All month long, I’ve had the feeling I’m forgetting something.
I’ve checked my calendar over and over. Birthday cards have been sent. Gifts have been given. Anniversaries have been acknowledged. Appointments have been made and kept. The items on my ever-evolving to-do list have been written boldly in permanent marker – unable to be erased or forgotten.
And yet, the nagging feeling that I’m missing something important has lingered.
It wasn’t until a few days ago, when I stood before a nearly bare tree, its leaves almost all gone, that I finally remembered what had been missed.
A due date. For a baby who vanished shortly after being conceived. And I immediately felt guilty for forgetting.
I remember calculating my due date at the beginning of that pregnancy, comforted by the prospect of an autumn baby. I imagined my arms cradling a warm newborn on cool fall days. The light of clear, fresh eyes that looked into mine would replace the fading sunshine of late afternoon.
But less than two weeks later, the anticipation of warmth and light had disappeared. My baby was gone.
That was over five years ago. And when months later, falling leaves left empty branches, the season seemed fitting as I considered my empty womb and empty arms.
It was a lonely year. Life seemed harsh. And as I watched those around me add children to their family, I felt especially empty. Pregnancy loss is devastating and I wasn’t sure I would heal. I wasn’t sure what the future held, if anything at all.
But in the years since, it’s become clear that emptiness makes room for something else. Feeling empty is a sure sign that something more is coming. Even though it’s difficult to understand that at the time.
I feel guilty for sometimes forgetting some of the dark places from the past. But forgetting, or at least not being consumed by it is a sure sign of healing. I haven’t forgotten about that pregnancy, that baby. I know the due date. I remember the tears, the heartache of leaving the hospital knowing my pregnancy wasn’t going to end with a baby. But it no longer consumes me.
That experience completely gutted me, but time has allowed for other things to fill my life. The life of that baby hasn’t been replaced, but in some twisted way, that loss made space for more.
Because now, while the days still often leave me feeling empty and exhausted, my arms are full. And I’ve realized that the darkness of my past might just be a light for someone else.