And just like that...it's November again.
Halloween is a safe day. I have a six year old and my focus was on her. I watched her walk down the street holding hands with her Daddy and thought about how grateful I am to have this one beautiful, healthy child. She softens the blow of remembering that my 11 month old is NOT here. For smiles and happiness and even laughter and celebration.
It's November 1st. It's cold and rainy today. I planned to go for a run with Caroline, but it's too wet outside. So we snuggled under the covers in my bed to watch cartoons on my Kindle. She was watching. I was just there, thinking about how this month is here and wishing I could somehow stay put--hidden under the covers--until January 1st. If I had just two wishes, one of them would be that I could somehow fast forward through the next two months.
The reminders are overwhelming. November and December of the past two years have been a nightmare. It's hard to completely separate tragedy and fear from pumpkins and turkeys and bright twinkly Christmas lights. Two years ago, I put Caroline on Santa's lap--her face almost as white as his beard. I see that photo and remember that we didn't yet know that the next two weeks would be consumed with hospitals, consenting to emergency surgeries, blood transfusions and a ride in an ambulance. Thanksgiving dinner brings back the memory of profound sadness, absence and empty arms. Christmas decorations remind me of the hospital room --complete with "Elf on the Shelf" because Santa heard that we weren't going to be home that year. The cold and snowy winter weather reminds me of planning a funeral and the Christmas tree we bought and put up early because we were just so sad. We stood there in the hardware store with tears streaming down our faces looking at all the beautiful lights. We so badly needed something bright and new.
Too many anniversaries are ahead. Due date, the day she died, the day she was born. The memorial service. And the big one--planning a first birthday party. For a dead baby. Is it even possible?
I know this all sounds crazy. And I admit it--November and December aren't to blame. Neither are Thanksgiving or Christmas. I know I'll get through it and hopefully remember this year with some happiness and celebration. But I can't shake the apprehension I associate with the holidays coming up--bracing for something bad that might be around the corner. I probably won't feel this way tomorrow or next week, but just for today--it's too much. It's unfair and I wish I could somehow negotiate the removal of November and December from this year's calendar. I promise. I'll try again next year.