Sometimes it seems like things would be easier if I didn’t remember so much. I go through life, and I remember what life was like at this time last year. We go through the motions of birthday parties, Halloween festivities and work conferences, and I remember what life was like last year. Before we met Alex. Before we lost him. Before all this terrible sadness.
I remember what we were doing last year at this time and sorrow bubbles up from within and I feel it get caught in my throat. I need to wait until a time when I can deal with it, so instead I choke it down. It happens at the most unpredictable and inconvenient times. When I’m changing Benjamin, when I’m waiting at a traffic light, when I’m on hold on the phone.
I can’t deal with it then; I need to wait. Until Benjamin is asleep, until the emails are answered, until I’m alone. What then? I have the time to cope, and I’m not sure what to think, or what to do.
I remember. The downy soft silk of his hair, and the smooth, warm caress of his cheek. The rhythmic sound of his breathing as he slept and the sturdy weight of him in my arms. It’s gone and I’m not sure I’ll have that feeling again in my entire life.
I didn’t know this year was going to be so hard. I had no idea. I didn’t know our lives were going to be ripped apart at the seams, torn inside out and scattered into a million pieces on the ground. I’m not complaining, I just didn’t know it was coming.
I think back to how different life was a year ago. I had a belly bursting with new life and a heart overflowing with joy. A year later, I still have remnants of the belly, just shadows of the joy.
The more time passes, the more I seem to remember about life before Alex. All the pregnant moments I shared with him, all the maternal hopefulness I had for the life growing inside me. Before I had met him, or had even named him, I had bestowed upon him all of my hopes and dreams. Dreams of him growing up big and strong like his brother. Hopes that he would stay cuddly and affectionate, long after Benjamin had stopped. Wishes that we would mature into the family I have dreamed of for so many years.
I’m not saying it’s over and that our plans as a family are done. I’m just saying that just one year ago life was so much easier than anything we face right now. Even with a toddler running around, life was simple and carefree. Our days were uncomplicated and our nights were peaceful. Today, any given day could be a waking nightmare.
Another year could bring us unimaginable joy. 365 days of blessings. I don’t know. All I know is that while memory is a gift, there are times when it hurts.