It has been 2 years since he died (My Secret Pregnancy…). Leo’s death was so different from Ezra’s. We were able to make memories with Ezra. He met our extended family and friends. I nursed him, Ethan changed his diapers, Daisy read to him. Ezra was here. Leo disappeared before he arrived. One day I could feel him, active and strong. The next day… stillness. I carry so much self blame around Leo’s death. I knew something was wrong. I called my midwife and she came over. We heard his heart beat, strong and steady. But, I didn’t push to go in for an ultrasound. Regret is such a dangerous trap. I go round and round in my head. And even though I rationally know it will do me no good to go down this road, I can’t help myself. There is no way I can ever know if going in to see the doctor sooner would have saved Leo. And because of that, I carry his death differently. Have you ever regretted something so deeply that you know no matter what your spouse says, what your therapist says, what the doctors say- the regret is stuck? Regret like this can ruin a person. But I’ve done enough therapy to know that to some degree, I hold onto this regret intentionally because it means I have some element of control. If I had gone in, maybe they could have saved him. Not believing that means that everything is out of control and a healthy full term 36 week baby boy can just disappear. Without any answers as to why. Ethan and I couldn’t prevent or “fix” so much of what has happened to us. We didn’t know we were carriers of SMA before we got pregnant with Ezra (though now carrier screening is readily available: Until he was 4 months old, we didn’t even know that we had passed this awful disease on to him. And then we couldn’t stop the disease from killing him. We certainly couldn’t have anticipated or prepared for my heart attack (My Broken Heart…). So, I grasp for control where I can find it. If I couldn’t protect Ezra and Leo, what makes me think I can keep Daisy and Ruby safe?

I know I will grieve my children’s deaths forever. Yes, the grief changes shape, but it never goes away. I remember being very worried about this when Ezra first died. How could I ever feel joy again? The sadness and emptiness in my heart seemed to override any happiness. But I have seen that I can hold both. Thank goodness- because there is a lot in life to feel joy over. As I’m writing this, Ruby is waking up from her nap and Daisy is upstairs cracking her up. The two of them love each other so much. Just listening to them laugh fills me up. Life is so complicated and beautiful and painful and sweet all at the same time. And yes, we did go on to adopt Ruby after losing Leo. But, please don’t entertain the thought that Leo’s death happened for a reason (Everything happens for a reason…). We are thankful every single day for these two vivacious, hilarious little girls. We are able to hold that love and appreciation  with the sadness over losing our boys. We can do this without justification or explanation.

This is a very challenging week for us- so many difficult anniversaries. Of course, anyone who has experienced a profound loss knows the grief feels the same in August as it does in February. But there is something about the return of the day the trauma happened. It leaves an imprint on our subconscious and I find that my heart remembers before my head does. I’m quick to tears, or I feel irritable. Then I check the calendar and it all makes sense. So many people that I love have reached out- they get it. They might even feel it too, in their own hearts. But we will get through this season of loss-buoyed by the love we feel from our community, and each other.