Grief is an odd thing, reminding me of shadows cast by the trees in our yard as the day progresses: the form changes constantly, but often returns to familiar patterns.
Since A and T's arrival, my grief over losing Alexis, Zoe, and Quinn hasn't gone away. In some ways, it's actually intensified. What has gone away is the fear and the heartbreak of the possibility of a life without living children. That worry and that grief, which were huge, are memories. Today I have so much joy from interacting with A and T. Watching them grow and discover their world is amazing.
At the same time, I feel my grief has grown, shifted back to something closer to how I felt shortly after my later losses. That's because I suddenly understand exactly what Alexis, Zoe, and Quinn missed. Seeing what my living children get to experience and knowing that their big sisters never got that opportunity makes me understand what they missed. Back then, I felt intense grief because I'd just lost a dream for their lives and mine. That intensity faded over time. Now it's more acute again, as I know, truly know, what I was losing, when I lost them.
I also struggle with the knowledge that Quinn was born at 21 weeks, 3 days and A and T were born at 31 weeks 4 days. Quinn was just under a pound, A and T were about three and a half. Ten weeks. Ten weeks and two pounds is all that separates healthy, happy children from crushing loss. Two pounds - that's less than almost anything you could buy at Costco. It's lighter than a pair of shoes. It's nothing, and yet it was literally everything. Ten weeks? While the 8 weeks of T's NICU stay were long in some ways, they went by in a flash. How could something so minuscule as 10 weeks and 2 pounds be so life altering? I want to find some sense in it, some meaning, but there isn't any. The sense is that three equally minuscule fiber bands around my cervix were also life altering, but in a positive way.