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The leaves change, falling into the wind, whipping around cars and whispering across sidewalks. I think about you. In the midst of my writing about life I think of you am compelled to write something different. Seven years ago and my belly should have been full with you, my back aching and my heart light, not broken and worried about if I would ever bear life.

The leaves change and I am reminded how quickly things change, how one moment can shake the whole of your being. A moment of pink stripes across a test. And then, a few weeks later, a streak of red. And then blood that flowed and life was gone and I never even had the chance to glimpse you, to know the sound of your heart beating or the small bean shape showing off your existence.

Leaves change and life changes. Next month you would have shared your younger sister’s birth month, who may not have been here should you have had survived. -But what mother can play what if games and imagine one and not the other, imagine it other than just the way it happened, without feeling aches of pain and loss for the one spared, had you been spared?-

Life unfurled like new buds in the spring, moving forward with slow healing and never forgetting. One never forgets their children or the very first time they knew a family would start. And four blooms later our house is full and our family has carried on.

The leaves fall. Beauty in death, of change that forges on, unstoppable. Your death was not beautiful in the moment but propelled your family into beauty, broke your momma free to accept healing processes and just let go when all her life she was bound up tight with her own selfish attempts of control. Your life was short, unmemorable to most but unforgettable to me. You left change in your wake.

As I was left to deal with the disappointment, the questions of why and how and if, I was callously told I was one in four and I would get over it. One in four just reminds me that I am not alone. And neither are you. There are so many like you, living longer and shorter in the womb, and women like me left with the aftermath. There are those who birthed children after and those who did not and grievously more that lost more after the first. But there is some solace in knowing that we are not the only ones surviving.

Time moves ahead and the seasons pass and my healing is as complete as it will get. Others are still on the journey but all of us remember. Leaves change. The wind grows colder. But our hearts do not. Our hearts that have loved you all, my heart that loved you, beats steady on. I take comfort in knowing God works all things to His good and His plan is not mine. And while I can’t answer the whys or hows or ifs I can trust in Him. Without you, without your loss, there would be no four others. Or at the very least they would be different, perhaps. I don’t really know. I just know I thank God for all five of you.

Leaves change. Time flies. And the memory of you lives on.