It is just another Sunday evening, sweet Flicker. A Sunday evening experienced on this block and around this world in a myriad of ways; some in peace, many in chaos, but a shared experience nonetheless. In our home, Sunday evenings usually trigger the arranging of checklists, tallying of to-do’s, accounting of workweek anxieties, mapping of post-work plans, reviewing of scheduled doctors appointments, and preparing of food that will sustain us until the mid-week farm share pick up and grocery store run. Usually.
But on this Sunday evening, sweet Flicker, I am struggling to grasp the usual. Meals prepared by the loving hands of our family and friends fill our refrigerator. Doctors have removed our names from their respective calendars. My workplace has granted me leave to heal. Social plans have been postponed to give your dad and I space to grieve. You are not coming in October. You are not here with me now. Everything feels so highly unusual.
In the homes on this block and around this world life marches forward on this any given Sunday evening, some of it in peace, much of it in chaos. But in this march I do not know the cadence of my steps just yet. I have not found my footing in this world with you not in it.
The rhythm of a family of two is one of familiarity to your dad and I, learned, refined and perfected throughout our six years of marriage. In this span we have celebrated alongside the majority of our siblings and friends as they have added to their familial numbers – three, four, five, six – witnessing firsthand how such tiny bodies perpetuate such exponentially large change. Change in sleep and spontaneity and priority and routine and love and budget and media and …
We were ready for you, sweet Flicker, and all of the wonderful disruption you were going to cause; growing pains welcomed with hands wide open as we graduated from two to three. Reconciliation is now difficult: while we are cruelly not a family of three, your dad and I are no longer a family of two. Rather, the two of us are living in this awkward half-place of having a third who is not here. The routine of my kid-free life seems so inappropriate. Unfulfilling. Selfish. However, absent the tangible duties of motherhood the adjustments I have witnessed so many others make are unnecessary. So what is this new rhythm, sweet Flicker? Where do my feet belong? When does the ground settle?
Amidst so many questions, these things I know to be true:
It is still early days.
I am not the only one adjusting to this half-place of life after infant loss. Scores have done it before I came, and scores will continue to do it long after I am gone. I hate that this is a truth.
I will find my footing.
Your father will, too.
I will never understand why we have been asked to march to this mournful rhythm. A part of me will always resent it. But thanks be to God it will become ours.