dear Baby-of-Long-Ago,

Sometimes I feel you. Not so much in the ethereal, mystical, magical way of smelling the random scent of lavender or feeling a gentle breeze blow through a room with closed windows and knowing it’s you. That’s only happened once or twice, when seeing a rainbow or a butterfly in the most unexpected places, and even then I don’t know if it was you or my hoping it was you. I’m not sure the dead come back to us like that, or if they leave us whom they love alone so that we can move on in peace.

So it’s not you I feel precisely, but the absence of you. The ever-constant, gentle (and sometimes less-gentle, more raw, stinging, pinching, punching, painful) knowing you are not here. You are not, and never will be again, here. In this very place. With me. With us. Your family.

I go about my day just as I did before your short stay here on earth, except now I have two living little ones to look after, and I am more tired, busy, and cranky and happy all at once. I don’t light your candle every night anymore or cry for you every day. And yet, your not-here-ness is here, drifting silently and invisibly around me, humming in my ear like a mosquito at times, fluttering through my thoughts like a hummingbird at others, and rattling me like an earthquake when things go really badly. These days I feel free, mostly, and yet I am still somehow never quite free of you. Which is okay, because your memory doesn’t hurt me all the time now, and on most days there is a sweet nostalgia in thinking of you, the baby who has stayed a baby to me, the baby who never got to grow up and forever remains as small and precious as a tadpole.

There is something unique and uniquely painful about losing a barely-there baby. It does not take long for people to feel justified in forgetting. And they start to expect you to forget, too. And with time, you do. Not entirely and not forever, but there are minutes and then hours and then maybe even days when you don’t think of your loss and what was and what could have been, and you start feeling guilty for that. I feel guilty for that and find myself grasping at moments, trying to prove I haven’t moved on, haven’t betrayed you, because that somehow means I’m the mom I want to be. The one you deserve.

But the truth is, no matter how often or how little you cross my thoughts, I will never move on, not fully. There is a part of me, the old, pre-miscarriage me, who lives with you in the past. And unlike everyone around me who doesn’t remember anything about you and your time here unless I forcefully bring it to their attention, you are always on my mind during the “remembering days” — the anniversaries of the day when I learned of your conception, and of your goneness, and of course I couldn’t forget your due date if I tried.  But your memory comes to me at other times, too. I am reminded of your absence most when I watch your sisters for too long. They bring me such joy. Across years, I have seen their personalities evolve and unfold. I held them in their immediate, wet, oh-so-real newness and, with awe and some heartache, watched as they have each grown into a bigger, more independent, strikingly beautiful version of those babies they once were. And now there is another baby on the way and, God willing, I will get to experience that with him too. But for you, I have none of that. I did not just lose a baby, but years and years of feeling your soft weight enfolded in my arms in a hug, and watching your eyes widen under the same long lashes as you discover the world around you, and seeing all the ways you change and stay the same as decades tick by. You never got your chance to become anything and it makes me sad for you and sad for me because there is so much more than a kidney bean-sized embryo that I lost.

I often think of you as the Baby-Who-Almost-Was, but even when I do, I know there is no truth in that name. Because there is no “almost” about the place you had here. You were. You existed. And in my past, and my memories, and the empty space in my heart that no amount of babies or love can fill, you still do. You were. You are. In some ways, even if it’s only in the hole that you left behind, you still live amongst us.

So you’re not forgotten. I don’t always remember, but I can’t forget. I won’t and I don’t want to. There’s not much I can give you now with me here and you in some not-here place, with me solid and alive and you a wisp-of-smoke ghost in my life, but I can promise you that I love you still and I won’t forget you and I won’t try to. You are still, and forever, mine.

And maybe that’s the best way to be.

With big love,

Your Mama

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Grief is Beautiful

Grief is part of the human experience. We all know this. By the time we reach our 30s, most of us have already lost someone we loved, whether it be a beloved grandparent or a beloved pet, or if we’re really unlucky, someone much closer to us. Losing someone in death is perhaps the most difficult and permanent of all griefs, but it’s not the only type of grief we experience in life.

As infertiles, we know and understand a lot about grief because we go through the process over and over and over again. With the start of each period, we grieve the end of a dream. Some of us have to grieve the loss of a pregnancy, a much-wanted and already-loved baby. Some of us have to grieve the idea of ever being parents or of experiencing all the ups and downs that come with carrying a child in your womb. We grieve because we don’t feel “normal,” because we don’t feel like a woman, because everyone else seems to get pregnant without much thought and we are reminded of our body’s shortcomings at every turn.

