It has been just over a month since my daughter, Margaret Bernice McConnell, was born still.
Had this not been the case, had she been born as we had pictured, this week, my sweet Maggie would be able to hold her head up while laying on her stomach. This would have been the week, according to one website, where she moved from “newborn” status to “infant.”
She would have been able to hold small toys in her hand, would have recognized our voices, would have wiggled to get near us when she heard them.
These are milestones that should have been; they are not things as they are.
As they are, my wife and I have traveled to Lake Lure, North Carolina in an attempt to heal through a week-long vacation in the mountains.
It is the second day of our trip, and I cannot say whether we will find any lasting peace on this trip.
The void Maggie’s death left in our lives has, not surprisingly, followed us to our mountain villa.
We have been filling our days with books and writing and shopping and wine and time spent sitting and staring at the fireplace, a luxury we do not have at home.
But the rainy weather mirrors our own stormy emotions, and even a month in, we can hardly make it through a day without shedding tears and missing her and wondering how this is ever going to get better.
On that front, there are mixed messages. Many people – mostly those who have not experienced the loss of their child, it seems – tell us with time we will heal.
Those who have lost a child tell us that while the rawness of loss might fade with time, we will always grieve, and we will always carry her in our memories.
As for my wife and I, we do not want to forget her soft face or her curly black hair, and if grieving is what it takes to remember her, we are willing to get on with it, finding our ways of replacing all of the milestones listed in baby blog after baby blog.
The milestones we expected to fill the first month of our daughter’s life did not come to be, and so my wife and I are making our own.
We are talking about her in our grief group and with friends and family, and we are writing about her and the loss of her every day.
We are taking the time to do morning devotionals, and praying each night that Maggie is safe and knows she is loved even though she is not with us.
We have planted a tree in our backyard in her honor and tied a pink ribbon to one of its branches to celebrate the one month our sweet little girl would have lived.
It has been just over a month since my daughter, Margaret Bernice McConnell, was born still, and we are doing our best to move forward in our grief while keeping her alive in our memory.