Hearts We Leave Behind

October is dwindling down rapidly. The trees are largely bare, though unseasonable warmth stills seems to be greeting us in my neck of the Great White North. Each day I wake up and glance out the window, bleary eyed, expecting a dusting of snow. It hasn’t greeted us yet, but history tells me it’s right around the corner.

a page from the sketchbook

a page from the sketchbook

As November approaches, November 11th looms.

November 11th.

Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US).

A day to remember those who have served our country in times of war, conflict and even peace. A day to remember those lost.

A day to remember the persons who have given their lives for others.

A day to remember voices we can no longer hear. Faces we cannot see. Hands we cannot hold.

A day to remember lives cut short.

For me, Remembrance Day has always been a day to wear a poppy on my lapel, to stand in somber silence and honor the lives of people I’ve never known, to show respect for people who’ve gone before us.

Now, Remembrance Day has a new connotation. It remains a day to recall loss.

To hold a somber silence.

To remember, to shed a tear, and to wonder.

What if you were still here?

Remembrance Day, to me, will always be the day that I don’t hear my baby cry. The day that I am reminded that the child I waited for for 17 weeks was wrenched from me. The day that I honor loss, and death and light a candle.

Remembrance Day was my due date.

This Remembrance day I will remember.

I will remember how it felt to know you were there. To know you were with me, to know you were holding on so strong, and growing at one time. I will remember how it felt to wait for you, how sick you made me feel, but how worth it that was. I will recall how I imagined the day you’d greet the world, hearing your cries, counting your toes, looking into your brand new eyes as you absorb the world. I will remember the dreams I had for you.

And I will remember, with a catch in my throat as my tear brim in my eyes, how it felt when all those hopes and dreams were stolen, when you left me, and when I knew it. I will remember how I knew you were gone before I really knew you were gone.  I will remember how deeply I wanted you and longed for you and how deeply the ache in my heart ran that day. I will remember how much I loved you.

I will remember that I always will.

This Remembrance Day, I will remember, selfishly, my own greatest loss. And I will curl up on the couch, burrowed under a warm blanket, and dream a little dream of what might have been. Thank goodness for national holidays.

Then, as the day winds down, I will dust myself off, shrug off the weight of sadness. I will smile again and I will  move forward, with only a memory and one grainy ultrasound to tuck away. One I’ll replace in a file folder, slipped into a pocket with condolence cards. The other I’ll curl up and tuck away within my heart.

And I’ll remember hope, again.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Thomas Campbell

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4 Responses to Hearts We Leave Behind

  1. eli says:

    My grainy ultrasound is also tucked away in a file folder, along with the post-it note on which I wrote down names. I will be thinking of you this Remembrance Day. I’m so sorry.

  2. Kate says:

    So sorry. I will be thinking of you. We will never forget those days. So much loss in those moments that we relive over and over and over…hugs, friend. Pray you feel some peace on that day.

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