Sean and I decided in early September that we would do something special to honor the day and really the weekend and time as a whole. He took the 10th off of work and together as a family we spent the weekend at Anderson Island (see photos in post below). It was perfect and just what we needed to honor such a special and sad date. The day felt different so it was fitting that we were doing something different than we normally would be.
Due dates are funny when you think about it. They are really just an approximation of when a baby might arrive. The reality is Lexie may have come on the 10th but probably not. Had she followed her sisters' pattern, she probably would have been here a few days early. And yet a person's due date gets so engrained in their mind. I can tell you without even thinking about it what Kennedy and Mara's due dates were and the same is true for Lexie. I guess its because you say the date over and over and over again throughout a pregnancy .... your doctor says it time and time again, people ask you over and over and you just keep saying it so it etches itself into your mind.
Of course this due date is so different than my others. So different because there was no baby to come along with it. Just the memory of her and the sadness of what we lost. A new friend of mine who too lost a baby told me awhile back that when it comes to losing babies like we did either mid-pregnancy or at birth... it's a confusing loss because there are no real memories to hold onto. Really what you end up grieving the most is what would have been. It's just so true and it articulated well what I have felt all these months.
Lexie has now been gone from me almost as long as she was with me. She was here for 21 weeks and she has been gone for 20 weeks. In the time she has been gone, I truly feel like I have hiked a few mountain ranges. Every day has been a hike - some days are steep, some days are not but each and every day has come with some type of incline. But with all of that hiking has come healing too.
I welcomed my favorite season, Fall, with such a heavy heart this year.... my due date coming and going was just another part of the process. I have had to get through so many things over the past five months... so many steps, so many hoops to jump through. However, the past month or so has brought about a certain peace which feels nice. I can feel my mind starting to calm a bit and that is a welcome break. My mind has been on overdrive for many months now and I think its tired. It's ready for a break. My emotions are leveling out and I can go much longer now without a good cry.
But she's always there. Always just a second from my current thought. And when I lay in bed at night, she is my last thought before I fall asleep. I imagine it will be that way for a long time.
What a profound experience this has been for me. And yet I know I am not unique. People carry burdens every single day. Loss comes in so many different forms and so many people have to face so many different kinds of grief. And like me, they are all just walking around trying to live their lives, trying to pick up the pieces, because in the end, there's nothing more to do. We are left to miss what we have lost and to love what is still here.
I don't write or talk about God a lot. God and religion are pretty personal for me but I will say this, something greater than myself is pulling me through through this. I believe that with all of my heart. I can feel it... especially lately. I shouldn't be surprised. I have always felt that God doesn't protect us or guard us from the bad things in life... his role is to pull us through and to make us believe in ourselves and have faith in the journey we are on. I believe that whole heartedly and I am so glad that I do. I am so grateful my family took the time to teach me.. to make me aware of that particular piece of certainty in life.
So I carry on and I continue to use the tools... all the tools... that are helping me to heal. I listen to a lot of music (I could write an entire post on how healing music is), I write, I read a lot of books, I spend time alone (when I can!), I take a lot of pictures, I talk to a few people about my thoughts and feelings when I need to, and in between all of that... I lean on my husband and I snuggle the heck out of my girls. And I live my life. And I count my many blessings. And I enjoy the little things - the change in colors, sunny fall days, the chill in the air, being back in the classroom (as it turns out, I CAN still teach!) a good coffee, laughs with my friends. I do all of these things with my baby girl and her memory tucked deep into my heart. And slowly but surely, it's working.