I am still not sure how to commemorate this week. I’m even having a hard time classifying it. Is it an anniversary or a birthday or a date of death? I tend to like the description of “angelversary,” so that is how I will refer to it from now on. I do know that I wanted to write about it, and I’ve already done that. I’ve already given the gory details, the emotional havoc, the heart shattering narrative and I don’t want to keep beating into everyone’s head the play by play. So I’ll say this. This week has been hard, but not as hard as it could be. I find myself completely keyed up when it is time to go to bed, so it has been harder for me to sleep. I’ve watched several Christmas movies in the past couple of weeks and they just aren’t the same. One of them I hadn’t seen since I was a kid and I watched it “that” night in the hospital. It made me really sad. I have avoided listening to a lot of Christmas music because I know some of the songs will trigger some emotions. I was afraid to write a Christmas letter this year because I had to include something about Charlotte and I sometimes worry that people who receive it will think, “Geez, just move on,” or “why did she have to bring this up?” but I did it anyway. She shaped our lives so much in the past year that I couldn’t reference a new job or new baby without including her.
I find myself making it through these past couple of days and being inundated with memories of this day, this minute, this hour a year ago. I keep drifting back. This past weekend, we went to Brad’s company’s Christmas party and I thought, “Wow, what I would have done to have gotten out of this last year?” I wondered what all of the people that I only see once a year were thinking or feeling when they see me. I am (again) so happy to have a baby this year or I probably would have tried to get out of it again.
I have really tried to keep myself busy, but I also know that the emotions and memories are going to come no matter how much I have going on, and so I write to keep my sanity and to remember. I don’t want to push everything away because that is all I have left of Charlotte.
It is unfortunate that the whole “event” wasn’t limited to a day or so, that it had to spread out over five days, and I guess I should be relieved that I didn’t know this was coming weeks or months before it happened. That five days in the grand scheme of things, isn’t all that long. As much as I was grateful to have family and distractions and for everything to happen around the holidays, it has ruined some of the joy of the season. As we get closer to Christmas, we get closer to the 17th and the 19th, the two worst days. I am so relieved that I was out of the hospital and physically I was close to back to normal by Christmas. I was also thankful that one of the hardest of milestones, was out of the way so quickly. I hope for my sake, my sons’ sakes and my entire family’s sake that this can be a typical holiday. That there will be more smiles than tears and I am sure that will be the case.
I want all of you to know that I am happy, not how I expected to be, but life is good. How could it not be? I have two handsome sons and one beautiful daughter guardian angel and not to mention, a pretty kick ass husband. It is not in my personality to be sad, so I try not to dwell on the sadness too much. I write when the mood strikes me, not because I am wallowing in it every day. And I want everyone to be happy for me, not to be sad. I wrote this blog to do two things, help people who may be going through this and to share the journey. I never intended for people to feel bad for me or to illicit sympathy or pity. I am an open book and I want to be approachable, to speak the truth and also shine light on a very taboo (and unfortunately very real and scary) subject. Every half an hour of every hour of every day in THIS COUNTRY, a couple experiences stillbirth. That equates to over 26,000 women per year. That number is staggering and very unfortunate. I wanted to bring a voice to stillbirth. I hope I have.
It is truly a different year and as hard as it was, thankfully, it was also joyful. We have hit every milestone of the first year. We have emerged stronger and maybe even better than we were. As hard as it has been, I am so thankful for Charlotte, so happy she was in my life and even happier for the way she has changed my life and our family, as well as the lives of those around me in ways I would have never dreamed possible.
So Happy Angelversary Eve to you sweet Charlotte!