Where am I?
I'm still here.
Further along the path, but still travelling.
I guess I thought somehow I would have arrived by now. To where? I'm not sure. But still, there is no end in sight. Perhaps that's the point. When your baby dies, you're never done, never finished. Never done grieving. Never done remembering. Never finished wishing for the things that might have, almost, could have, would have, should have been.
Things change over time, of course. They always do.
Except the fact that he's dead. That never changes.
I'm in a much better place this year than when I wrote my post for Angie's project last year. Having Kaia is a big part of that. Kissing a chubby baby tummy, holding a soft dimpled hand, feeding a tiny greedy mouth and waking up to a light-up-my-life smile is beyond wonderful. Kaia is all that and more, wrapped up in daughter-y goodness.
But it's not just her presence that has pulled me out of the darkness.
A year ago, I feared she would die. I was afraid that I would have to burn another child.
A year ago, I feared she would live, but with crippling health problems. It would be a miracle...but with so many strings attached.
That she is who she is, and does what she does, seems like so much more than I could have ever asked for. That she defied the odds and lives to tell the tale is the greatest gift I have ever received. On days that are hard, where I'm tired or she's out of sorts, or life isn't as simple as it could be, all it takes is a reminder, and I'm grateful again. I know it could always be worse. Much worse.
The fact that she is miraculously alive, against all the odds, continues to astound and amaze me. That this time I got what I wanted, that she wasn't taken away, has healed a part of me that was so damaged when Aidan died. Having her alive and well has restored my faith in life's goodness.
So maybe it's no wonder that sometimes I feel I no longer deserve to be sad over Aidan's death. He died, true... But she lived!
You got what you wanted. How much more can you ask for? You know that life isn't fair. Can't always get what you want. Be grateful.
And I am.
But...(a small voice says).
Other people have no dead children.
No pregnancies that cripple them and place them on life's sidelines for months.
No post-traumatic stress triggers (NICU, sick, possibly dying babies, sad, sad parents) that await them upon return to work after maternity leave.
No reason to think that a next pregnancy would be anything but joyful anticipation.
No reason not to have another, very much wanted (alive), sibling for their child.
I am so lucky...and not, all at the same time.
It's still all so complicated. So awash in love and fear and longing.
But now? That is utterly normal.
It is what it is.