A new year has come along. I expected to be celebrating with my daughter. Instead, I’m mourning her. Life brings you so many twists and turns, you never can know what to expect. Here’s another Q&A from Glow in the Woods.

 

1. What have you left behind in the year just past? What do you hope to find in the year to come?

Left behind: my innocence. Also, my life as a bachelorette.

Ahead of me: everything. I still have a long way to go with life. I hope, in the coming year, that a healthy pregnancy awaits me. A loving year with Geordie. A chance to settle down and prepare for another child.

 

2. We’ve just come through the season in which our culture touts cheer and peace and family togetherness rather relentlessly. How did your child’s death impact your experience of the “holiday” season?

I’ve never had such a difficult holiday season, even including the two years I spent alone in Japan. I keep thinking of the way things should be, the way I want them to be. I want my daughter to be here, I want to have my whole family here. It has been wonderful to see my family and to be wrapped in their comfort and support, but I can’t forget that I am celebrating the holidays without my daughter. It was not supposed to be this way. I feel like I’m living another life, a life that isn’t really mine.

Being with family for the holidays has been a great experience, but at the same time, there’s a lonely feeling to it. No one feels Lauren’s loss as greatly as Geordie and I do. That’s not to say that they aren’t mourning her, but they aren’t missing a daughter the way we are. They aren’t missing a piece of their lives as large as the one missing from ours. Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel alone, even when we’re in the midst of people who love us.

 

3. If you celebrate in any way through December, are there ways you include or acknowledge your lost baby?

Lauren has been in my thoughts all month; she has never been more present in my life. Perhaps this is partly because the loss is still so fresh or because I am seeing much of my family for the first time in over two years. Every day has been a day punctuated by thoughts of her.

We put a few ornaments on the Christmas tree for her: one from my mother, one from my best friend, and one that Geordie and I picked out for her. After we had put our stockings up on the mantel, I couldn’t help but feel that we had left her out. I went back and bought another one for Lauren, and that put my mind at ease. On Christmas Day, I lit a candle for her, and it burned as we opened our presents. It was almost like she was there with us in spirit if not in form.

 

4. Through the year, are there any holidays, seasons, or parts of what were once cherished rituals that have changed for you because of your child’s death?

Between now and September, the holidays will be the first since Lauren died. I’m not sure what to expect with some of them.

Valentine’s Day may have a strange effect on me. It was that weekend that we found out I was pregnant. It was terrifying at the time, but it didn’t take long for me to love Lauren in a way I hadn’t known I was capable of. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be difficult, with new meaning that they never had before.

I can’t really predict what 2012’s holidays will bring or what changes we will make. As it is, we take everything day by day, never really knowing what to expect.

 

5. Will you do anything to remember your baby’s birth/death day?

Yes! I just don’t know what yet. We have a while to think about it. All I know is that I can’t let September 28 go by without doing something for my dear, special girl.

 

6. Is there anything about the winter season that lifts your spirits? Is there anything that especially brings them down?

I love the winter season. I make a lot of complaints about the cold, but even so, I love this time of year. I love that even in the darkness of the year, we can look forward to the returning light. Even in the darkest of nights, dawn will come again. Even in the depth of despair, hope lives on.

That said, I do dislike cold weather. It makes me sluggish and lethargic, and I get impatient waiting for life to return again. In Florida, that’s not such a problem, but in Japan, I felt the depth of winter much more keenly. I’ve found that I have a lot more trouble getting out of bed in winter.

 

7. During your hardest times, how have you found your way forward?

By writing. To me, the worst thing would be to forget Lauren. Writing keeps her close to me. And though I don’t write specifically to share Lauren with others, it’s nice to know that other people are interested in hearing her story. It’s another way of feeling that her memory is still alive.

I also hold tight to Geordie. He needs me as much as I need him, and by holding on to him, I am able to face each day as I need to. We hold on to each other, and it is in this way that we keep going forward. For each other.

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