Monday, January 8, 2018

Year 12.

It seems like such a very long time to be missing someone.

At age 12 in my church, girls graduate from the primary sunday school into the "Young Women" program.  At the beginning of each year, they hold a "New Beginnings" program.  It is sort of a preview of the year for the girls, and a welcome for all those who will be turning 12 that year.  Cora would be turning 12 this year.  New Beginnings is this week.

She should be there.

I should be there with her.

We should be excitedly preparing for this new step in her life.  I should be watching as she grows up too fast into the woman I'd imagined her becoming all through my pregnancy with her.

I should
I should
I should.

Should is the hardest part.

Actually, no it's not.  The hardest part is the havoc 12 years has wreaked on my memories of her.  I don't remember what she smelled like.  I don't remember what she felt like.  Except for the few pictures we took, I don't even really remember what she looked like.

My body betrayed me by allowing her to die, and now my mind is betraying me by allowing her to be erased.  My mortal, imperfect brain.  It seems so unfair. Sometimes it feels no more real than a bad dream.

But she really was here.  She really did exist.  She really is mine.

And I miss her.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My last "first"

Cora's due date was May 14th, 2006, but whenever I was asked when I was due I just answered "Mother's Day!"  It's been 11 years, but today is the first time since that May 14th and Mother's Day have coincided.  I have had 11 Mother's Days, 9 with a child in my arms, and 11 due dates, but this is the first time since the first one that have had the both happening together.  And it hurts.

Not only that but the Primary Sunday school group sings to the congregation for the mothers, and today would have been the only time all 5 of my children would have been up there to sing for me. Primary is for kids aged 3-11, and Owen is 3 this year.  Next year Cora would have been 12 already and not singing.  It was kind of a tender mercy to me that Owen refused to go up with his siblings.  Even if Cora had been here, it wouldn't have been all 5 kids.

But up until that moment, I was dreading it.

I have been dreading today.

Sometimes grief sneaks up on you.  It comes out of left field and bowls you over.  But then there are times, like today, when it's like standing on a beach waiting for a tsunami.  Standing on the beach, watching the water retreat, knowing what's coming and being unable to move, hoping that the crash of grief doesn't drown you.

Thankfully, in my experience, emotional tsunamis aren't as fatal as actual ones.

But that doesn't mean that you aren't bruised.

That doesn't mean that you don't need time to recover.

That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

I am so grateful for the four babies I get to hold this Mother's Day.  But my heart aches for the one I don't.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Another year without her.

This is my 10th one.  My 10th New Year without my Cora.  It seems astounding to me.  Time is so strange.  I can close my eyes and it seems just like the first forever altered.  Hurt, angry, wondering why it had to happen to me.  One more day down the line.  One more day further away.

And yet sometimes, when I open my eyes, it's almost as if she was never here.  And that hurts more I think.  Life goes on, and while I think of her every day, it isn't always with tears.  But sometimes, those days and months and years feel unbearable.  How many more must I endure?  I'll be 34 this year, I'm hoping for at least 50 more.

It helps if I turn it around.  Each day is one day closer to seeing her again.  One day less of the 50 more years.  I'm not suicidal, but I don't fear death.  I'm looking forward to seeing my sweet Cora again.

Until then, I speak her name.  Because, according to the Egyptian Book of the Dead "To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again.  It restores the breath of life to him that is vanished."

I love you Cora Rei.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

100 pounds

It's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Only for those of us who are living it, every day is Remembrance Day.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about her.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss her.

Most days, I can smile wistfully and remember the beauty she brought to my life.  And it's sad, but it's sweet too.  Like when monarch butterflies are your "symbol" for your angel, and it's monarch migration season, and you see 67 on a twenty minute walk.

But some days, like today, you break down into wracking sobs in the shower.

This grief, it's like carrying around a weight.  100 pounds.  At first, you are knocked over, and it's suffocating.  At first it crushes you.

But like anything, when you bear it long enough you start to adjust.  Muscles grow stronger.  Soon, you can walk around, carrying it like it's nothing.

But it still weighs 100 pounds.

It's been 10 years, 5 months, 1 week and 6 days since Cora was stillborn.  It's been 10 years, 5 months and 2 weeks since my doctor told me her heart was no longer beating and my world was changed forever.

It still hurts as badly today as it did then. It still weighs 100 pounds.  But somehow I have grown to bear it.  Some days I hardly even notice I'm carrying it.

