It has been 16 months since Jacob was born, so we have been through all of the "firsts" - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day. But there is always another one lurking around the corner that I hadn't thought of.
We went to my sister Laurie's house for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I was doing ok, no tears or trying to fight back the tears, but there was some numbness.
When we all sat down to eat, Ben was in his booster chair and Danny was being passed around the table and another "first" was taking place. Our first family dinner with a baby to be passed around and played with and admired since we lost our babies. And he was adorable. Smiling and awkwardly lunging for arms to suck on, items to put in his mouth. Ted and I started holding hands and seeing what else we have missed. Jacob would have been almost 1. There would have been 2 babies being passed around, or another baby in a high chair, or we would have had him on our lap.
Jacob would have been a little bit older than Danny last Easter, so now I see what we missed at our Easter dinner. August would have been a little bit older than Danny now, Cub would have been a month younger.
I don't know if anyone else thought about the missing people at that table. I like to think that they did. I do think that they did.
On Saturday I went to the Farmer's Market with Laurie, Mom and the kids. We stopped at Zeller's for a snack in the restaurant. While we were sitting there, I looked across the restaurant and remembered. When I was 4.5 months pregnant with Jacob, we decided to put an offer in on the house we have now. We were waiting for our agent to go and get the paperwork ready, so we went to Zeller's for lunch. I looked at the place we sat and tears filled my eyes. I think Mom and Laurie both noticed, but they didn't say anything. I had to fight to get them to go away, but they did.
The Perinatal Bereavement Services of Ontario (PBSO) had a dove release on October 2, last Sunday. I liked it a lot more than I did the butterfly release that we went to on June 13, 2010, but that was only 12 days after Jacob was born and it was too soon.
Ted has been having a very hard time lately. Very, very sad. He didn't want to go to the dove release because it would make him feel worse. My Dad and 2 of my sisters, Lindsay and Jessie, all came. It was in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, which is a huge, huge cemetery. It was pouring rain and it was cold. I had my winter coat, hat, gloves and boots on and the butterfly umbrella that my Mom gave me.
We signed in and waited near a building since it was pouring. I looked around and I could pick out the Mother's. They all had a certain look. I started guessing when they lost their baby - in the past 6 months, the past year, or more. I told Lindsay and Jessie that I was doing this and they asked me what I thought about various people.
We started to walk to the Children's Garden, which took about 10 minutes. Many people were sombre, others were talking. Last year I would have been one of the sombre people, this year I was one of the talkers. It was still raining and my feet were soaking wet, but I sort of liked that it was raining.
When we got to the tent where the ceremony was taking place, it had stopped raining. We wandered around a little, looking at the garden. Then the ceremony started. One family went up and read a poem and then we were invited to go up and say who we were there in memory of. I was about the 5th person to go up. Everyone was going up with their husbands. It didn't even occur to me that I didn't want to go up alone. When there was a pause and no one went up, I went. As I turned around at the podium, Jessie was beside me. I had no idea that she was following me. I'm so glad she did and realized than that I hadn't wanted to go up alone. I said that I was there in memory of my son Jacob who was stillborn on June 1, 2010 and the 4 babies I've lost through miscarriage, August, Cub and the Twins. Then we went back to our place. I thanked Jessie for coming up with me and she said that she didn't think that I should have to do it alone. It also made me happy that the other people would see that I wasn't the only one there for my babies.
As the other families went up, I saw the ones that I was guessing on the timeline for and I was right every time.
The actual dove release was nice. The woman who brought the doves read a poem and then she opened the 2 white boxes with the birds inside. About 40 heads popped up at once and looked around. It was so cute and many people laughed a little. Then they all flew away.
When it was done, I went to talk to a Mom who lost her son on August 13, 2011. We talked for awhile and I gave her my contact information (and I spoke to her on Friday night). Monica and Nigel were there and it was nice to see them again. I learned more about Pearl and Ryan and the baby they lost through miscarriage.
I thought that my Dad and sisters had started walking back to go inside a building to get warm while I was talking to people, but they were just a few feet away talking to the woman who brought the doves. The doves are homing birds and will fly back to their house in Scarborough. Not only will they fly back to their house, they fly back to their cubby hole at the house. We learned some more about the birds, then Lindsay and Jessie pointed out a dove in a tree nearby. The woman said that they do all kinds of events - birthdays, weddings and events like these. At these types of memorial services, there is always one dove that hangs around until the last person has left. It gave me chills.