“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” Rumi
I wrote last week about the events surrounding the five year anniversary of my deceased son’s due date. How, even after five years, I continued to mourn not only the day that Gabriel was born and died, but also the day that he was supposed to have been born…January 17, 2012. Now, a few days ago, the sixth anniversary of his due date slipped by, bringing with it dark and stormy skies, and a soaking rain that seemed fitting for the event. Normally, I internally applaud any darkness on that day, as it usually suits my mood. This year, however, the gloomy weather seemed unnecessary, as I no longer feel like being sad…or depressed…or hopeless in grief. Oddly enough, with enough years behind me, I suddenly feel like I’ve arrived at a place where I can understand that everything’s that happened to me, has happened for a reason. It’s a reason that I’m still slowly discovering, but each day, I can feel myself moving closer and closer to my own personal truth.
So, on this year’s anniversary, I decided to look back in time to see just how far I’ve actually come. I paged through the memoir I wrote after Gabriel died and found what I wrote to him on that first due date that he missed. The anger and depression in my writing popped out at me immediately, but so did a feeling of acceptance and hope–“heavy” acceptance and hope, but still, they were there in some form. So this week, I’d like to share with you what I wrote back then, perhaps simply to offer a glimpse of what “first anniversaries” can look like, compared to how they evolve as time passes. Everyone’s journey is different, but this is part of mine.
Taken from the memoir Pitter-Pat, January 18, 2012
My eyes opened slowly this morning to a room that was cold and black. Lying on my back, motionless except for the movement of my eyes, I stared up at the ceiling in the dark. I knew without looking at the clock, that it was over. That I had made it. That your due date had come and gone and that I was still alive. And, as I had feared, I felt no different. There was no relief.
Crisp air causing me to shiver, I sensed that it was snowing outside, that the storm they had warned us about had finally arrived, and sighing, I closed my eyes, thinking that the day would be tough. Your brother’s school would be closed today and your father would be stranded at work, an hour away from home. We would be lucky, Julian and I, if we didn’t lose power.
What would I have done, Gabriel, if you had been born last night? If you’d have come during this storm? Would I have given birth to you here at home, all alone in this house?
Abruptly, my eyes snapped open in rage.
Of course not, idiot! If you’d have gone full-term with this pregnancy, you wouldn’t even be home right now! With a winter storm predicted, you’d be in a hotel tonight, somewhere close to the hospital!
A sudden desire to hit someone, I threw the heavy blankets off my body and got out of bed, my feet moving as if with a mind of their own, taking me to you, of course…to the large double windows in our hallway that look out onto your grave. As quickly as my anger had come, it rapidly dissolved, deep heaviness returning back to my soul. For the scene around your grave was breathtaking, magical even, like a hidden fairyland that only I knew about, boasting a stunning display of shimmering snow and ice crystals that I could only hope would one day grace my own resting spot.
“Shhhhhh,” nature seemed to be whispering, “a baby is sleeping.”
My head jerked and I looked away. Because, a baby was sleeping, and he was sleeping here, in our house.
Which was how, in the early morning hours on the day after your due date, I ended up sleeping on the rocking chair in your brother’s room, bundled up beneath one of his baby blankets, rocking while listening to the sound of his breath, which was deep and heavy and, like mine, very much alive.
Julian slept deeply, until the dark skies finally lightened. But my weary eyes stayed open. Sleep for me, never came.
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