The Grieving Season

Life has certainly been busy and tiring—both in the best possible ways.

I could hash out a detailed explanation as to why it’s been so long since I’ve written, but doing so would feel both unnecessary and self-indulgent. Anyone who has been charged with the full-time care of an infant knows too well how much time and energy it requires. As has been the case for countless mothers (and a growing number of fathers) before me, the past few months have meshed into an endless cycle of cooking, cleaning, and care work, with the occasional blip of “me time” thrown into the mix.

In short, I am the mother of a living child, and it is both glorious and exhausting.

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Enjoying a sunny afternoon on the porch with Callum and Kiwi

Right now, however, Callum has been napping for longer than his usual thirty minute stretch, the dishes are done, my fridge is stocked with meals for the week, and I am content to let last week’s debris collect on the floor for another day. And, perhaps more importantly, Facebook generously reminded me this morning that it has been two years since my baby showers for Leah (although I opted not to share the suggested photo memory on my timeline).

Once again, it seems that the anniversary of these celebrations officially marks the beginning of my grieving season. To be sure, grief remains my constant companion each and every day, but my daughter’s absence seems to be felt most poignantly when the spring sunshine (finally!) warms the grey winter skies, and I find myself immersed in painfully vivid memories of the blissful anticipation I felt this time two years ago:

Gathering with friends and family for two baby showers on Mother’s Day weekend.

Walking to the grocery store on muggy evenings to satisfy my incessant cravings for watermelon.

Assembling a bassinet and sorting through heaps of baby clothes while a gentle breeze creeps in through my bedroom window.

Strolling through the park every morning in an effort to jump start my labour, all the while imagining what it will be like to bring my baby girl along and show her the ducks swimming in the creek.

Feeling ever-stronger kicks against my swollen belly as I lay on my side at night, smiling with the hope that, maybe tomorrow, I will finally get to hold her.

God, it hurts.

Every time I walk through the girls’ section of a children’s clothing store and wonder which floral dresses and sunhats I would be buying for my two-year-old daughter this year, it hurts.

Every time I cross paths with a girl of toddler age—whether she has dark hair or blonde hair; whether she is contentedly holding her mama’s hand or crying out in defiance—it hurts.

Every time Callum’s face lights up with contagious, toothy laughter, and I see flashes of his sister’s unlived life in his eyes and his smile, it hurts. 

And this Sunday, when I wake in the morning and imagine what Mother’s Day would look like if both my children were here in my arms, I will again wonder how it’s possible that life can feel so full and yet so empty at the same time.

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Once again, all I can do is allow myself to feel every ounce of love, pain, and longing that this grieving season brings. I just wish that things were different.

I wish she was here.