October 15th was International Baby Loss Awareness Day.
It was also my 16th anniversary.
First let me send heart felt, though belated, warmth to all parents who know the pain of losing a baby. or two. or three.....or......well...you get the picture. There are a lot of tears. Let me thank you for walking with me as my tears have fallen...and continue to fall. That is what tears do after all. They fall.
My husband and I went away for the weekend. After 16 years, it was the first...the VERY first....time we had ever left our children alone so that we could enjoy each other, uninterrupted, for more than a few hours.
At first, I was worried. How could they survive without me for so long? I know for certain that every breath I take is because of my love for my children and my husband. I don't say that in a dependent needy way....it's simple truth. They are as much a part of me as my skin...as my heart. Without them...I can not breathe.
O.k....so, that IS an exaggeration. However, it FEELS true. I do know that if the worse came and I lost my family...my entire sweet family...I would continue to breathe, my heart would continue to relentlessly beat, and no matter how many tears I would cry....they would, one day, fall less. and less. Until there would be days wherein I would remember that I forgot to cry.
I know this because there was a time when I believed my heart was broken...physically broken...and yet, all the fancy equipment at the doctors office indicated that not only was my heart NOT broken...it was as healthy as they come. My grief did not kill me then...which tells me that grief can't kill me. It hurts like hell. But...live on? Yeah....that's a given.
But, I digress....I worried about my kiddos. They, however, were anything BUT worried. They were thrilled to think that they could play video games to their hearts content. (which made me worry more...) I knew they would be o.k.. I made sure their care givers were competent. More than competent. I even drilled the poor women about homeopathic medicine, and which ones to administer if ANYTHING should happen...which, it didn't. None the less....I wanted to leave feeling that they would be safe, happy...and...mostly...safe.
There is nothing like losing a child to point out the fragility of life...and so, before I left, I also wrote a will just in case I never saw my children again. Images of freak car accidents, drowning in the lake, or just...chance lead me to consider that, because my husband and I were both going a whole hour and a half away from our home without our kids, I should make sure they would be in the best of care should we not make it home.
Morbid, I know....but....I did it none the less. I knew I wanted my boys to stay together. I didn't want them doled out to separate relatives. All I could think about was how they always stick together in hard times, and I knew that if they were going to lose their parents...they would need each other more than ever.
So, I named my brother and sister in law as guardians in my meager will. I wrote to my children about how much I love them. I apologized for my shortcomings. I asked them to always support one another and to keep Ferdi close to them. I didn't tell anyone I wrote it...I just hid it in my jewelry box--just in case.
And then....I hugged them goodbye, smothered them with kisses, admired their laughter over my emotionality...got into the car with my man...and drove away. As we drove....my worry melted as I relaxed into the reality that the only thing I needed to think about was the warmth of my husbands hand holding mine.
In the three days that we were gone, I discovered perfection.
Not that life could be perfect without my children....but.....it was damn close.
Our cabin was beautiful. Romantic and charming in every way.
The food at the lodge was....delectable. There are no words to describe the delight my taste buds encountered. Every bite was eye popping!
The weather was pristine. Blue Montana skies, a crisp autumn chill under a golden sun and starlight nights.
The lake....oh my god....canoeing across that lake every day was magical. No worries about tipping as there were no children...or even doggies...to upset the boat as Ty and I worked in perfect unison to explore it's diamond brilliance for hours on end.
The hike up to the waterfall.....(may I insert a moan of pleasure here?) and then two beautiful Amber butterflies that seemed to follow us for days. Now, I am sure it wasn't the SAME two butterflies...but....it felt like it. It felt like Simon and Alexander were there. With us.
We enjoyed woods full of incredible mushrooms, golden leaves, and mossy areas where the luscious scarlet blanket borrowed from the lodge would lay perfectly while we ate our lunch.
I never tired of our laughter. I never tired of our conversations.
I marveled that we still had so much to tell each other about our insights, dreams, pondering's and reflections after 16 full years of love and endurance.
I was awed by the fact that we are more in love now than we have ever been.
I was amazed that not one single thing went wrong.
I was delighted that we got to make love any time we wanted to and that we wanted to do so 19 times in three days. Holy cow. Admittedly, some of those times, in fact, several of those times, were not indoors.
It was as if we were newly weds...without the shyness...without the worries or doubts...without the inexperience.
I looked at my balding, grizzled man and saw the youthful twinkle in his eyes and the joy in his smile and I fell in love exponentially in each passing moment. This was my life partner. I suddenly believed that things were looking up...that I would not die and leave my children with more grief. I suddenly understood that when my children are grown and on their own I will still get to hold the hand of this marvelous man who has the libido of a 16 year old boy and the heart of a sage.
I felt incredibly and undeniably lucky.
Life doles out pain. Tears can be abundant. Babies can die.
I will never forget the beauty of the scarlet blanket nested among aspen and birch, surrounded by the magic of mushrooms of all sizes, and the sound of birds...and the beauty of the amber butterflies that landed on my husband as we made love in the sunshine.