When I attended therapy after Genevieve died, my therapist told me that the goal was to reach a point where I was grateful for my second daughter. My therapist was crazy. At least, I thought she was at the time. I thought she meant that I had to be grateful for everything that had happened. All I wanted was to rewind and save my daughter. Or given the impossibility of that, to erase the entire year. Also impossible.
Now it is her second birthday that is not her second birthday. It’s still hard for me to separate her death from her as a person, but I think this past year has helped. I have had the chance to write about her and use her story to support other families. And I spend less time wishing I could change the past and more time loving and missing her. She’s not physically here, but she’s always with me. I am grateful for what Genevieve taught me about the immensity of love.
What I’m less certain about is the future. I felt pretty firmly rooted until July 15, 2011. I made goals and reached them. When I didn’t, I either let go of the idea or set a new goal. Genevieve’s death was the first event in my life that couldn’t be fixed or written around. There is no getting over a missing child and no replacing a missing child.
Of course, when I was in the hospital, my first thought was that I had to have another baby. Immediately! Or many babies. Even better! So I made a new plan to have another baby as soon as my doctor said it was safe. If someone had told me that two years after losing Genevieve, I would still be waiting to bring home a baby, I don’t think I would have left the hospital.
Now that we’re finally on that road, I can’t imagine what comes next. How will life feel in December?
I’m grateful to Genevieve for this new baby. As Greg said to me a few days ago, it’s highly unlikely we would have endured all of the tests and fertility treatments had we never had Genevieve. We probably would have shrugged our shoulders and lived with what we had. It would have been an easier life but one lived by a woman I no longer know. All three of my children have shaped me, and I hope that all three of them will shape the world in some small way, too.