I was going to write about peace like a river.
I was going to say that, for the first time in the nearly three years since Brigid and Fiona died, I didn’t really feel the need to talk about it.
I was going to say that sometimes, the tide goes out and lets you sit back and relax for a bit from the waves that have been knocking you down over and over as they came crashing in. That I have had a couple of months lately that didn’t really bring the weight of loss with them, and that I wasn’t sure what to write about, but maybe I should write about that in case other people were feeling the same.
I was going to say that maybe it’s just the busy-ness of my life right now, or maybe it’s that I’ve finally made some peace with the What Ifs and the secondary losses and the sting of missing my girls.
I was going to say that having a daughter after having lost my twin girls has brought so much healing to my heart, and that I am so thankful to have been given another chance to raise a girl so maybe that’s why I am not thinking about them as much.
I was going to say that sometimes, you need to sort of “unsubscribe” yourself from the loss groups or the posts about the heaviness and the pain and the angst because they can pull you down during times when you’re feeling lighter and easier, even though you never thought those lighter times could be possible.
And then I saw it. While going through some old things, I came across our family calendar from 2011. It was open to the month that Brigid died, and it caught me off guard. I saw what I’d written on the date. I turned the pages and saw all of the things that I did in the months and weeks that followed and remembered how hard it was.
The pain didn’t hit me right away; it came a few days later, as I was rocking my baby girl before bed, singing the song I sing to her every night – the one that contains the names of all the people in our family who love her, including the twin sisters she will never know in this lifetime.
Suddenly, I remembered the night that, as it said on the calendar, “B died,” and I was right there in my head. As I rocked my one-year-old, her preciously plump body even heavier with sleepiness, I remembered getting the call to come back into the hospital and the helplessness I felt as I watched the NICU doctors working to revive Brigid’s tiny, lifeless body. I remembered holding Brigid afterward, rocking her and watching as her beautiful, miniature hands became white and cold while I kissed them and tried desperately to warm them up again.
And then I cried the ugly cry, with the moaning and the aching in the pit of my stomach that doubled me over and left me rocking myself back and forth. I held my little Maeve close and kissed her warm, chubby hand as it reached up to touch the tears rolling down my cheeks. She looked at me and smiled, trying to get me to do the same. She didn’t know what was going on.
I was going to say that sometimes the grief lets up for a while and there are times when your loss doesn’t consume you like it once did. That it doesn’t always hurt as much, and when that happens, it seems like you might be forgetting them or not loving them enough. I was going to say that it’s okay if you’re feeling like that because it’s all part of the grieving process and you could never ever forget them and will always love them as long as you live.
But for the last few days, my heart aches. The sorrows are rolling like sea billows, and I’m crying again.
I should have known that as surely as the tide goes out for a time, it will always come back in.
I guess the key is to just keep moving forward, walking the line between the sea and the sand and accepting that sometimes the waves will seem far away and other times, they will feel like they’re going to sweep me out to sea with them.
And that, either way, it is still well with my soul.