And as a mother, I have come to realize that there is grief in every part of parenting. My friend Leigh and I speak often of this. We grieve because our babies have stopped being babies. We grieve because they are constantly growing up, leaving us behind little bit by little bit in each step forward they take. They start preschool, they start kindergarten, they make friends who become more important to them than Mom and Dad, they stop needing hugs and kisses, they stop needing us…and we grieve. And we grieve when they grieve, for whatever they grieve for and for however long the grief lasts. As a mother, grief is constant.

But grief doesn’t end there either. It isn’t contained to just death, and infertility, and mothering. We face grief around every corner, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in much larger ones. We grieve the loss of a job we loved or needed. We grieve not getting the job we really wanted. We grieve when a phenomenal vacation has come to an end. (Maybe not everyone does this, but I do. Oh! how I do.) We grieve the end of summer, the end of the holiday season. And we grieve relationships that end not by death, but by circumstance or choice. Sometimes someone moves away. Sometimes we just drift away from a friend who once was our whole world. Sometimes we are forced to face a divorce we never could have predicted, as my sister is right now. And sometimes a close friend, for whatever reason, decides that she is ready to end our friendship, and we grieve again.

That’s where I’m at right now.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you will probably remember my good friend Lillian. The one who gave me the most face-to-face support during and after my miscarriage. The one who experienced three miscarriages of her own before giving birth to her daughter and another one shortly after I learned I was pregnant with Skittle. The one who kept Cupcake at her house for nearly two days while I was in the hospital giving birth. The one with whom I did frequent Mom’s Nights Outs, and weekend getaways, and jam-making, and cookie-baking, and playdates. Remember her? For over three years, she has been a huge part of my life and, now, she has unexpectedly decided that she does not want to be a part of it anymore.

It’s a long, complicated story that I am still trying to make sense of and much of it remains shrouded in mystery for me. I won’t bother going into all of the details here because it’s just too much. And really, the details don’t matter because, in the end, Lillian still decided our friendship was over. She explained it away by saying it was clear to her that our personalities didn’t fit together. I am too sensitive, too easily wounded, and she apparently felt like a “bull in a china shop” with my feelings. And in that, she may have a point. I am emotional and sensitive and I do get my feelings hurt easily.  And Lillian’s first priority is always Lillian. She has no filter and is quick to anger and says and does a lot of things that can and have stung my heart. But the funny thing is that I have never admitted to any of it unless Lillian has pointedly asked me if she hurt my feelings. And isn’t it odd that I’ve been able to get over and let go of it every time she has hurt me, and yet she somehow cannot let it go? And that the only two times she has confronted me with  issues in our friendship is because I hurt her feelings, not the other way around? Like I said, it’s complicated and mysterious and I don’t understand much of it myself.

I think the hardest part is knowing how much time I invested in our friendship. I gave her a lot of myself and recently worked very hard to fix things when it became obvious they weren’t going well. I devoted myself to our friendship for an entire year while my husband was telling me I deserved better and that I was wasting my time. I was willing to do what needed to be done to find some healing between us and she gave up. And she can say it’s because I’m too sensitive or blame it on clashing personalities or whatever her excuse of the day is, but the truth of the matter is that she made a choice. It was a choice to end our friendship and only she has responsibility in that. Clearly, I valued it more than she did and I’m glad to know that now, but it’s still hard to swallow. And no matter how it ended or why, it still feels like a rejection. Like something is wrong with me. Like I did something bad, even when everything I did had truly good and honest intentions behind it and I wanted nothing more than to be a good friend to her.

But the intensity of the emotions that came in the aftermath has mostly subsided. I have worked through the grieving process rather quickly and am now at a stage of acceptance and, almost, indifference. These days, I am feeling somewhat relieved that the constant drama with her is over for good and I am free to live my life as I please without the concern of what she thinks or how it may piss her off. I miss her sometimes, and all the laughs we had. And I miss the fun things we used to do with our mutual friend Leigh and the three of our families. I miss the memories and the sense of community her friendship gave me. I miss her because, in the best of times, she was a dear friend who offered a lot of support and a place where I could truly let my guard down. But in the worst of times, I felt guarded all the time and I don’t miss that.

It’s a mixed bag of “stuff” you get with a loss. With grief.

