It's October, which means that it's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and today, the 15th, is loss awareness day. And wow, I sure wish I didn't know that.
My boy would be nearly four today, attending preschool, running around like a wild child, loving Bob the Builder, trucks, cars, macaroni and cheese. I don't expect he would be napping any longer, he would have declared his favorite flavor of ice cream, and would probably be in love with the Cars movie. I expect he would be at that really wonderful stage of adoring and needing his parents, still a bit cuddly, but on the cusp of pushing us away as he started to grow up and become a "big boy." And I know he would be driving his sister crazy.
I also know, that, had he lived, I wouldn't have a James. I have thought, over and over, that I could have had them both: Ben would have been 19 months old when James was born, so it's all physically possible. It would have been hard, but I could have done it. But that's not how the cards were played, and now, I can't imagine my life without James, and I can only dream about my life with Ben.
I'm not doing anything today to remember Ben - except what I wrote above. I do more on his anniversary, and I don't really know what else to do today. I think of him, like I do every other day, and I think of all the other babies who never came home, like mine. And I know how unbelievably lucky I am, that I had him at all, and that I have what I do, with my two children now. I recently met a woman who had a baby in 1963, her second, a boy. He was born severely deformed - and of course, this was before all of the testing they have now, so they didn't know anything was wrong with him until birth - and they took him away from her, and he died three days later. She never saw him, never had a footprint, a lock of hair, a shirt he wore. Nothing. The hospital had him cremated and buried, and she was encouraged to forget, to move on. Those were the dark ages of infant loss, and I am so grateful that I lost Ben in 2003, and that I got to hold him, and kiss him, and see the whole of him before I had to let him go.
And I am thinking today, of all the mothers and fathers who are aching for their babies; the ones who will lose their child today, the ones who lost their child decades ago. The ones who are waiting, hoping, for another chance, another child. If I had a magic wand I would be waving it like mad right now, to make it all better for all of us who've lost the most precious thing in the world.