It's been two years since Charlotte should have been born. She would be two. Wow.
I was in Richmond today. It was an hour and a half drive. I listened to Christmas music the whole way (thanks to my wonderful husband finally putting music on my phone and my awesome bluetooth stereo in my car), but I had a lot of time to think.
It's funny, really. The first year, her due date was ridiculously hard. It was symbolic. It should have been her birthday. It was representative of everything that should have been and so very clearly wasn't. But it's been two years. It's not her birthday anymore. Her birthday is in July. The fifth of December only has meaning in that it helps me mark time. I'll be honest: I actually had forgotten the exact date until I saw my timehop this morning which had a few images I posted on facebook two years ago.
I don't know how to feel about that. A paranoid piece of me worries that it means I'm forgetting her. I know that's not true. I know that I think about her every day. I know that I listen for the wind chimes all the time. They're blowing right now, as a matter of fact, and I can hear them as I sit in the office.
I know it's just that the day she was born, the day Mike and I got to spend with her, is her celebration, and so that is the day we remember her. We choose to celebrate her life, not mourn what should have been. This is why the 22nd of July is so important and the 5th of December has faded a bit. The 5th of December is really kind of arbitrary, as she was actually born four months before that. The date was just the symbol of the life that never was. A part of me feels guilty for that, though. A part of me WANTS to still mourn and moan and cry and be tortured. I mean, I do still cry. For everything and nothing, just as it was two years ago. But it's different. I can't explain it. I feel compelled to try, obviously, but I don't seem to have the words.
In the months after her death, I was angry. I'm still angry in a lot of ways, but it's not as it was. I was mired in this pit of self-doubt and fear and anger. If anyone had cared to notice, I was pretty severely depressed. I'm not sure too many people noticed...and I'm not going to dwell on that thought too much, because nothing good will come of it.
Now, today...I'm still sad. I still mourn for my daughter. But I work on celebrating her as much as I can. It's absolutely beautiful to hear Mia talking about her Angel Sister. She is starting to understand a little, and that really warms my heart. Ethan will grow into it as well. Mike and I said from the outset that we wanted it to be a normal part of their lives. It's not scary or dark. It's not a secret. Charlotte is their sister. She's just an angel. We are lucky enough to have an angel sister to watch out for us and protect us. That part has won out over the should haves.
I'm starting to feel like maybe I've earned some of those comments people made two years ago about how strong I am...I didn't feel strong then. I felt weak and powerless and hopeless in a lot of ways. I got through, with the majority of my dignity and sanity intact, and now I'm actually managing to follow through on what I said I would do, really believing what I told myself I had to believe. It took me over two years, but I'm starting to truly be grateful instead of bitter.
I'm still sad. I'm still bitter. I still want things to be different in so many ways. Two years later, I'm finally not drowning in those feelings. Two years later, I can breathe a bit. Two years later, while the shore might not be in sight, I have hope that this part of my life, my family's life, will actually be the positive more than the negative.
I still miss her every day. I miss her today.