And yet, if you live a long and full life, grief is part of the package. It’s part of the price we pay for love. It’s part of being human.

I kind of hate that, but I’m learning to accept it, instead of fearing it. Instead of running from it.

I’m learning to embrace it.

To be grateful for it.

Grief is beautiful.

Even when it’s hard and ugly, it’s always beautiful.

December 6th

Today is December 6th. St. Nicholas Day. The day we fill our children’s shoes with an ornament to hang on the tree and a special treat, as is tradition in our home.

It is also the one-year anniversary of my unfulfilled due date.

Today, or yesterday or tomorrow or some day nearby, Teddy Graham could have been one year old.

Unfathomable.

Enough time has passed, with plenty of unexpected events in between, that I can no longer imagine the alternative to what I have right now. I cannot imagine living a life with a one-year-old and three-year-old. I cannot imagine what might have been, what Teddy might have looked like, or how he might have been similar to or very different from his big sister. I cannot imagine living a life without the grief from a miscarriage, the pain from enduring another year of the uncertainty of infertility, and the utter relief and gratitude that came from bringing Skittle safely into this world.

Life is so different from what it could have been, and I am glad for that, and sad for it.

Certainly, this year’s December 6th is easier than last year‘s. In 2012, I greeted this day with what I thought was peace and healing, and ended it in tears. It was a hard day. But I have Skittle now and we are not actively TTC and I really do feel peace. And I really do feel the wounds healing.

I have my rainbow baby finally. The baby who came after. After so many tears. After so much sorrow. After Teddy Graham. But the heart is an amazing thing. It’s capacity to love is incredible. And there will always be a corner of it reserved for Teddy.

So this morning, I shed a few tears. Today, I will remember. Tonight, I will light his candle. And then I will move forward again. Never forgetting the baby who never made it into my arms, but continuing to heal and to celebrate the babies I do get to hold.

Hard Candy Christmas

It’s December 1st. That means Christmas is just around the corner. For those dealing with loss, grief, regret, illness, disappointment, homesickness, and/or loneliness, the holiday season can be so difficult. It can be especially so for us infertiles, who know that Christmas is made all the brighter when seen through the eyes of a child. The child we so desperately long for.

So, friends…wherever you are at in your journey — be it, grieving the loss of an unborn child, or still hoping for a miraculous conception, or holding your breath through a long-awaited-for pregnancy, or finally celebrating with the child your heart had yearned for and already dreaming of another — I wish you well this month. I know these festive days aren’t often easy, but may a great sense of peace find you and may you find something great to be joyful about.

Last year, this was my theme song:

This year, it is a gentle reminder of how far I have come, and a quiet nod to those who still have sorrow in their heart. Thinking of all of you today and in all the days ahead. xo

The Failure of a Friendship

In the last few months, there has been some talk of floundering friendships in the ALI blogosphere. I am specifically thinking of posts by Daryl and Trisha, but I think there may have been others too. And recently, I have come to realized that it’s time to acknowledge I’m part of this club too. I anticipate that this will be a long, tedious post, so you have been warned. I just really am feeling the need to get this off my chest and out of my head.

My friend Kat and I met the first day of our sophomore year of high school. We clicked immediately and bonded over geometry homework and boy drama. She was a cheerleader and I was not, she was popular and I was not, but that never stopped her from becoming my friend. I was lucky in that, though I was chubby and shy, I was well-liked by most everyone and never bullied, teased, or mistreated by my classmates for a single day. And Kat accepted me completely.

We were never best friends in the same way that my declared “best friend” and I were. We didn’t have sleepovers. She didn’t call my parents “mom” and “dad.” She didn’t accompany my family on weekend road trips. She didn’t spend more time at my house than hers. But we were on the phone almost every night, doing homework together or gossiping. We passed notes in class. And during the summers, we e-mailed regularly and met for coffee or lunch every few weeks. She was not a classic best friend, but more of a closeted one. She was the one who knew me best and understood me completely (as we were very much alike). She was the one I trusted and told my secrets to.

After graduation, things didn’t change all that much. She went to California for college and I went cross-country to Florida, but we still remained connected. I visited her during my spring break and, during the summers, we would meet at Starbucks as often as we could for 3- or 4-hour marathon chats. That was our “thing” and it seemed to work for both of us.

Until it didn’t anymore.

