pausing to remember

When people have asked me the standard Back To School question, “How was your summer?” I’ve responded mostly with the only answer that seems sufficient. Good seems inadequate to describe it all, Crazy seems too flip – as there was a lot of depth to the all-over-the place times. Full. Full Is the word I’ve been using to talk about this summer. So much happened, at an alarmingly fast pace, and honestly – as much as I adore warm sunny days and jumping into cool water, I am looking forward to the grounding of autumn.

Autumn brings routine. Autumn brings an invitation to being hibernating. To snuggle and read. Autumn brings football. Which, I don’t particularly love the actual game of football – but I love the nostalgia, the family feel, the cozy pots of chili cooking on the stove – I suppose I do love football.

Autumn is also the season when I was first pregnant and first experienced the pang of loss. With all the comings and goings of summer, numerous changes in my life, and incredibly bright blue skies and hot sunny days, I was very far away from those collective memories of autumns past.

And then. I spent time the past few weeks collecting poems, listening to music, preparing to teach the yoga portion on the Return To Zero retreat for a group of women healing after pregnancy loss. We were instructed to handwrite our story – story of pregnancy and loss, and to be ready to share it with the group. I’ve written my story many times, in different formats, always something new coming into focus. This time, I wrote one specific phrase that popped out at me.

And that’s just it – the part people who haven’t gone through it don’t understand – I didn’t just miscarry. I lost a baby. 

It’s so simple really.  And I knew it then, as I know it now.  For some reason, while writing this time, the absolute fact of that stood out at me.

Additionally, we were all asked to bring a momento of the baby(ies) we lost, and I considered a few different options for mine. It didn’t take long to know. I would bring my lil duck along. For me, my little duck represented that truth about miscarriage. At this point, I didn’t want to share the photos of our tree planting ceremony, I didn’t want to bring flower petals I had collected – I wanted to bring the tiny stuffed animal that still lives in my nightstand.

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Tiny duck represents the truth about miscarriage. A dear friend of mine sent this duck as soon as I told her I was pregnant. Which was right away. She sent it in a package addressed to “The Littlest Keating” – which he was. A tiny stuffed animal, ready to greet the newest member of our family. When a mother reads the word “pregnant” or sees a + sign on a pregnancy test, she immediately jumps into the world of hopes and dreams. That baby becomes so much more than just a fetus.

Holding my tiny duck transported me right back to that fall, 6 years ago. Before I had any idea of what was to come. It hit me right in the gut. I didn’t feel sadness, really, but more a deep reverence for what that time was – a season of hope, then pain, then learning to live again. Holding this little guy grounded me again to the beauty that can come with all seasons of life.

The older I get, the more I’m learning that life: years, months, even days are comprised of seasons.  And the key to contentedness and peace is in recognizing the sacred of them all.

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