2016 is nearly over, and it feels as if it has just begun. Weren’t we ringing in the New Year at midnight on January 1, 2016 not that long ago?
On that day, we were sitting with our backs against the headboard of our bed in a hotel just twenty minutes outside of Philadelphia. Our faces were swollen and splotchy from several days worth of unending tears. We watched the ball drop in Times Square on the television, feeling so removed from the jubilant celebration we were witnessing. We wondered how anyone could possibly be smiling at a time like this.
But they didn’t have a clue. Heck, all of our friends, and even many family members still had no idea what we were facing.
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1…
There was a pause and silence between Brian and I for a split second before we realized we should give each other the obligatory New Year’s kiss.
Then we both looked down at my pregnant belly, “Happy New Year, Aria!” We whispered in unison.
A stinging sensation flooded my body.
Oh, it hurt. I wanted so badly to give Aria more joy, but I had nothing left. We were so heartbroken from learning a few days prior that our fight, her fight, was almost over. Not because she was getting better, but because she was getting worse.
This sweet, precious, innocent girl was dying before her life even had a chance to begin. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.
In a completely unexpected turn of events, she was born the day after New Years, and she only stayed for an hour. It was not an easy start to the year.
It’s strange, I thought for sure I would be grateful to be rid of this awful, wretched year – the year that took my sweet baby girl. But I’m sad to see it go, because 2017 changes a lot of things.
You see, it made me feel close to Aria whenever I would say, “We have a daughter, but she passed away at the beginning of this year.” The last time I held her was still less than twelve months away, so she didn’t seem so far. Saying the words, “She passed away in January of last year” just sounds so long ago.
The only solace in this is that I know firsthand that time does not end love, and it does not change the fact that I am her mother, and that my husband is her father.
2017 will not be the year she learns to run on a playground, but it is the year she continues to be my beautiful firstborn child. And so will the next year, and the year after, and so on for all of eternity.
Although I still think tears will fall the first time I have to say she passed away last year.
To every grieving parent who may be reading these words; I know this time of the year is incredibly hard, and I want to commend you on having the strength to survive it. I wish you all the best in the coming year, and hope it is much better than the last. Happy New Year.