This week, on the way home from school, we noticed empty conker shells along the road and my heart physically hurt. I felt like I couldn't take any joy in the beautiful colours around us and the excitement of autumn activities. For the first time in memory I felt like staying indoors and ignoring autumn as it creeps towards us. And then I spent some time reflecting this afternoon....
Emilie's birthday is now less than a week away. I'm trying to call it her birthday as the word 'anniversary' seems so formal. She was born - she had a birth-day and we have decided that we'd like to celebrate. We are going away as a family for the week and I have bought ingredients to make a yummy cake. Sam has asked to make a card. And why shouldn't we celebrate? We had so many hopes and dreams for her and even though we don't get to see her achieve them she was still our daughter - she still brought joy into our lives - and we don't want the day to go by without remembering that.
Because of Emilie we have learnt what is important and spend more time together as a family. We have learnt who our friends are and have developed and built on some amazing friendships over the past year. We have learnt a lot about ourselves and have realised that our marriage, and each other as individuals, are a lot stronger than we could have imagined. Most of all, though, I think that we have learnt to appreciate what we have and in all honesty that's possibly only happened fully since the last miscarriage. I thought that miscarrying so close to Emilie's anniversary would finish us off but instead we've come back fighting, stronger than ever and ready to move on with our lives.
So, back to autumn. I think that this time of year is always going to evoke painful memories but I don't think there is a more beautiful time of year to remember our daughter. There is a temptation to see autumn as a time of hopelessness with only a long, cold winter to look forward to and I think that's where I was earlier this week. But I stumbled across this quote this afternoon: "IN AUTUMN'S vibrant colors there are reminders of summer's fullness of life , of winter's impending bleakness, and of the prospect of spring not far beyond. Autumn compels us to think about life's transience and continuity all in one..." (Allen M. Young, Small Creatures and Ordinary Places). Since Emilie's death, one of the things I've found the hardest is how quickly life seems to go by, how we seem to have been in a constant state of pain and how other people's lives have whizzed by around us. This is always going to be a difficult thing for us, I think, but I have realised that we can't stay in this place of grief and waiting forever. Life continues and so do we need to. Maybe our time to solely mourn has passed (although we will always desperately miss Emilie and nothing will replace her) and now we are entering a new season and a new time with new challenges and new rewards...
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
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