What 19 years can do

It’s interesting to think about where my life might be if things had gone differently on this day in 1998. Emily wouldn’t be graduating from high school next week. My timeline for another child would be different. Maybe even Elizabeth wouldn’t be around. I wouldn’t be adopting a new little guy.

I’m not sure I’m a believer that “Everything has a reason” or “It’s what was meant to happen.” But I do believe that most of us find ways to make the best of things, create silver linings, and stir sugar into lemon water.

And this year is proof. Nineteen years ago, I avoided baby showers at all cost. I lost friendships over it. I upset others. Putting on a big smile and watching the endless reveal of baby gifts was not on my mental health menu for a long time.

But this year? I’m going to a baby shower ON the anniversary of my baby’s death.

The mom-to-be has no idea and I wouldn’t even consider enlightening her. I think ignorance of how terrible pregnancy can go is a beautiful thing in this case. I’m pleased and grateful for every woman who never has to know what a devastating turn a simple sonogram visit can take.

I’ll be fine. There will be ooing and ahhing and laughter. I will ooh and ahh and laugh.

I might not be as perfectly engaged as I might have been if life had going differently nineteen years ago. But the fact I’m going there at all, on this of all days, is a testament that you can get better. You do recover from a loss this big. And you can look your biggest dread in the eye and shrug because you get it now. Life is beautiful and painful in equal measure.

So when you have a chance to take the beauty and pain in a single moment, you cherish it. You recognize your strength, and smile at the perfect hope that can only be found at a baby shower, even if it falls on the day you once thought all hope was lost.

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