February 6, 2004. Five years.
Five years have passed since losing you, my daughter. My first born, first conceived.
First child to fill the womb that was so ready and willing and anxious to be filled.
This day, this landmark in time leaves me confused. On one hand five years seems a significant mass of time, a true marker of movement. Some details grow fuzzy, and I have to ask your father to fill in the blanks. I'm saddened by this. I feel I should remember every moment of you growing inside me and every minute surrounding your sad birth, no matter how painful these memories can be. It's important. I want your siblings to know all they can about you, and yet I know it is inevitable that time will make this a more difficult task, simply by robbing me of the ability to remember every last thing.
I'm confused as to how I should feel at this point. Each year since, once Christmas has passed, I feel the dread of knowing what will be coming up shortly. This week is the hardest of the year, the week leading up to your birth. I find myself becoming pre-occupied with the details, trying to recollect the moments. "Right about now I was being transferred to the second hospital, where I would learn the grave truth". "This evening marked the darkest moments, the waiting time, when I struggled with my yearning to die with you, if that was what was to come". I've noticed over these few years that the grief has subsided overall. But then are the moments it still brings me to my knees. I spend this week being able to still laugh with friends, while at the same time fearing that each time I open my mouth, my voice will tremble. I avoid looking anyone straight in the face, knowing they will see right through me to the utter helplessness and sorrow. I want to share the significance of this week with those it is lost on ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and I want to pull it all up inside me again and squirrel away to a quiet place where we can be alone.
I struggle with confusion over how to regard my own body. I'm deeply angered that what I had every expectation would act as a fortress to protect the precious soul inside me failed at this most important task. And yet to acknowledge this anger and frustration is to belie the knowledge that it is only through this wretched vessel that I was able to carry you at all ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ not to mention the two remarkable little wonders it allowed me after that. And so I've come a long way in this aspect, but there is work yet to be done.
I'm confused as to whether I should be grieving you this week again, still, or celebrating your life. And so I will grieve, (largely because I can't help it), feeling guilty all the while. Feeling selfish for not simply being thankful for what we had with you, what you meant to us, what you taught us. And so too I will celebrate ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ this day, your birthday, when I held your lifeless body and kissed your hands and forehead and marveled at your beauty ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ while still feeling guilty that I can smile on today of all days.
I'm confused as to how I should feel upon seeing your pictures. Having gone on to have your two siblings, I see so clearly now the resemblance between my three children. How should I feel about this? Comforted, knowing many pieces of your physical embodiment are carried forth in your brother and sister? Gutted, knowing how perfectly you would fill in the gaps, the first of our particular mix of dna?
I've given up searching for the answers as to how I should feel, the way out of the confusion. I've resigned myself now to believing that, five years on, this is simply how I remember. And I will take it, knowing that through the pain and grieving and confusion and tears I am so very lucky still to have memories of you.
Dear Ila, I am thankful for all that you were and continue to be.
We love you and forever will miss you.
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