Some women aren’t sure which is worse — dreading an important anniversary or forgetting it all together.
I get both scenarios in my inbox. Women who don’t see how they can make it through the due date or the anniversary of the loss, who may take off work or go through elaborate rituals. And women who suddenly realize — it passed by without my realizing it. Both things can send you spiraling.
But truly, either thing is a normal part of the process of healing. If you discover renewed grief on that day, then roll with it. Find a way to channel that emotion — make something for the baby, maybe a candle or an ornament, or if you aren’t crafty, do something good for someone else. Take a box of food to a food bank or a couple packages of diapers to a woman’s shelter. These are good and wonderful things you can do in honor of your baby.
And if you find the day has passed without your marking it — that’s okay too. The people who love us (and that includes our angels!) want to see us healing and back to living our lives. There is no better way to honor the ones we have lost than to be happy, healthy, and keeping their memories an important, but not necessarily debilitating, part of how we spend our days.
I got a jolt seven years ago when my ob/gyn tried to schedule Elizabeth’s c-section on April 28, the day we learned Casey had died in 1998. I was adamant — no way. So he tried the 30th, which was the day I had my D&E and actually lost the baby. I told him, “You can schedule it for that day, but I’m not going to show up.”
We settled on May 1, and Elizabeth arrived in all her glory, and my Casey days remained his. This time of year is always a mixed bag of somber and joyful, memories and celebrations. But if in the throes of party planning and preparing for sister’s big day, I don’t remember to bring my revelry to a halt to think of Casey, that’s fine too. He’s probably off playing somewhere anyway.