Post by Kate Polley
October again… a seemingly innocuous time of year for most people here in the Southern hemisphere.
There are no major family holidays to plan for, as in South Africa we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween barely features on our calendar. Instead the weather turns warmer as we head into our summer and the end of the year approaches.
We prepare for the last quarter of our school year and at most, any excitement buzz is around the anticipation of the upcoming December holidays.
But yet, I am on edge.
For me, October is a month of birth and death; happiness and sorrow exquisitely, painfully intertwined. My twin boys, Sam and Finn, were born on the 23rd October, premature at 32 weeks.
Sam died unexpectedly on the 24th of October, so this otherwise average, ‘normal’ month of October is forever marred for me.
It seems personally appropriate that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness week; it truly is my month to mourn and to remember.
As such, I thought it would be fitting to share this poem I wrote a few years ago around this time, called ‘The Warrior.’
The warrior is me and the warrior is you. She is all of us – an unwilling tribe of child loss parents, subscribed to a club none of us want to belong to.
“As September draws to a close, I feel myself retreating.
I am gathering my reserves; I am preparing for battle.
An inward battle, I must fight alone.
Of which it will take all of my courage and strength to win.
I can taste it in my mouth, the bittersweet dread.
In a few short days, September will give rise to October.
A month forever marked by birth and death.
My twin sons – two lives – one lived, one wasted.
I will relive the profound pain, incomprehensibly juxtaposed with joy.
When October finally dawns, I stand ready.
And I remember the anticipation thereof is worse than the fight.
I count the hours, relief washing over me as the end of each day ushers in the next.
In November, I dust off my armor.
I pack it away carefully for I will need it the next year.
The victory, though small, is not insignificant.
I am a survivor.”
I wish you a gentle period of remembrance this October.