Still Standing

Dear Talia: Happy Birthday

Today would have been your first birthday. Today I should be celebrating a whole year of having you by my side, but instead, you are gone. You have been gone since April of last year. Life has changed so much and I miss you every second.

Today I am officially 34 weeks along with your sister. I found out about her existence mere days before the anniversary of losing you. Often I think about how different this pregnancy would be if you were here, not just for me emotionally, but in the sense that I would get to watch you become a big sister. I would get to feel your small hands on my belly as your sister kicks beneath them.

Related: When Birthdays Stand Still

Carrying Little A has been such a different experience than carrying you. The farther along I get into this pregnancy, the more I realize how little I got to know you and it brings fresh pain. I know that you would not want me to be sad, that you would want me to continue living life as happily as if you were here, but I can’t. At least not completely. Every moment of Little A’s life will be juxtaposed by the absence of you. It is not something I will try to dwell on, I don’t want her to feel like her life is always shadowed by the loss of you. But it is something that I will carry quietly in my heart every day.

Your sister will know about you. We already tell her about you. And I will always count you as my first child. I know I do not always tell people I have two children. I don’t think everyone can hear it. But more often than not I do try to acknowledge your existence to strangers, in whatever way I can. I know this is something that will get more complicated, especially after your sister is born. I hope that you can be patient with me and forgive me if I mess up or don’t know how to respond to someone.

Every day I wear the ring I had made after I lost you. It carries today’s date and your birthstone on the outside. On the inside are both of your names: Talia Luna, which your Papi and I feel is who you are, and Silas Oliver, the name you would have had if we were wrong. The not knowing is so hard. I wish I knew if we were right or not about you being Talia. I wish there was so much we knew about you.

What we did know was that you lived. We heard your heartbeat. That moment changed my life and I will never forget the sound of it.

Related: Grieving the Child Who Did Not Die

Today and every day I remember and think of you. I wonder who you would have been. Most days I can keep the sadness at bay but some days it overwhelms me. In a way, you are here with me. I don’t know where you are, if its heaven or nature or somewhere else, but I do know you are in my heart. I know a part of you will be in your sister. These thoughts bring me comfort.

There is so much I want to say to you. So much I want to apologize for. So much I want to tell you. But words will never be enough. I will just say this then: Happy Birthday, my dear Talia. I hope that wherever you are you are happy and at peace.  Thank you for making me a mommy.  I love you and miss you so much.