October 15th.... It's the middle of the month. It's the day after the 14th and the day before the 16th. It's 16 days away from Halloween. It's right in the middle of Autumn weather coming into full swing. There's usually leaves on the ground in different shades of red, orange, and gold. The air is crisp and chilly in the morning and brisk and cold at night. It's cold enough for boots and cardigans but there's no snow sticking to the ground yet. Pumpkin is everywhere. It's in recipes on blogs and in your Facebook feed. There's countless pictures of pumpkin this or pumpkin that on Instagram. They're in the grocery store, being sold at the stand on the corner, and sitting on your neighbors front porch. Most of the popular pins on Pinterest right now either incorporate or center around this big orange member of the squash family. There are crafts! And decorations! And GOOD LORD it's even in your coffee! All of these things are a given when it comes to the general public and what pops in their minds when thinking about October. Everyone knows when October is. Everyone is more than familiar with the things that are usually going on in October. To most, October 15th is just another generic day of the week in another month of another year. This year, October 15th happens to be a Tuesday. Last year it was a Monday and back in 2007, on October 15th, I was rushing around tying up loose ends and calming nerves for my wedding that was just four days away. Do you know what else October 15th is? National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. You see, for countless women, October 1st begins the lead up to the one day a year that their pieces of fractured souls and broken hearts are recognized by others rather than themselves alone. Their babies who are now angels are even more present in their hearts and minds today, than they are every other second of every other day because of this day. October 15th. Prayers are said. Candles are lit. Hands are held. Hugs are given. Memories are reflected upon. Tears are shed. All of this and more for the babies who never got to make it out of the womb, the ones who were stillborn, and the ones who were taken much too soon back to Heaven. For most people, October means Autumn has arrived and Halloween, orange and black, witches, pumpkins, and spooky stories are here. For others though, it's something much more and most won't ever know. Growing up, October was something I anxiously waited for all year. I loved the feelings I got going outside in the mornings and seeing the trees slowly become more bare as the leaves fell. I always went all out on Halloween when it came to my costumes and I looked forward to the neighborhood bonfire we had every year. It was the month that brought my Mama's birthday and on its heels was Thanksgiving. I loved it. In 2007, October became even more fantastic! The 19th was the day Loverface and I became husband and wife and it was just one more thing to celebrate! Each passing year since then brought on more and more of life and the struggles that accompany with it. It seemed as if everything kept happening around the same time of the year and it all made me morph into someone who felt increasingly sad and angry as October drew closer. No matter how I have tried, I haven't been able to regain my untainted and unabashed fondness and enthusiasm for October. October 4th, 2009 was the day I was raped and nearly killed. It was an inexplicable nightmare and to this day I can't really face the details of it all without flinching away. October 19th, 2010 found me 8,000 miles away from my husband. Instead of it being the day we celebrated 3 years of marriage, it was the day that began with me testifying against my rapist in an Article 32 Hearing and ended with me alone at an Urgent Care, being told that I was in the midst of a miscarriage. Our 3rd loss. The next year, October 2011 was a bit of an emotional blur. Loverface was on 12 hour night shifts and I was trying desperately to not drown in my grief and anger surrounding the events from the last couple of years. I tried to shove it away and hide it which in the end did nothing but set me up for a much bigger fall. Last year, we were still settling into our new civilian lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and even though we did get to have a day together to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary, I couldn't help but feel utterly bitter. Bitter that we had 3 Angel Babies but none here on Earth. Bitter that after 5 years, we were no closer to our goals and dreams. I was angry and bitter that the person who raped me had not only been let off all civilian charges but also all military charges and was free to live his life without a second thought of what he had done to me. I was bitter that I had received notification that this person wasn't content enough with brutally abusing me but was also attempting to serve me with legal papers, notifying me that I was being sued. I was SO. UTTERLY. BITTER. The beginning of this year brought with it a change. Our circumstances and environment didn't undergo some magical transformation nor will they anytime in the near future. Regardless, something had clicked. A flip was switched in me and without telling anyone or declaring that it was a New Years Resolution, I made a decision. I was going to let it go. Everything that I was clinging to that made my life that much more difficult or unhappy was being set free. If I didn't have any control over it, it was gone. Getting on Facebook and seeing that yet another person, was having yet another baby wasn't going to ruin my week. Of course it would still be difficult and it would still tug at my heart but I wasn't going to be the girl that couldn't paste a smile on her face and say a simple, "Congratulations." No more. I wasn't going to fear my attacker. Let his lawyers try to track me down and serve me with papers. I wasn't going to hold onto so much bitterness that I didn't have room for happiness. Thinking about and talking about my attack was still going to be incredibly difficult. It would hurt like hell but all I had control over was continuing to bravely share my story and show others that its possible to pick up the pieces and get back to your life. Try my best. This was all something that just kind of occurred to me one day. I don't remember what I was doing or where I was but I remember feeling a sense of excitement, hope, and relief. October was still going to be a month that held a lot of emotion. That was inescapable and even if I could, I wouldn't want to. The best part of human existence is experiencing and feeling. Without the bad there wouldn't be good and vice versa. You can't have all the chocolate without the calories but sometimes, the chocolate is just so damn worth it. I'd decided and I dove in. In February, Loverface and I discovered I was miraculously pregnant. We shared it with the world in hopes of all the extra prayers and good juju would really help that bun stay in my oven. We were very cautiously starting to allow talk of the future and started slipping into, "When"s instead of, "If"s. I was insanely sick and growing at a fast pace. Then it all happened. Again. Our hopes were dashed, our baby was gone, and we were left empty in every possible way. Regardless of how difficult it was, we pulled ourselves back up and got back into our routines. By July it seemed as if I really had managed to grieve and tuck the heartache away more easily than in the past. It didn't hurt any less and I wasn't any less broken but I was able to handle it better for some reason. Until today. You see, today is October 15th. It's National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It's October 15th. It's the day that was supposed to be for our Angel Baby #4. October 15, 2013. The due date that never happened. Today I am feeling broken. The words grief and sadness don't seem anywhere near adequate and the thought that this awful, huge, gaping feeling could be put into words that would come close to describing what it is to hurt like this is incomprehensible. I have hope that hope will return to me soon and I love that I know what it is to have a man who loves me the way I am loved. Its October 15th and I am feeling fractured, hollow, blank.... But I know I am blessed.