I clung to a lot of milestones after losing Genevieve. When we picked up her urn from the funeral home, I would feel better, I thought. I did not. When we passed her official due date, I would feel better. Not so much. When we turned the calendar over to 2012, I would feel better. I did, at least a bit. When we passed her first birthday, I would feel better. I did, though not completely.
I thought that each of these steps would bring a monumental shift in my emotions, that I might eventually be cured of my sadness. With time, I learned that the passing of a day might bring small relief or fresh hope, but I would never be cured. Still, I really looked forward to the final step on the journey, the one that I had scrawled into my journal when I was still buried in grief: bring home a healthy baby.
I was euphoric after Henry’s birth, and I am still in awe that we got him out alive. As time passes though, I’m returning to a more normal level of happiness. I still miss Genevieve, and it’s more difficult now to figure out how to carry that sadness. Her death is bookended by two happy births. I almost feel guilty for missing her. Isn’t this the part where I’m supposed to be happy every day for the rest of my life? I don’t know why I care what other people think, but I worry that others will think that Henry’s birth somehow erases what came before.
I have a necklace with a charm for each of the kids, and when I was out shopping, a woman complimented me on it. “Wow, three kids,” she said. She sounded surprised that I had the time to get out and buy makeup. If only I were that busy.
I remember that after having Genevieve, I told Greg I wanted to have four babies, five babies, as many babies as I could have. Surely that would make me feel better. I know now that it wouldn’t. And I don’t want to be cured anyway. I will always wish that Genevieve were here, but I’m done wishing away the sadness. The missing is how I keep her with me.