Tomorrow should be Genevieve’s third birthday.
This was the year that I finally accepted her death. It’s not that I actively mourned her for two years, but there was this molten fork in the road of my life, a wavering, uncertain thing. Nothing of major importance had happened to me since her death, and I still dreamed that time would rewind and put me on that other path.
With Henry’s birth, that fork in the road set. We probably wouldn’t have had another baby had Genevieve lived, and even if we had, the timing might have been different. Henry in no way replaces his sister, but he keeps me rooted — happily — in the present.
The knowledge that his birth provided also healed a lot of the anger I carried. I had always felt that Genevieve’s life could have been saved with better medical care. In my pregnancy with Henry, I found the best, most watchful doctors that I could, and still they spent more than an hour debating whether to deliver him early — even with warning signs. He was only delivered early because of Genevieve. The sister who isn’t here saved his life, on the 15th of the month. Fifteen is the worst number. Fifteen is the best number.
I still imagine her there in the middle, consider where she would have been sitting during our family photos. A woman complimented us on our well-behaved children at a restaurant recently. I thought about how the crazy one wasn’t here. Genevieve kicked me far more than the other two did.
I thought I could cheat the grief this year. Last night I started looking at her photos, and that baby bed, that empty baby bed that sat next to my hospital bed for three days. Henry’s birth is fresh in my mind, and the juxtaposition between the bed with the squawking, mewing infant and the empty bed is too much. It is a leaden anchor at my waist.
I am happy nearly every day, without her. I will have a few days with tears for her, such a small thing to give.
Having her here would be best. Second-best is having her dad, sister, and brother to abide with me.