Today is one of those days – a day that will be a reoccurring milestone every year which reminds me of a life gone by; of the struggles and the heartbreak I survived; of the tough decisions I made to completely alter my life’s path.
At times like this, it’s really easy to start thinking about the “what ifs” and the “if onlys.” What if I went through with it? What if that was my only chance at motherhood? If only I never said yes – I love you – I miss you, too. If only he loved me. If only I knew from the start. If only that wasn’t the only option. What if that wasn’t the only option?
Today should be a party.
Today, there should balloons, and a big number “1” piped onto the top of a cake. Little hands mushing into buttercream frosting; making a mess of the floor, their face, my hair. “Happy Birthday” cards lining the fireplace mantle. Giggles, wrapping paper, bows, candid photos. A celebration. A family.
But today is just another day. I woke up, tired from a long weekend of fun. I had a shower, got dressed, packed a lunch. I left for work, at exactly the same time I do every morning. I was sure to catch the entertainment news on Energy 99.7, to hear about the latest exploits of Lindsay Lohan and Selena Gomez before switching to CBC for more commentary on Gaza. This is my regular morning routine, because, of course, today is just another day.
But it isn’t.
Despite the sadness I feel inside, I will do my best to make today like any other, since for everyone else, it is just like every other. I am the one that remembers this date. I’m the one that saw it on that grey-tone, pixelated screen, my name, my due date, in the corner. Blurry head, arms, feet, heartbeat. I’m the one that will never forget. I’m the one that will live with this for the rest of my life. And from the moment my eyes opened today, I wanted to cry; to have a little melt-down for what today isn’t.
Today is not a birthday.
I feel anger, hurt, and shame, but have come a long way. And although the gravity of these emotions are my burden to bare, and there is little anyone can do to ease them or even to understand them, I am lucky for the support that I have in my life. I have people on my side, people that have helped me through a tragic chapter of my life. People that have made it possible for me to get to where I am: still a little broken, but standing strong on my feet once again.
Here is a message of encouragement I received this week, from an unexpected angel:
“I know that this week is going to be hard but I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing, beautiful, smart woman … and while a lot of people may have cracked, you are the awesome person you were before, more so for surviving and getting through all of it. That takes courage and guts.”
Life is hard. We are faced with challenges and decisions, heartbreaks and roadblocks. But we’re resilient, and we’re survivors. I am a survivor.