October is a tough month for me. It's 31 days of such immense bittersweetness and is an intricate balancing act of enjoying the wonderful, while also allowing myself to feel the pain and grief it all holds.
Eight years ago, I married the man who saved me. It wasn't a perfect day but it was the start to our lives together and for that, I'm inexplicably grateful.
Five years ago, I was days away from testifying against the person who raped me in an Article 32 Hearing. My husband was 8,000 miles away in Afghanistan and every single day, I lived for those few minutes that I got to see his pixelized face and hear his voice through the static. I didn't care about how imperfect or unclear it all was because in those few minutes, I wasn't having to pretend I was happy or okay, I actually, genuinely was.
Two years ago, on this exact day, I was not only dealing with the regular ups and downs that the month of October holds for me, I was mourning the loss of our fourth Angel Baby whose due date had been October 15th, 2013. They never made it into my arms and I was bitter but I was alive to feel that bitterness, which is a wonderful thing.
One year ago, I was with the love of my life, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, visiting and exploring some of our favorite beaches. We went completely unplugged for the bulk of the day, enjoyed the radio silence, and gave credence and respect to the day in the most beautiful, peaceful, acknowledging way we could. One month prior, we had lost our baby girl Kay, our fifth Angel Baby who had Trisomy 21. It was our hardest loss yet but we had each other.
Even through all of the loss and sadness, October still holds a spark of magic for me. There always has been. It's all much more than any words are able to do the feeling justice. The wind brings a newness to the air. It's crisp and sharp but also calming and gentle. Somehow, all of the falling leaves and dying foliage smell sweet and spark the feeling of being alive. These 31 days hold so much nostalgia and wonderment from my childhood and as I've gotten older, have grown to hold a lot of harsh, unexpected cruelty. It seems odd to long for this time of year when I know exactly what memories and emotions I'll be flooded with and yet, every single year, I do just that. It's irreconcilable but also, not.
I don't believe October will ever become easy for me nor will it ever lose its magic. It's something that like all other things in life, will always require balance. There is no good without bad, no joy without sadness and no strength without pain and suffering. Without experiencing terrible loss and loneliness and isolation, it wouldn't be possible for me to feel the Heaven that is the love in my life.
Every October there is one day set apart from all the others where I feel the bereavement more keenly while at the same time, feeling more bolstered and supported. It's another balancing act that is hard to get a firm understanding of but nevertheless, is.
I miss every single one of my babies with all that I am. There isn't a second that ticks by that I don't long for them and feel the immeasurable emptiness each one of them has left in my heart. Each day, I wonder about who they would have been and every day, I love them with my Mama's broken heart. Every October 15th, I feel and experience and exist in this reality on a deeper level than any other day. Why? I don't quite know. Perhaps it's the fact that there are countless others feeling, experiencing, and existing in this same reality on this same deeper level, and ACKNOWLEDGING it.
Another year has dragged on and flown by. Once again, it's National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Please take a moment to send up a prayer and put out some light for every Baby lost too soon, every Father who didn't get to see their child grow up, and every Mother who has lost a piece of her heart. You may think it doesn't affect you or that it doesn't matter but you'd be wrong. 1 in 4 women have suffered through this horror, a lot of them in silence. That means that 25% of the women surrounding you, know all too intimately the excruciating pain of losing a child.
It does matter.
1 in 4 isn't just a statistic though.
1 in 4 is the WOMAN next to you in line.
1 in 4 is your AUNT.
1 in 4 is your COWORKER.
1 in 4 is your NEIGHBOR.
1 in 4 is your SISTER.
1 in 4 is ME.