Next week will mark the one year anniversary of the birth and death of my son and daughter. I have come so far from where I was last year. If someone were to offer me a billion dollars to go back to the first day after they were gone I would never accept. That was the most intense sadness and emptiness I have ever experienced and don't think I could survive it again. Now if I were able to go back to the day that they were born and be able to hold them in my arms again, even for one minute, I would do it all over again. I realize that may sound crazy, but I would give anything to be able to see their beautiful faces and hold their precious bodies in my arms. I would take pictures, tons of pictures. I would hold them, dress them, kiss them and snuggle them. Those short moments that I had with my babies were priceless.
Whenever I think of what it was like in the days and weeks after their death my heart hurts. I remember who I was at that time; a grieving mother. I remember the emotions I felt, the anger, the despair, the guilt, the desperate desire to go back in time and change it all. I remember bursting out weeping throughout the day. I cried and cried and cried. My eyes nearly swelled shut and my face was blotchy and red. I remember my empty soft stomach. I remember my breasts engorged with milk. I wanted to pump, but I knew that I couldn't handle seeing the milk that was supposed to be for my babies. I remember people coming and going with meals and messages of sympathy. I remember wanting to pray to God for comfort but feeling too angry. I remember feeling broken. I remember feeling like I wasn't even real.
Nearly one year later I am the same grieving mother. It may look different, it may feel different, but it is the same. I still cry sometimes when I remember that my twins aren't here with me. I wonder what they would be like. I got so little time with them, I feel like there was so much more to them that I will never know. My body has recovered and gone back to normal. I don't feel broken anymore, I feel changed. I realize that the world may no longer view me as a grieving parent. My story is no longer fresh. But it is fresh to me. The wound still stings and I still feel the pain. I know as time goes on I will continue to heal. But I also know that I will always grieve the loss of Penelope and James. I am forever changed by them and I will always grieve their death.
The days leading up to James and Penelope's 1st birthday have been challenging. I have been hit with emotions that I haven't had to face in months. Sadness, bitterness, jealousy, anger and guilt. I know the day will come and go like any other day. But I also know that the world is a better place because of them. I am different because of them and if their story touches or inspires just one person, their lives had meaning.