I didn't forget.
I just didn't want to have to remember.
I've actually gotten pretty good at the year after year anniversary dates and such - I have had the luxury of time, lots and lots of time. Some years go by, a specific date a little hiccup in an otherwise all right year. Then other years, the hiccup is a massive spasm - one that leaves you gasping for air and trying to hold yourself together. Eleven years is a long time - a long time to hold onto a hurt, and still hurt. But hurt it did - eleven years later, a wee little one, begun and not finished, and harder than I expected. A hurt profound and confusing enough in complexities that I can only begin to verbalize it now - more than a month after the fact.
Forty was just a number to me. I honestly didn't approach it with any more regard than I have previous birthdays. I'm only as old as I feel right? The problem is, some days, I feel old - so exhaustingly old. I've told myself I'm no wus when it comes to aging - but frankly, I've decided that some of it really sucks. Big time - and this year? I feel really really really old. Some of it is because it feels like the warranty has expired on my body. There's aching and creaking and stiffness and other things that just really weren't ever there before - and allergies! I grew up with cats and now I'm allergic?! I always pictured myself in my waning years crocheting with a cat playing with my yarn. Reading a book with a fuzzy, purring friend by my side. The novelty of discovering a grey hair has rapidly dissipated. These are hardly unique injustices. What did hit me harder than I anticipated, was facing my past - and facing that past feeling so gosh darn old. Facing those anniversary dates have become something entirely different now - facing those past losses without a uterus. (I know - you're all rolling your eyes - there she goes again!) I told myself it wouldn't matter - that it would not change the who I am. I was right, and yet I was also wrong. I am still the same person - rapidly greying, metabolism slogging along ever slower with each passing moment - but the same. What did change were the possibilities. Not probable, but possible - and now those possibilities have been slid over into the impossible column.
Pregnancy is all about possibilities. Loss is an end to them. Hope for the possibility of pregnancy without loss is what kept me going. Loss anniversaries without hope of possibilities - horse of a different color, and I find myself feeling cheated all over again. The other women I see around me with their beautiful new infants that once left me sad and wondering if it would ever be me again, now I KNOW it will not ever be me again. That what if became a what is. I spent years trying to train myself to deal in what is, to ignore the what ifs in each new pregnancy. That was what I had to do to survive. If I gave myself into all the what ifs, just trying to get out of the first trimester with my sanity intact would have been impossible. So day by day, hour by hour and sometimes even minute by minute - I focused on "what is" - right now I am pregnant. For this moment in time - it could change in an hour, it could change tomorrow or a week from now, but for now this is what is. And minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day I remained pregnant, or I did not. I tried to keep from crossing that bridge until I had to. I have become so well trained in the art of what is that it now has become a stumbling block. What is is that the possibility of pregnancy and live birth is impossible. Not just improbable, but completely and utterly impossible. That is what makes each loss date this year especially poignant. Facing those losses again knowing that the possibility is forever gone drives home the finality of it all. For that, I mourn anew. Not the fresh, raw and jagged ugly mourning I did in the days immediately following - but a grieving nonetheless.
I wrestled with how to deal with this on my blog. How do I speak of this? It seemed somewhat ridiculous, even to myself. Things I thought about writing about - I would ask, is this relevant? Am I wallowing? Do I still need to let go? Did I just think I was getting on with my life and I really wasn't? 'Cause you know, I'm kind of struggling right now. Should I be? Quit being a weenie! Then it occurred to me - an epiphany if you will, it is all relevant. The woman in the grocery store aisle trying to decide between the one ply or the two ply tissue is the woman she is because of, not in spite of, everything that brought her to this point: the losses, the joys, the good, the bad, the ugly and the utterly amazing. This woman struggling with what to write because she wonders if it is relevant or not - I am who I am because of who I have been. I've been the woman trying to conceive. I've been the woman trying to stay pregnant. I've been the woman scheduling the d&c. I've been the woman going home with the empty arms and the woman with the crib that is going to get used. I've been down and I've been up. I haven't stopped to tally whether the ups or the downs were greater, it really doesn't matter because I am still standing. Aches and pains come with fighting a battle and,
with living a life.
Yeah, I am starting to see a great deal more grey hair than I would like to. I don't have to like it and I can live with it or bring home that box of Clairol. Maybe I don't have a uterus anymore, but that doesn't mean I've suddenly stopped craving that feeling of the possibility of bringing new life to this world - and it would be a little strange if it did, I have to feel something about it, right? Eleven years and a month ago I lay on a table in an emergency room and was told I didn't have a viable pregnancy - and sometimes even now, that day hurts still. All of it, every bit is completely relevant. What it is, is what it is - what I get to do, is choose what I do with it.
Caelan, April 21st, 1998, you have been and always will be relevant.