Over a year....not since I've posted, although it seems that way. Why the long space between posts? The idea of writing about my experiences in the aftermath of L's death seemed healing, at the time I created this blog. But, not long after I completed my first post, I immersed myself into "moving on" activities. I've been incredibly busy with them. And I've enjoyed being busy with them. Being busy gave me less chance for introspection, grieving, etc., etc. And I don't regret that. But now it is time for something else.
It has been over a year since my little L died. I was surprised (guiltily so) when the first anniversary of her death arrived and I didn't realize what day it was....until my sister called and asked with concern, "How are you?" It finally dawned on me why she was so concerned.....and I felt oddly relieved. Relieved that I hadn't spent the morning wallowing in despair. Relieved that the day could come and go so unobtrusively. Relieved to find that it was the anniversary of her birthday, not her deathday, that was a difficult day for me.
I look back on the past year with a sense of wonder: how easy it was to replace the hours and hours of caregiving to one child with other activities. It has been a delight to become an active participant in my other children's world of school and activities. My husband was long-overdue for attention, which I have enjoyed giving. I'm spending more time on me, too: exercising, applying to nursing school, learning new skills. Sometimes I wonder if that part of my life--the part where I was consumed with keeping that baby alive as long as possible--really happened. There are days when it is hard to remember.
It has been over a year since my other children, hours after their sister's death, reminded my husband and I of our promised to get a family dog "when everyone is potty trained." In the words of my then 7 year old son, "Now everyone is potty trained." It wasn't insensitive, it was just their innocent way of seeking reassurance that good things would come of such a tragic event. I brought the dog home a few days ago, finally making good on our promise. A 4 month old puppy, from a shelter, full of energy and needs. I find myself organizing my day around his needs and directing the rest of the family to change their habits and behaviors to meet his needs, too. The task comes easily to me, it's a role I've practiced over and over. Just never before with a puppy in the starring role.
Today, S had an appointment with her cardiologist. The tech who usually does her echo was gone for the day, so we had a different technician. She was very nice. We were talking as she made the images of Sariah's heart, when she casually asked me, "How many children do you have?"
"Four," I replied. Because I do have four children. I gave birth to four. I'll see L again someday. She is still part of our family. She is just a part that isn't readily apparent to strangers.