November 11th. Remembrance day.
I’d never forget it.
A heavy sadness, this time last year.
Lump in throat, crackling tears.
A tiny life, grown below my heart.
But memory of a life, apart.
What isn’t now, what could have been.
And the difference from this world I’m in.
I held my middle, rocked to and fro
and stood with sadness, in the snow
frustration, confusion, a bitter cold
and a strange sense of loss that plagued my soul.
How odd to mourn a small life lost
Which having would mean so great a cost
Not having this daughter I have today
a nightmare, should she go away
And my mind treads down that road a lot
To darkness, though I bid it not
I cannot fail to think, fail to say
What if she’d been one today?
November 11th, in addition to being Canada’s Remembrance day and my best friend’s birthday, is also the due date of my first lost pregnancy. This time last year, I recall dissolving in frustration and anger, taken aback by the feelings that washed over me. I was pregnant with Pepper last year, and though I loved her, I wanted her, I prayed for her health and safety day in and out, my heart knew that there’d been a life growing before her, and my body seemed to know that that day was the day it might have presented itself to me. I felt guilt for mourning that child even as I carried his or her sister, and I feel a strange guilt now for thinking so long about that loss. Had that child been born on schedule, as planned, Pepper wouldn’t be here. And I cannot imagine my life without her. How strange to feel such longing for something that could’ve been but isn’t. How strange to know that what is might not have been. I love them both. So differently.
And I’m grateful.
I’m grateful, because, forever changed as I may be (for better or worse, but generally, I think, for better), the resounding message is that Pepper is here, in my life, cradled so often in my arms, to be played with and loved, to babble away in her crib when she wakes, to cry for me in the night, to cuddle and kiss, to grow, and laugh and live because that first child did not. That loss set in motion the life I have now, and set my soul in place to receive that child I have today. Had I not lost one child, I wouldn’t be the mother I am to Pepper.
The child I didn’t meet changed my life as much as the child I did.