Warning: This chapter mentions the heavy topic of miscarriage/pregnancy loss. If those are sensitive subjects for you, please proceed with caution.
I still can’t believe how the time has flown… It’s kind of funny how quickly all these anniversaries can creep up on you. Every year, it feels like they come faster and faster. Kinda piling up out of nowhere.
There are lots of good ones, of course. Like birthdays (We just had Harper and Tante Joce’s a few weeks ago, and my 41st is in just a couple months… yikes!) or wedding anniversaries (it’ll be eight years for me and Hope in August!).
But there are some not-so-great ones too. And they’re just as important as the good ones, aren’t they?
It’s been five years since we had to say hello and goodbye to our little boy in the very same breath. It’s always such a difficult day for me and Hope… But we don’t really like talking about it. To anyone, really. They just don’t understand.
Even after all this time, it still hurts. And it’s still so damn frustrating when people don’t get it, y’know? I mean, we never even told anyone outside our families about the first baby we lost, since it was so early on. And sometimes I kind of wish we did. Why should we have to keep it some big secret from everyone?
The second time was so different though. We couldn’t keep it a secret, even if we wanted to. And I don’t think anyone really knew how to react. They still don’t. And that’s why we barely talk about it.
One of the most frustrating things is when they assume that just because we have Harper now, it somehow erases all the pain we felt about losing Levi. Or that losing him at nineteen weeks somehow changes things. He was technically a miscarriage, sure. But this was so much different than our first one. We knew he was a little boy. We picked out a name for him. We started buying baby clothes. We could feel him kicking and moving. He was already a part of our family.
I think the worst part was that even after we knew he was gone, Hope still had to deliver him. That was the most horrific day of our entire lives. But at least we got to hold him in our arms and say our goodbyes before they took him away.
We ended up spreading his ashes out at the Bluffs so he could be with Mama and Papa. That little heart in our bedroom is all we have left of him.
Harper’s too young to understand any of this, of course. But I hope someday we can explain to her just what a miracle she truly is. And everything we had to go through to get where we are today.
The pain and guilt of learning we couldn’t have a baby without help. The years of drugs and fertility treatments. The pain of losing our son before he even had a chance to be born. The heartache and struggling we had to endure just to get pregnant again. The fear and uncertainty waiting to reach that nineteen-week mark. The pain of losing grandpa before he had a chance to meet our little girl. And the terror and dread we felt that night Hope went into labor, barely twenty-seven weeks into her pregnancy…
Our little girl is everything to us. Everything. The most precious thing in our lives. I know every parent feels that way about their kid, but after everything Hope and I went through to have her… It just feels different, I guess. And someday, we’ll help her understand that.
But not yet. She’s still way too young. So last night, when Hope told me Harper had been asking questions, I was relieved to hear that she didn’t tell her anything.
But our curious little girl can’t be stopped that easily, I guess. Today we’ve had to deal with a whole new line of questioning from Harper… About Oma.
Yesterday was painful enough already, but getting that call from Tante Joce made it even worse. She told me Oma fell yesterday morning. I guess she got kind of confused and went outside. She tripped down the back steps. Thank God Opa found her so quickly.
We went and visited today. She was really tired, but she still managed to talk to us. And she seemed in pretty good spirits, all things considered. The doctors say she can probably go home in a couple days.
And we’re all so relieved she’s okay, but this whole thing just makes me so damn worried. She was lucky not to have any lasting physical effects from her stroke last year… But her mind is a different story.
I can see the toll this is already starting to take on Opa. I swear to God he’s aged about a decade in the last year alone. And poor Tante Joce has to stand by and watch her parents go through all this. It’s a nightmare. And what will happen when they’re gone?
I hate thinking about it, I really do. But it’s a fact we’ll have to face eventually. And I feel so sick imagining Tante Joce all alone in that house once Oma and Opa pass away. It’s bad enough already with just the three of them there. I can’t even imagine how terrible it will be for Tante Joce when she’s all alone.
Hope and I know all too well how painful it is to be alone in an empty house after you’ve suffered a loss. You’re surrounded by painful memories everywhere you look.
But at least we had each other. She’ll have no one. And I just wish there was something we could do to help…
But y’know, now that I think of it… Maybe there is.