But some days, like today, I look at it closely and I feel every ounce.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Happy birthday

So Cora's birthday is always emotionally loaded.  Actually, the whole week leading up to it is.  I always think of the "lasts," whether I try to or not.  But our traditions for Cora's birthday usually give me happy high points too.

Every year we raise caterpillars to have butterflies to release around Cora's birthday.  This is the 6th (or 7th, I can't quite remember when exactly we started doing it) year we've done butterflies for her, and have only actually released them on her birthday maybe twice.  This year, the forecast called for rain on the second, and cooler temps (which was accurate) for the 2nd, so we ended up releasing the butterflies on May 1st.  Which was actually good.  Because May 1st is a really hard day for me, being the day that we received the news that she had died.  I usually do something that day to distract myself, but since May 1st this year was on a Sunday, and I try not to go out or purchase anything on Sundays, releasing the butterflies ended up being good.

I then allowed myself some time to sit under a tree and cry while the kids were playing.  I do a "photo of the day" thing on instagram and May 1st's prompt was "blue," which perfectly described my feelings.  I don't normally take pictures of myself crying.

And then the day of her birthday we went to IHOP for dinner.  A few years ago (maybe 2013?), Erin decided it would be Cora's favorite place to eat, so we have eaten there for her birthday every year since.  Owen was hiding under the table yelling "No pitoh!"

And then we came home for cake.  It was a strawberry shortcake, made on a homemade angel food cake.  And it was delicious.  And while I was at the store, I passed those candles, and it felt like Cora was yelling at me to get them instead of the normal numeral candles I usually do.  It made me happy, to feel like she is participating in her birthday.

It's hard.  I feel like I walk around seeing holes in my family.  But I am so glad her siblings know her and do things to honor her.  They talk about her, and it is so sweet.

Happy birthday sweet Cora.
I love you so much.

Friday, April 29, 2016

If Only....

I have tried to live my life without regret.  I don't think I mean that the way most people do...most of the time I work so that I don't have anything in my past that I would regret, but when there are those things, I try to fix things, forgive myself (and others) and move on.

But then certain regrets stick around.  Those usually are the ones that I couldn't change if I tried, and with what I knew at the time, made the best decision I could. The regret only comes from hindsight.

10 years ago today, I made a statement.  I was so close to the end of my pregnancy.  A pregnancy which totally surprised me in its misery, and I was just hanging on to the hope that once I wasn't pregnant anymore, I wouldn't be sick anymore. 

"I almost don't care about the baby, I just don't want to be sick anymore."

How could I have known that in 3 mere days, I wouldn't be sick anymore.  And I wouldn't have the baby either.

51 weeks a year I have forgiven myself for this.  But this week?  The last week of April, the last week of Cora's life.  This week, it hurts.  And I know no other way but to FEEL it.  This week I let the wracking sobs come until I can't breathe.

I know she'll be mine forever.  I know I will see her again one day.  Reminding me of that doesn't help it not hurt right now.  

This sucks.  I hate that anyone has to be here.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Patrick has been talking a lot about Cora lately.  I'm not sure why, but I remember Erin doing the same thing at about the same age.  Maybe as their understanding of death matures, their need to connect does too.  Anyway, he's been "reminding" me that she's still a part of our family a lot.

In the car today, on the way to the store, Allison and Patrick got into an argument. She counted 6 people in our family and Patrick kept insisting that she was wrong, and there were 7.  And he kept getting upset about it.  So I had to explain that they are both right.  It is okay to just count the people in the car, because Cora died and isn't with us anymore, so every day there are just 6 of us.  But since Cora IS still part of our family, Patrick is right too, and she counts.  She is still his sister.

At the store I walked into the garden center looking for some iris bulbs and was surprised by more Cora Vincas.  I had actually forgotten about them, and was delighted.  And of course bought some.

Well, Patrick found out that they were called Cora and insisted on helping me plant them in the empty spot I found by my tree.

This is the second time in as many days that she's popped out at me.  Yesterday I found a garden fairy with red hair and purple wings.  Erin and Allison have been asking for a garden fairy for ages, but it was the first time one really felt like she belonged in my garden. (what little of a garden I have anyway)

It is nice to get her popping up like that.  Today is the anniversary of my first "last," the last pregnant picture I have with her, and April is always hard for me.  So to have her manifesting, especially this year (the big 10), is nice.