On February 24, 2012, I lost everything.
Or, at least, that’s what it felt like as I miscarried the twin pregnancy my husband and I had for so long waited. In the five years we’ve been trying to conceive, it’s been our only pregnancy.
In the days and weeks after, I lived a simple fork-to-mouth existence, engaging in the normal comings and goings, but not really engaging with anything at all. Washing dishes, going to work, talking on the phone to my mother… These were all backdrops to what felt like my new life, a life spent mentally calculating the days since our loss and in pondering the many to come that would never include our twins.
It was at this time that I took up my on-again, off-again hobby of making jewelry. Wrapping stones and hammering metal were an unexpected relief for me. Keeping my hands so busy kept my mind at bay.
My jewelry studio was my solitary refuge that first year after, and I spent nearly every spare moment there well into each night. There were times that I simply sat, poised at my bench, hammer in hand, and my eyes swimming with tears as I watched twilight turn to pitch.
So many of the events and experiences of that first year after our loss are just … gone. It’s as though my brain was so full of anguish that it couldn’t hold on to the memories. I do remember my husband putting plates of food in front of me, and the necessities of life, like milk, bread, and toilet paper, showing up without me ever having left my studio.
In the second year after, my husband coaxed me from my self-imposed exile. We had a marriage to reassemble, and so we did.
Now, in the third year, I am in a place of acceptance. There is still pain, but I expect it now. I no longer tap my toe waiting for the day I will feel like the old me again. She’s gone. I am new.
A chasm has cut its way through my heart permanently. But, from this vantage, I reluctantly see its beauty.
From a nightmare, I’ve opened my eyes to a waking dream. My grieved hands built a thriving business that I now have the unexpected pleasure to run full-time. And, the marriage that was decimated by loss is now stronger and more joyful than it ever was before.
This is beautiful, but it fills me with so many conflicting emotions.
There’s guilt that my life went on without my twins.
There’s anger that it had to be them… and us… and me.
There’s gratefulness, surprise, and wonder that my lost twins created such precious gifts in a life they never got to be a part of.
And, there’s love, a mother’s love, that I carry in my heart even though my arms remain empty.
The struggle now is to reconcile this incredible life I have with the loss that made it so. And, to forgive myself for moving on, because I must.