November is more than half over.
I expected to be sifting through my sister's maternity clothes this week, finding the perfect 8-months-along Thanksgiving outfit. I expected to be giddy with excitement at the Thanksgiving table, because I could stuff myself and justify that I was indeed eating for two. I expected to be painting a nursery blue and decorating with a sweet but masculine bedding set, all while trying to stay awake because I've been up all night trying to keep Addie and Emma in their own beds, in their shared room.
But none of this has happened.
Instead, I'm still paying hospital bills from August 31st. Each time a new bill comes, it's like someone is tearing off the scab of hurt. We've paid A LOT of money so far for our son... our son who we knew for such a short time. It seems so unfair. I wouldn't mind paying a million dollars if he had gotten to come home with us that day. I can't say we're paying for nothing because that would just imply that his life was nothing to us, and it wasn't. It was everything to us.
I went shopping this week and saw some cute Christmas outfits for the girls. I just couldn't stop myself from looking at the teeny tiny baby boy Christmas outfits though - the very ones I was going to have on hand, in case Joshua had decided to arrive a week early. It's hard for me to think about Christmas sometimes, knowing that a few months ago I didn't know where we'd be celebrating Christmas. Would it be at my parents' house... or the hospital room? I remember telling Gary more than once that I wanted a Christmas tree in that hospital room, and I think he thought I was crazy. I know that now he'd make sure there were THREE in there if it were up to him.
The last few days have been so hard. Grief is funny. It comes and goes with no warning. I never seem to have a lot of warning before it hits me, and then I feel myself get hot with emotion and there's no turning back. There's rarely a minute that Joshua isn't on my mind, but thankfully, the waves of grief seem to come less frequently. Instead I just feel like I have a veil of sadness over me everyday. I can fake it pretty well for most people, but the truth is, my heart is still broken. Sometimes I wonder if I'm struggling with post partum depression, which my doctor said I was more prone to after losing Joshua. It's hard to distinguish whether it's that or just the normal grieving process.
Someone told me recently that the way they moved on was to get pregnant again. I'm not sure. I can see how another pregnancy will bring joy, but the other feelings that will accompany it make me anxious. I never worried about my babies during either of the pregnancies with the girls. This next time might be different. I also worry about feeling like I'm dishonoring Joshua or forgetting about him should I get pregnant again. They're strange feelings that I can't explain and that don't even make much sense to me. But that said, I'm very eager to have another baby. Another baby won't replace Joshua, but I know our family isn't complete. I can't wait to cuddle another tiny baby, for Addie to be a big sister, and to watch our family dreams unfold. I miss Joshua, but I can't help but think about the rest of the plans God has for our family. Life didn't stop when Joshua died. It often feels like it should have, but it didn't. Sometimes when I'm out running errands and I see people going about their daily business, I feel frantic inside, wondering how they can't know that Joshua died. It makes no sense, I know.
Today I was going through an old check book and found check duplicates I wrote this summer, when life seemed so normal. I just stared at the checks for a second, and thought to myself, "You had no idea." I flipped a few checks forward and found checks written after August 31st. The handwriting was the same and yet it's a different person that wrote those checks.
I sort of can't wait for the day that this sadness isn't a part of everything I do and everything I think. But I don't want to forget what happened, because it's part of my life, and because God's taught me so much through it. I just wish things had happened the way we expected them to when we saw those two purple lines. None of this is what I expected.