As time passed, and she spent less and less time in our hometown in Idaho, it became harder for her to give me any of her time when she did come to town. As I did everything I could to accommodate her schedule so we could once again meet for coffee, I grew weary. And angry. And it’s then I realized this had been the definition of our whole friendship. I had spent years accommodating her. We always planned things around her plans, not mine. I always went to her house to study or chat; she never came to mine. After nearly fifteen years of friendship, she still could not tell you where my parents live because she has never been there. I was always the one to e-mail or call her to see if she could meet for a coffee date; she never contacted me. To this day, I am still the one who will first send an e-mail to just “check in” and see how things are going. Maybe it’s because Kat has never needed me as much as I have needed her, but I don’t know if she has ever made the first move to nourish our friendship, and certainly not recently.

Was I sick of it? Am I sick of it? Yes and yes.

But our story didn’t really end there, in Idaho, with me giving up and her moving on. First of all, I am not really one to give up. I will cling to the last threads of friendship until they snap. I have said it before on this blog, but let me repeat: I am not good at letting go. And so instead of letting us both go our separate ways, I made a desperate move: I asked her to be my Maid of Honor after Honey proposed to me. And she said yes. She was ecstatic actually, which thrilled me to no end. I told myself the reason I had asked her was because she was my closest friend, and responsible, and someone I loved and trusted, and all of that is true to a point. But really? I was just trying to cling to friendship that was already on life support.

From across the miles, Kat and I shopped for bridesmaid dresses and brainstormed showers together. But when it came time to actually throw my bridal shower, she admitted that she couldn’t really afford it. She had spent every last penny on her own wedding just months before (which I flew to California for, mind you) and she thought my bridesmaid (a cousin) should give the shower instead. The problem? My cousin also lived out-of-state and couldn’t do it because of work. Kat eventually relented and agreed to give the shower, but only after my parents offered to buy her a plane ticket so she could fly to Idaho to do it.

The shower was lovely, but the weekend was not. I had dreams of us spending all weekend together, making plans, going to dress fittings, shopping for the last-minute items I needed. Maybe even sharing a late-night dessert at a local diner, or having an early morning breakfast and coffee together. But all I got was the dress fitting. The rest of the time she spent with her family and other friends, and I was once again pushed to the back-burner. I should not have been surprised, but I was. In fact, I was crushed. It was my wedding that was approaching. And it was my parent’s money that had brought her to town. Couldn’t I be a priority for once?

In the end, though, she was truly there for me on my wedding day, and that’s what mattered most. We continued to keep in touch afterwards and I once again accommodated her schedule so that I could see her every time she came back to Idaho. It was a lot of work and exhausting trying to be her friend, but it was important to me. I didn’t want to lose the connection with the girl who was my Matron of Honor, someone who was such a huge part of such an important day in my life.

And then Infertility happened. To both of us. I went through it first as we tried to conceive my daughter. I was hopeless and broken after only a few months, and Kat said all the wrong things to me. She told me to relax. She told me everything would be fine. She told me what a great option adoption can be, multiple times in multiple e-mails. She’s right, but I was just at the start of my journey. I was not at any place where I was ready to consider giving up my dream of carrying my own child. It hurt me, but I tried not to take what she said to heart. I knew she didn’t understand.

But three months before I gave birth to Cupcake, Kat and her hubby started TTC as well. And a few months later, she admitted to me that they weren’t having any luck. Her cycles were far too close together and Clomid was not helping. I felt for her. I hurt for her. She e-mailed me almost daily for weeks, maybe months, with questions and fears and concerns. For the first time in our friendship, she needed me. And I won’t lie, it felt really good to be on the receiving end of it. But as she fell farther and farther into the depths of fertility treatments, she started withdrawing. It broke my heart a little, because I was doing everything I could to support her and be there for her. I was being the friend I had needed when struggling through my own journey. But nothing I said or did brought her back to me, and who could blame her really? I hadn’t needed to take the steps that she had in TTC. And I had a baby, the very thing she coveted. The last I heard — and this was over a year ago — she and her husband were in the process of deciding between IVF and adoption because they couldn’t afford both.

