Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While I think it is important to have a day set aside to remember and to spread awareness, I know that we all remember our babies every single day.
Over the last eight years, my heart has been divided into six tiny pieces.
I remember every time I see an ultrasound picture or a pregnant woman. I remember with every Christmas, New Year, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. I remember every time my nephews start a new year of school. I remember on any given day, when I realize how quiet the house is when I'm alone. And I remember every time my heart is broken when I hear about a friend going through this same pain.
It doesn't take much to remind me of the six babies that I've lost to early miscarriage. But the most solid, tangible reminder is the tree that grows in our backyard. We planted the small Bradford Pear in 2002, a few weeks after our first miscarriage.
The tree serves as a reminder in many ways. It reminds us of that first loss, right after we bought this house with the spacious back yard. Every few months we plant flowers around the base of the tree, in memory of that first baby and each of the ones that followed. We never planted any other trees there. This tree reminds us of each loss.
Each year when the seasons change, the leaves change color and eventually fall.
The tree stands completely bare for a few months, but every spring, without fail, there is new life. There are buds and tiny white flowers and bright green new leaves.
Above all, there is growth. When I look back at pictures, I'm always amazed by how much the tree has grown over the years. We don't always notice it because we see it every day, but little by little it has grown taller and stronger. We, too, have grown stronger little by little.
Last month, my husband spent an afternoon working on the flower bed. He removed the old bricks, measured and cut some wooden beams, and expanded the area, adding new soil and flowers. He had been sick all week and he came back inside exhausted and drenched with sweat, but I could tell by the look on his face that it was a labor of love.
Our tree reminds us of so many things: life, death, love, loss, grief, faith, hope, renewal, strength, growth, and God's provision. Each time we look at it, we remember.
Every day, we remember.