Imagine with me for a moment that things had worked out as I thought they would…
April 13, 2016 would have been a big day. The day we welcomed our sweet babe into the world. New life in the spring, pink and perfect.
But I mourned last April instead.
Imagine again, another year in that perfect world…
April 13, 2017 would have been another big one – a first birthday. Chubby cheeks and bouncy blonde curls. A big, open mouthed smile and frosting everywhere. Sugar and sprinkles and tiny little fingers.
No sprinkles, though. No frosting. No fingers, no smile.
Another April gone by, same as the last.
Two roads diverged in the wood that day, the day there was no heartbeat. And I didn’t get to choose which one I took. It was chosen for me.
I did choose to walk, though. Forward, always forward.
It’s natural to look back. To sometimes get caught up in the waves of grief that come unexpectedly. Is it natural, also, to imagine the same distance along the other road? To wonder what it would have looked like had I been able to turn right instead of left at the fork? I don’t know. But I do imagine it, I wonder. Sometimes. Not always. But especially on April 13th. Another year gone by, an imagined point on that other road.
There is no baby. There is no first birthday. There is no other me. Only this grief, a depression that seems to set in this time of year. The flowers bloom, the sun sticks around longer and longer, and yet I struggle to get out of bed. A little harder, just for a while.
Then the imaginary party fades. And I keep walking forward, always diverging from the road I couldn’t take.