First thing in the morning I check in on my children; my toddler is still asleep. Or is he? I often have to check his breathing every night because nothing is guaranteed anymore and I don’t feel immune from it happening again. The first wave of the day.
I drop my kids off at school and daycare and see another little girl with a bright smile, squinty eyes and brown ringlets, the same age as she would be… if she were alive. The second wave.
I bump into an old friend at my favourite cafe where I was hoping to get some study done. She asks how many children I have, and I fumble for an answer that accurately describes the make-up of my family. Another wave. Forget studying now, it has just become too hard.
My sister and newborn niece visit, and holding her brings back that very strange feeling of holding a daughter of similar appearance and weight. And as much as I deeply love her, sometimes it’s all too confronting. I wish I got to hear my little girl cooing and breathing the same way. A strong pang hits again.
Even at the job interview, her name is on my lips. Everything has become pre and post Elysia. She has become a pivotal point in my life, despite her not being physically in it. She has changed me irreversibly, and my employer should know that upfront. The wave washes over again.
Don’t even get me started on the horrific news stories and movies that touch on the topic of infant or pregnancy loss. It gets me right in the gut and has me reaching my hand up out of the water for help for days.
Someone with a beautiful heart suggests we should have more children. “You should! They’re so cute; you could manage four!” And my mind skips to her again- little do they know I have had four. Hello wave number… I’ve lost count.
My 6-year-old daughter looks up at me with some serious attitude because she won’t finish her dinner, and I have to wonder if her little sister would have been just as stubborn and strong-willed. Would she have the same puppy-dog eyes shaded by those cute narrowed eyebrows? I’ll never know.
One of our fish dies, and it upsets my son to tell him. He cries bitter tears, but he prays at night that God will look after the fish, our puppy, my aunt, and his sister. After Amen, he sees my tears and holds me without saying a word, his tiny arms wrapped around my large frame, and that wave crashes on us both and leaves us breathless.
By the end of the day, I’m drowning… aren’t you?
And that’s just one single, normal day of a life I am facing living without her.
To those who would think that eventually we will forget- no. We will never forget. Our child holds a place in every part of our life, from the trivial tasks to the grand milestones. It’s riding wave after wave of their memory in every moment of every day.
So do not be afraid to remind us of a child we already remember with every action of our day and with every fiber of our being. Truly, it’s the opposite: saying their name helps us to believe we are not alone on this tumultuous tidal journey.
Photo credit: Tim Marshall, Unsplash