Yesterday would have been Sam and Emilie’s fifth birthday. A tough day, made tougher by the fact that it was such a normal day. We had some workers come to the house to begin cleaning gutters and cutting down trees, postponing their work when the rains that kept us inside all day arrived. We watched lots and lots of TV, recuperated from colds, pestered Daddy when he came home for lunch.
And some Sam and Emilie-related events, too, to remind us that our version of a normal day with our family will never be what we expected it to be. We toasted them with a Dr Pepper. We visited the hospital to donate some baskets to the infant loss program, ones that will hold other families’ losses like the basket we still cherish held Sam and Emilie’s bodies. We ate supper at the Steak n Shake whose drive-thru we always visited after our infant loss support group meetings. And after Henry and Eleanor went to bed, Andy and I got out their brother and sister’s memory boxes, to look at their photos and hold their teeny tiny stuffed animals.
Our normal day reminded me how life goes on. I’m thankful for this; the “time heals all wounds” adage definitely has truth to it. But even on days that aren’t spent commemorating an anniversary, little things creep in to remind me just how we became parents. The involuntary inward cringe when someone announces a pregnancy, the startle I feel hearing another parent call for their own Sam or Emilie, the nightmares I occasionally have about being pregnant. I will always be affected by how our family came to be, but thankfully in positive ways, too. I witness every day how much Henry and Eleanor are loved, by Andy and I, as well as our friends and family; a love I think I would take for granted had we not been through what we have.
My four kids are very loved, and I treasure being their mother. I just wish my firstborn could be with me to tell them in person.