Kat has done a lot of things wrong to me. With some time and perspective, I have come to realize that I have been used at times. She’s been my friend when it’s convenient and easy. She is willing to ask and to receive, but less willing to give. Surely, I have been a better, truer, more loyal friend to her than she has been to me. But I know not all the fault lies in her hands. I have been a needy friend. I have tried too hard, and at times depended on her too much. I have perhaps had unfair demands or expectations. And — the thing that is really unforgivable in my eyes — I, too, said the wrong things to her in the early days of her fertility treatments, even when I should have known better. When Kat would worry over the future of her womb, I said once or twice that I worried too if I would ever have another child. Ugh. I know. At the time, I felt I was sympathizing with her, but now I just see it as insensitive and unfair. (Though, in my defense, I did later sincerely apologize for the thoughtlessness of such comments, and I have never made that same mistake again, to her or anyone else.)

Kat and I still connect over e-mail every now and then. She still doesn’t have a baby. We e-mailed back and forth a few times after my miscarriage. She asked what was wrong and, for the first time, I decided not to tell her. I just didn’t know if she could offer me the support I needed and, quite frankly, I was afraid to get a response such as “At least you can get pregnant” or “Just be happy you have Cupcake.” So I just told her I was grieving a very personal loss and didn’t really feel like talking about it. It took her weeks to respond with an “I’m sorry” and that’s when I decided our friendship was pretty much over. I can’t tell her things anymore and I can’t trust her to be there when I need her. And without that, what sort of friendship could it be but dead?

But here’s the thing: even that revelation has not been enough to force me to move on. Not completely, anyways. Because just a couple weeks ago, I e-mailed her again. While I don’t communicate with Kat much anymore and I don’t know where she’s at in her own family-building journey, I felt like it was my responsibility to inform her of my current pregnancy before announcing it on Facebook. I hate being ambushed by pregnancy announcements, and I wanted to be kind and try to protect her from such a surprise. This is just an excerpt of what I wrote in my e-mail to her, after telling her my news:

I don’t know anymore where you are at in your journey to have a baby, and I suspect you’re in a much better place than I ever was while going through this, but I wanted to tell you this privately before going public on Facebook next week because I have always hated being blindsided by pregnancy announcements. I wanted to show you the same sort of respect and sensitivity that I appreciate. I do totally understand if you’re not the in mood to be congratulatory and I will be happy to block you from any FB pregnancy posts if you prefer — no hard feelings, I promise. I hate that anyone else has to go through this, but I have more than one friend who is struggling through infertility in some way and has kindly asked that I don’t include them in this sort of thing. You can just let me know if that’s what you want.

I think that’s about the best I could do. It took her ages to respond to me — she still hadn’t when I began this post, which is what prompted me to write it in the first place — and once she did respond, it was short and sweet. Something like, “Congrats. Work is nutso. I bet Cupcake will like being a sissy.”  And that was it. So different than usual, so unlike her and the long, rambling e-mails I am used to. A part of me wants to make excuses for this. Maybe she doesn’t have anything happy to say. She doesn’t have her baby yet. She’s hurting. Of course she doesn’t want to share in my joy. I would be truly okay with that if I really believed that was the honest reason why she didn’t sound like herself in her e-mail. And yet… Yet, thanks to Facebook, I know she has attended baby showers, 1st birthday parties, and enjoys spending time with “squishy” babies on a regular basis. She does not appear to find it difficult to surround herself with other people’s children.

So now I’m feeling insulted and annoyed and exasperated and done. Just completely done. I really mean it this time. And I realize as I type this that I am now sounding like an addict trying to convince the world of the untruth, but that’s not it. I. Am. Done. Certainly, I won’t turn Kat away if she ever contacts me on her own, but I will no longer be the only one in this relationship who keeps making an effort here. I can’t keep being the only one who tries to be a friend, who tries to keep our friendship alive, who believes that we had something between us worth cherishing forever and ever. I just don’t have the time or energy. And, quite frankly, I just don’t care that much anymore. I have other friends who fulfill for me what Kat used to. I don’t need her now. If that makes me a bad friend, then so be it, I guess.

It is so hard to accept, though, that the girl who commiserated with me over our scary geometry teacher, the one who stood up for me when I got walked all over in Spanish class, the one who gave me advice when I lost my virginity, the one who stood beside me and held my bouquet when I said “I do” is no longer someone I know. Maybe not even someone I want to know. I suppose it is normal to grow up and grow apart, but it is still sad. Still one more thing in my life to grieve.

But I have been through worse. I have been molested. I have lost too many family members to count, been to too many funerals in just 29 years. I have been scarred by infertility. I have held my dead, 7-week embryo in my hands. Surely, I will get through this too.

