But while cuddling and feeding my sweet boy, something felt different. It felt like more than exhaustion tugging at my heart. When Shepherd fell asleep on my shoulder, instead of putting him down like usual to get a few things accomplished I just kept holding him. When the hauntingly beautiful song "Hallelujah" came on Sunday Morning, the involuntary tears felt like more than nursing hormones. And then it hit me....three years ago today was the beginning of the end of our third pregnancy. It was the day I got my third abysmal initial blood test result.
I recently received a text from a dear friend. While she has a beautiful daughter, the text was about her other little one--the one she never met. It was the anniversary of the due date of her first pregnancy, and no matter how much joy her little girl brings every day, that specific day brought its own brand of sadness. A mommy's heart never forgets. While I'm sure that dads feel and remember each lost child in their own ways, it's different for moms. The babies we didn't get to meet live with us always. Even when we aren't seeking to remember, we cannot forget their short but important lives. They were part of us, part of our bodies, for days or weeks or months, and their memories and milestones are imprinted on our souls.
Any parent can attest that our living children aren't always easy. While they bring us so much joy, they also bring their fair share of hard days and impossible moments. The children we lose are in many ways the same, just reversed a bit. Most of my memories of them are difficult, bringing pain and unanswerable questions. But somehow they also manage to sometimes bring a sense of joy and peace. This morning, as I remembered the implications of this day, I felt the same longings I always do. But as I stared into Shepherd's sleeping face, I also found light. Remembering the third child I lost reminded me of just how amazing it is that I can cuddle my third living child. Out of the darkness of loss I was brought to the fullness of family. Hallelujah, my friends. Hallelujah.
"It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah." -Leonard Cohen