If you’re anything like me, certain dates haunt you. Your due-date, for example, or the day you got that positive pregnancy test. Admittedly, after 9 years, some of them are actually starting to dissolve, turn back into just regular dates on the calendar, as if there was nothing of note on those days.
Then there are some that I expect will follow me throughout the rest of my life. Today is one of them, but after this evening, there will be two reasons to remember the 29th of March.
March 29, 2009, was a lovely day. My husband and I drove south along the Mississippi River, basking in the springtime sunshine that had just returned to us. We were on our way to meet two of our best friends for lunch.
We laughed and talked, and joked a lot. After all, we were having twins, and we had recently found out there was a boy AND a girl in there! We were so ecstatic to have something to celebrate with our beautiful friend, who had just survived her first year without her husband.
Our friends came with a gift-this beautiful pillow that said, “In the Presence of Love, Miracles Happen,” along with all their love and best wishes. It is truly one of my best memories-after infertility and so many negative pregnancy tests, and lung cancer stealing my father-in-law’s life, and all the rest, we were over the moon.
But, of course, you can guess the rest. Got in bed that night, tossed and turned a little, plopped myself sideways, and my water broke. The beginning of the end, as they say.
Now, tonight, 9 years later, is my book launch party. This is the textbook definition of bittersweet, you guys. I wrote a memoir-a brutally honest, raw, putting everything out on the table about infant loss grief, kind of memoir. My original soul-sisters, my online baby-loss blog friends from ‘09, we’ve all been in this together. So they’re coming. From all over-California, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona.
My in-real-life friends, who have watched me suffer and survive, they’ll be there, too. And my family, and probably some strangers, too. After all, there are so many of “us” out there.
These last few months leading up to the launch have been excruciating. How is it that I can read my own words and feel like someone else wrote them, yet at the same time feel like I have opened my windows and doors and invited Grief in for dinner? “Yo, Grief, come on in, make yourself at home.”
The pain is overwhelming. The hurt unimaginable. My memories fade and sharpen, fade and sharpen, twist and morph.
I remind myself, “You wrote this to help others. You wrote this so people don’t feel so alone. You wrote this for Sophie and Aiden.”
But, truly, when it comes down to it, my body just knows. It knows the grief, the familiar jagged edges, the comfortable ache. It welcomes it every year, especially around this time. It is when I fold into myself and try to remember that I am Sophie and Aiden’s mom, too.
And so, tonight, I will stand up in front of friends and family and strangers, and I will own my survival. I will own this fight. I will own my sadness and the parts of me that may just be broken. And I will celebrate.
March 29th gets to become a celebration of sorts
A celebration of the love and the joy that my baby twins brought me, and celebrate the strength of ALL OF US.
Christy Wopat is a 4th grade teacher and writer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and who hilarious, energetic children, and without her boy/girl twins, Sophie and Aiden, who lived for a very short time in 2009. She is honored to share her words in hopes of breaking the stigma surrounding infant loss and grief.