In fact, this is starting to look pretty damn easy.

Remembering…

Today, I remember.

I remember April 19, 2012 when I started to bleed at just 7 weeks 1 day pregnant.

I remember the sight of the dark red blood on my fingers, an image I see in my nightmares to this day.

I remember my sweet Teddy Graham, whom I knew was gone before an ultrasound ever confirmed it.

Today, I remember the ultrasound, the black space, the firm line the sonographer’s mouth made as she stared at the screen.

I remember the simple text I sent to my sister, a friend, and my mother: “No heartbeat” and the ding, ding, ding as my cell was flooded with texts in response.

I remember the tears that went on and on, that came and kept coming long after I lost all the energy to wipe them away.

I remember the days that followed, how they zipped by and dragged by at once, all a blur of grief and unbelief.

I remember the dissolution of my new relationship with my sister, how it unraveled like a poorly-made sweater, coming further undone with each insensitive or critical comment she made as I mourned my way through the summer.

Today, I remember those who were there for me when I needed them the most, and those who were not there when I was at my most vulnerable.

I remember the fear and the despair and the rage that engulfed me when I let it.

I remember how I was broken and how this blog — and all of you — picked me up and put me back together again, just like Humpty.

I remember that today is not about the baby growing inside of me right now, but about the Baby Who Almost Was, the baby who was but now isn’t and never will be again, and yet will somehow live in my heart forever.

Not a Turning Point

I had thought that passing my due date on Dec 6 would be a turning point in the grieving process and my journey of healing. That it would be like a flipped switch and, suddenly, things would be easier and I wouldn’t miss Teddy Graham so much. I had heard of that happening and it made sense to me. Everything before the due date is so fresh and only leading up to the day when a baby should have arrived. Everything thereafter is an unknown, something you hardly had a chance to dream or plan for.

But this has not been so for me. December 6th was not a turning point, a flipped switch, a pressed button, nothing like that. If anything, I feel as if I have taken three steps back in my healing. Many days since my due date, I have cried. Cried for the Baby Who Almost Was. By now, no matter how overdue the doctor would have let me go, Teddy surely would have been in my arms. Our lives would be so different here in the Dash home. Christmas would have been so different. Because I have been there before, at this exact same time of year, it is easy for me to imagine. I know what we are missing. And I still seem to be grieving it.

Which has made me wonder, at what point do I move on? I have always said that, while I will and have moved forward, I will not ever move on, leaving behind the child I lost, because that child is still my child, even if he is not here. In response, I have had people tell me that’s unfair to the daughter I have and to any children that I go on to birth in the future. Just three weeks after my loss, I had people (including friends who have miscarried themselves) telling me I needed to get on with my life. I wonder what they would say now, all these months later? Have I crossed a line into pathetic-ness, the woman who never recovers from the loss of a tiny baby that she hardly knew?

But I have also had friends who have lost many babies tell me that grief does have an end, but mourning does not. And years later, even with their rainbow babies tucked into their cribs, they still mourn for the babies gone before. That resonates with me. I think that’s the point I’m at now. I am in the final stage of grief: acceptance. I know Teddy Graham is gone. I know he’s not coming back. I am not disabled by this loss anymore. I can function again. I can laugh, I can mother, I can plan. But I still feel the need to do things to remember TG. I want him to still be a part of this family and for Cupcake to know she has a sibling she never got to meet.

Is that wrong? I don’t know. A little part of me feels ashamed about it. Maybe if I’d had a stillborn, and not a miscarried, child my grief would be more socially acceptable. But then again, maybe not. I do know that the grief I have suffered would be tenfold if I had carried Teddy into the second or third trimester before losing him, but knowing that does not diminish my loss. It does not mean I have not suffered.

So where do I go from here? I guess I continue doing what I have all along: putting one foot in front of the other and searching for ways to bring peace and comfort into our home. Maybe a new year will bring more healing. Maybe my sister’s baby shower or the birth of Cupcake’s and Teddy Graham’s cousin.   Maybe the anniversary of my loss in April.  Maybe it won’t get easier until I have another baby in my belly or, more likely, my arms. But I do assume that, at some point, I will be able to breathe again. I hope that there will come a time when I can stop cringing my way through life, braced for another painful reminder of my loss. But I don’t expect that the pain will ever leave me completely. It’s now part of the fabric of who I am. I’m okay with that. I just hope other people in my life are, too.