When the calendar turned to January, it becomes THE year. The year my twins would have turned 10.
Ten. A decade. What would I have done for a birthday party this year? Would they still want parties together? Would it be weird that their friends might be in my class since I teach 4th grade at their school?
I think of all the things that could’ve taken place in a decade. It is endless and overwhelming. My eyes close and my mind lingers on a memory-it is my daughter Sophie, and she is in her isolette and she takes her whole hand and squeezes my finger tightly.
Would she still be so loving? So tenacious? Such a fighter?
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I think again of my Aiden, so lithe and long and squirmy–I know he’d be an athlete-but what sport?
But, if I’m honest–brutally honest–although I like to dream about it, I didn’t know anything about them, really. Everything was taken away so fast, the end was so quick, that I hardly knew them at all.
And now that it is an entire decade later, nothing has changed about the fact that although my pain is not nearly so severe as it was, I still sulk. I still pout. I still bang my fists and stomp my feet and want to scream about how I never got to hear that first giggle, or watch that first step, or get them on the school bus for the first time.
I thought that I was grieving the right way. I wrote a book about it, for goodness sake! I’m a pro griever, just ask anyone. But…here I am, still pouting like a sullen teenager because of what I lost. What we all lost.
Some of the moms that I met way back when our babies died, most of them online, they’re starting to hit that 10-year mark. We can’t believe that it’s already been 10 years, and we can’t believe that it’s ONLY been 10 years. When your life is split into two in such a distinct way, it’s hard to grasp the timeline.
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We’ve been talking about a 10-year reunion. “Let’s meet up!” we dream. “Maybe Vegas?”
These mamas are still my people, the ones who understand me best, even after all this time. They are still the ones that I know I can tell, “I miss my babies,” and they will nod, and say, “Yes, mama. Yes.”
I don’t know if that will ever change. If it will, I don’t know how long it will take.
What I know is this: no matter how long it’s been, we remember. No matter how long it’s been, we cry. No matter how long it’s been, we honor. No matter how long it’s been, we are still their parents.
They are still ours.
1 year later.
10 years later.
50 years later.
And that is something to celebrate (even when it hurts).
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.