I remember this time last April. We were pregnant and anxious about getting into the third and final trimester of pregnancy. I was thankful not be nauseous anymore and to finally be able to keep food down for the first time in months. It seemed like things were going to be ok. The trees had just started to bud. Daffodils and other spring ephemeral were blooming, and the weather was making its slow pace towards spring. When I went into the hospital on May 3rd, I had no idea that by the time I got home the trees would be green and I would be left with empty arms. And here we are again, it’s almost May and I can feel it coming.

Our grief counselor warned us about it. She said it would happen and that each year, it would get better. She even said that on holidays we would experience it to some degree but that it would not compare to the actual one year anniversary. She said we would relive the day, it would be like it was happening, all over again. That it was how we needed to process our grief, to move on to the next stage. We needed to replay “it” again if we were to find peace. “It” is the death of our first-born son and now we get to remember how happy we were when he was born, and how broken we were and still are, after he died. I can feel the time coming, like a countdown humming through my bones.

Sometimes I panic from the emotions, unsure of what to do with them all. Other times I go numb and auto-pilot kicks on, getting me through another day. I broke down and cried at our support group meeting, releasing a small drop of the pool of grief bubbling inside of me. It’s almost like it’s been welling up, waiting to spill out at the right time. And that time is almost here.

We have done a lot this past year, we’ve come a long way certainly. I know others may think I’m dramatic or weird for grieving as intensely as I have over our baby but it is what it is. A loss at any time, be it at 9 weeks gestation or 9 years of age, is still a tremendous loss. In both cases, you lose a part of you and a part of your future, you lose your hopes and dreams. I feel like this experience with Jack has made me into a different person. It was not someone I set out to be, but I think I was meant to be his mother and to be his voice after he couldn’t speak anymore. He was meant to be  hope in the lives of others, as the work we have done through Jack’s Day has been. While he himself did not put together those memory boxes, we wouldn’t have thought to have done it if not for him. And who knows if those families would have anything to remember their babies by, had Jack not inspired us?

So while I dread the approaching days and I dread having to re-live the sadness. I am thankful for our son. I am thankful for his life and for his love.