"Is this your first surviving child?" she asked with a kind voice.
"Yes" I replied. Then sighed. It was a nice way to acknowledge both Miranda and Allie.
Today was the annual tree planting ceremony hosted by the hospital where we delivered Allie. The first year we went, I was numb and raw. I remember being loved and being part of a community of others who understood my pain, but not much else. The second year we went, we had lost Allie over a year ago and were still not any further along in having a living child. It was also Mother's Day weekend which made it extra hard for me. I was sad and frustrated and not in the best place. This year, Gary, Miranda and I all went together and although I felt like we climbed a mountain to get there, the fact of the matter is that we made it there.
As we pulled up, we saw that there were already a lot of families there. I said to Gary that it looked like a good turn out this year. He said that sadly, it did look that way. So many families that gather to celebrate the children they had but that they do not really have.
Everyone there is so kind. They all know the agony of losing a child. The smiles are genuine and their tears look familiar to me. It was nice to being able to talk to other people who unfortunately understand.
When it came time to plant the tree for this year, they passed out a program which contained several poems. This one, by an unknown author, resonated the most with me:
"We never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.
I'll always be your mother.
He'll always be your dad
You'll always be our child,
The child that we had."
In so many ways, Miranda is like an elixir that melts away my pain. But she does not make me forget the past nor do I want her to. Today I was able to talk about her sister to her and Gary wrote Allie a note from all 3 of us that we planted in the soil of the new tree. We are a family of 4 - even if to many, we look like a family of 3.
Overall, it was a lovely ceremony and a pleasant way to spend a few hours. I am healing - slowly but surely. Not forgetting. Not moving on. Not ignoring the past. I am remembering. I am loving. I am healing.