September always seems to be a hard month. It starts out brutal on the 3rd, the day that we found out that Nelle’s heart had stopped beating. Her birthday on the fourth. Replaying those early days over and over, each year passing and remembering those early days of grief. Then reaching Theo’s birthday and feeling the contradiction of celebrating another year of his life, while missing hers.
All month feels like a slow procession from one series of memories to the next.
This year, the fourth September without Nelle, felt particularly trying.
I was summoning my strength to get through the days, only to be beaten down by a barrage of outside news. Constant reminders that women who share their stories are ignored, accused, dismissed, or vilified. Stress about not being heard in my own life.
For the first time, I felt like I had to hide the tree of life tattoo on my foot. I was in a situation where I felt like having a tattoo was going to invite judgment and distraction that I did not need. And still – it hurt to hide it. Another way that my story was silenced.
Every day for the past week reaching the (increasingly early) time when the sun sets and the sky is black and thinking “Finally. This day is over.” Tomorrow is another one.
And today is another one. The first day of October, a month dedicated to raising awareness about pregnancy and infant loss awareness. A month in which I watch all of the brave parents I know share pictures and stories, speak the names of their babies aloud, and draw attention to the children that are often forgotten by the outside world. If the bi-weekly support meetings give us a chance to speak our truth to the people who understand, October is our rallying cry – demanding that we be seen.
And autumn is settling in. After weeks of unpredictable weather and uncharacteristic rises in temperature, there are unmistakable signs of fall. Maybe not every day yet, but glimpses. Ger and I went on a walk last week and a huge, orange leave lay on the sidewalk along our route. I exclaimed that it was the “first one!” – until he pointed out the sprinkling of orange leaves everywhere. Well. First one that I had noticed. Fall changes things for me. While the outside air grows chill, I draw into the comfort of warm beverages and warmer clothing. School brings routine and the season leads gently into the increased activity of the holidays. I see the changing leaves and colors as a sign of something new, rather than the imminent arrival of winter.
And I hear the words of Green Day echoing in my head: “Wake me up when September ends.” It’s over. October is here.