Abigail's due date was Monday, May 29th - Memorial Day 2006. I didn't realize until two days ago that dates and days of the week for 2017 match those of 2006. When I was working, I always had a calendar hanging in view of my computer screen. I knew when the first, fifteenth and last days of the month fell. I was hyper-aware of dates. Now, not so much. A small pocket calendar in my bag keeps track of appointments and there's a calendar posted on the door in the kitchen, but I only look at those when I know things are going on. There hasn't been a need to know dates these past two weeks. In fact, I kept thinking the holiday was on the 24th. I even commented to Rich on how Memorial Day was early this year.
Each year I struggle to let the month of May pass because at the end, I know I'll be assaulted with painful memories. I dig my heels into the ground and try to hold time still. This year was different. Maybe because I'm at home and not at work with dates staring at me. Maybe because I've been preoccupied with preparations for the girls' dance recital and renovations at the cottage. It didn't really hit me until Saturday when I saw the dates.
In the early morning hours of Saturday June 3, 2006 I went into labor at home. The contractions were messed up and not what I had been told to expect. They were close together - sometimes only a minute apart - but the pain was manageable. The baby had been quiet, leaving me with one final kick. The nightmare became reality when she was pulled from my body more than 24 hours later.
I once read through the notes in my medical file when I was pregnant with the triplets. At the conclusion of my appointment, my doctor had handed me a paper file and asked that I turn it in at the front desk as I was making my next appointment. It was quite hectic in the office that day and the request wasn't unusual. I shouldn't have but I opened and flipped through the pages. I read what she looked like at birth. The doctor's observations. The search for clues. Notes, which at some point might assist in explaining her death. I read statements that haunt me.
Right now, I feel numb. Grief will do that to you. Most of the time, I feel numb and then something will wash over me and flood my heart. Eleven years later and we don't have a tradition that comforts us on these dates. But we remember. She is not forgotten.
It still, to this day, stings my soul when I see someone describe herself as a "mom to four girls." I, too, am a mother to four girls, but one of them will forever be a tiny baby who will never know how much she is missed.