October has always been my favorite for all the obvious reasons- changing colors, crunchy leaves…pumpkin spice lattes. It’s the month I got married and the month I was born. It’s almost always been filled with happiness.
October last year I felt on top of the world with the announcement of our 4th pregnancy on my 30th birthday. “I have a favorite gift,” I’d written, “but I have to wait until June to open it.” I’d crocheted little pumpkins for each member of our family. Two big orange pumpkins for mommy and daddy, one blue for our firstborn who died in 2012, a pink for our 4-year-old rainbow baby girl, another blue for our 2-year-old boy, and a tiny yellow to represent the newest addition to our pumpkin patch.
I was just SO excited to have three babies to chase. Little did I know.
That the following year, not one, but two would be missing.
That we would be grieving the loss of our fertility when it was discovered we were both carriers for a lethal disease.
That we would watch the world keep turning when ours had stopped. Again.
My family went to a pumpkin farm the other day. “Take a picture, Mommy!!” I heard over and over as my two raced back and forth between the Charlie Brown cutouts, trying every combination. I laughed as they played. I snapped picture after picture, wanting to soak it all in.
And then I stopped. Looking through the photos, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast of two empty faces on either side of my two living babies.
We should have a 6-month-old, a NICU graduate. Tiny, but strong. Living.
We should have had three children to dress this year in costumes.
Our kids chose to be the Incredibles for Halloween. Our sweet 5-year-old dressed as Violet, our spunky 3-year-old as Dash…
And as we go trick or treating door to door no one will know that our Baby Jack Jack is missing.
Last year I dreamed about what this year would look like. I had this picture in my mind of the beautiful, crazy life we would be living as a family raising our 3 rainbow babies.
I never imagined the grief it would bring. I never thought there would be another empty chair going into the holidays. I never imagined that instead of using all our stored baby gear we would be giving it away. I didn’t consider our kids would learn so much about death at 4 and 2 years old.
I honestly never thought we would enter another season of “first Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas without you,” ever again. The grief that comes with losing two children will never leave us. It will never fade.
Those cardboard cutouts will, unfortunately, always be empty.