Today is a day of mixed emotions.
A little girl’s birthday.
And a due date that did not result in a birth date.
If I could go back to this date three years ago, I would cry all the tears I wanted to cry without feeling bad about it. I would wipe my tears and give myself a hug. I would give myself permission to grieve without guilt. And I would forgive myself for not celebrating my daughter’s 4th birthday like it should have been celebrated; for being lost in sorrow instead of finding joy in the celebration.
I would look at my husband and appreciate him simply for being a good father, to all of his children. And I would acknowledge that I wasn’t the only one missing a child. I would tell him that his children are loved through both mourning and celebration.
I would tell myself that in three years, joy would most certainly return to life in big ways. I would say that it would actually return much sooner than expected, although the hours and days spent waiting for joy’s return would be painstakingly long.
I would tell myself to find beauty in the short life of a baby who wasn’t given the chance to experience it outside of the womb. But I would let myself know that it was okay to be blind to that beauty in the midst of grief.
And I would say that while my grief just might last forever, it would not consume me forever. I wouldn’t have believed this three years ago, but I believe it now.
I will always celebrate this day. Happily. Joyfully. Gratefully. For I am aware of how incredibly blessed I am to call this girl mine. Face to face. Every single day. She is here. Her life is now. And that deserves a celebration.
I will always celebrate my husband, for loving all of his children, though in different capacities. I will not forget that his fatherhood is wounded, just like my motherhood is. And I will offer up gratitude for God having chosen this man to be my children’s father.
And I will always reflect on the “what-ifs” that follow me through life; the questions that will always arise on this day. What if Micah had lived? What if we were celebrating two birthdays instead of one? What if three children wore frosting on their faces instead of two? What if pain wasn’t mixed in with the pleasures of the day?
So, while I will never forget the sorrow, I will also never stop celebrating.
Loss is hard, but life can still be good.
Celebrating is good, but it can still be hard.
And thankfully, God is good by seeing me through the hard.