Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I didn't think the holidays were going to be hard for me. I was lucky that my anatomy scan was scheduled the day after Christmas in 2008, and I clearly remember sitting in the midst of the thick fog of uncertainty that followed saying, "at least this didn't ruin Christmas." And then last year, my arms filled with the soft, cuddly form of your brother at my breast, in a thick fog of a completely different, much happier variety, Christmas very well could have not happened at all.

This year is different. This year your brother is spellbound by the lights, bouncing to the music, and pulling the tree down with vigor. I spent the other night pulling things out of boxes that hadn't been seen since the Christmas just before you left us, and while your brother tangled himself in lights and shattered ornaments with his bare hands (despite our best efforts to find them all before he did), I saw your ultrasound picture in its frame on the piano, and I realized, again, that you will never get these moments. Or more that we will never get these moments with you.

I wanted to know you so badly. Maybe even more now, having spent a year with your brother. There is an ultrasound picture of each of you, still on the fridge. I can't bring myself to take them down. Today I stared at them for a long time and realized that your profiles were so similar. The only difference I could spot was that Orrin has your dad's brow line, and you, most likely, had mine. I want to know what you would have been like: what color your eyes would have turned, the sound of your giggle, if your hair would have started to curl. At the same time I know, in my heart of hearts, that you were never meant for this world. I felt it so strongly, from the very beginning. And still, it didn't (it doesn't) hurt any less.

Your presence in my life has become so quiet in the last year. And yet I feel you are closer lately. Maybe because we are fast approaching your birthday again. Maybe you know that I need to feel that you are okay out there. I'm okay here, somehow. I have become this not-so-new-mom with a big gaping spot in her heart that most people have a hard time understanding. I am a mom who gets frustrated, irritated, and exhausted sometimes, even though she has pictures of a lifeless baby in her bedroom to remind her of how lucky she is.

I am still here, living, almost two years after we said goodbye. There was a time when I couldn't have imagined this point; when two years felt like an eternity and even the smallest sliver of happiness seemed like an unattainable goal.

But here we are. Surviving. More than surviving, now.

There is still not a day that goes by that I don't think of you.


Hope's Mama said...

"I wanted to know you so badly. Maybe even more now, having spent a year with your brother."
Oh Aleina, I know, I just know
So much of this hit home with me.
Thinking of both your babies this Christmas.

Dana said...

This post is heartbreaking. It has only been 6 months since I lost Jacob, but I am often surprised that I am still alive. I'm still not even close to being happy, but I am better than I ever thought I would be again right after we lost him.

I haven't been in your shoes yet as I haven't had another baby (just 2 miscarriages since losing Jacob), but those pregnancies just made me miss him more, similar to you missing Layla more while watching Orrin.

I love that you feel Layla close to you. She is always with you.
Sweet, sweet Layla.