Because really, for most of that October, 12 years ago, everything was still possible. Plans were being made. Baby items were being bookmarked and put on wish lists, many of them in twos. The basement was being remodeled to accommodate another bedroom. We talked of buying a bigger car.
For 23 days of October, we still had every reason to dream and plan and organize and imagine.
But by the time October was over, everything had changed. And yet, in some ways, nothing had changed.
We were still a family of four. We still had plenty of bedrooms for everyone. We didn't need to think about upsizing our car. We were still us.
And yet something was missing. Something we never really had.
My favorite college professor (mentioned in the previous post) taught me something once that I have never forgotten. He didn't teach this in a class but rather wrote it to me in a letter when I was struggling with a personal loss. He said that almost all losses fall into one of two categories, they are either the experience of absence or the absence of experience. In a few instances, a loss can be some of both.
Our loss felt like both. We missed the babies we had. We wanted those babies, specifically. We gave them names. We held them. We missed their physical presence. But at the same time, we never really got to know what it would be like to have them in our home. Who they would have been as people and as personalities, we can only imagine.
We mourned the loss of our son and daughter, but we also mourned the loss of raising twins, learning their quirks and unique gifts, and being a family of six. We couldn't know what any of that would look like in reality, but it was a dream in which we had invested our hearts and souls.
We wept over the experience of their absence but we also felt bereft at the absence of experience we were suddenly left with.
I realize this all sounds like I am settling into my annual case of the October blues, but oddly enough, I'm not.
Actually, I'm kind of loving October right now.
There was a long time when October felt sad, really sad. And then it morphed into something less tangibly sad, but still emotionally heavy. And now, October feels like a gift.
It is the month I allow myself to slow down, to take stock. I'm a reflective, borderline moody person by nature but most of the time I try to stay in my happy place. In October, I put no such pressure on myself. If I want to sit and read and underline deep thoughts and write down quotes I want to remember and sip my tea...then by golly, I just will. If I want to listen to music that makes me a little weepy, then so be it. If I want to stay in yoga pants all day, then... oh, wait... that one is not really confined to October.
October is my month to love life. It is my month to love the whole story of my life, even the sad parts.
Maybe November is more traditionally thought of as a time to focus on gratitude, but for me October is the soil where my deep thankfulness takes root. Because there was a time when I thought I could never love October again.
And I do. So much.
Because it's when I remember.