I've been taking a break from this blog for a number of reasons.  I'm not saying I'm not writing anymore; I'm not promising more regular posts from here on out because both of those things seem cliche to me.  It's just that these days, I feel torn in a hundred different ways constantly, and when I do have a moment with my thoughts (which is not often), I honestly don't feel like I have anything new to say. Which might either mean writers' block, or depression, or maybe that I just don't have anything new to say.  Anyway, I refuse to force myself to post when I'm not feeling it and I also refuse to admit that this blog has run its course.  When I need it, it's there and that's good enough for me for now.  

Fall is my favorite season of the year, it's cool and beautiful and welcome respite from the heat of summer.  I didn't get to experience fall much because during so much of my childhood I lived in a desert.  I always longed for the leaves changing colors and all the other things that come with it.  When I was in second grade, my teacher held a drawing contest each month and I drew an old timey red school house with a bell tower and trees around it full of leaves of all different colors which were falling to the ground in mounds.  I was contest winner for the month of October.  We'd just moved from Colorado, where you see such things, to Arizona where you don't, and many of my peers couldn't wrap their heads around my picture but instead thought it was some sort of fantasy drawing.  They simply didn't have a frame of reference for such things.  It wasn't very many years there before I was just like them.  It's one of the reasons I don't really have a desire to live in a desert again. Seasons are just too amazing.

But Fall also happens to contain maybe the worst of the year for me as well and I often don't really realize it or know why until it blindsides me that there's an anniversary that I dread both remembering (and dread not remembering).  September comes and school starts and holidays get closer together and we hit the whirlwind of all our family's birthdays in a four-month period and work gets really busy for me..... and I just begin bouncing down that road of milestones until the end of the year, with no recourse but to simply submit to gravity and let everything shake out where it happens to land - I just have some vague hope that I'll be able to stand without broken bones when it's all over.  

There's a new network television show this season and I happened to catch the pilot a couple of weeks back.  It's lovely and excellently done so far and I'm a fan. Not the least of the reasons is this scene toward the end of the pilot where a young couple is expecting triplets and one of the three babies dies during delivery.  I didn't know this was coming; hadn't heard anything about this show before watching it and I don't really even know how it ended up on my DVR.  But there it was.  I sat in my basement in the dark at five in the morning - because that's the only time I can watch television and not be interrupted - and this scene happened and I dissolved into great, blubbering tears, shaken with the raw honesty and relevance for me of this scene.
Doctor: "Rebecca's vitals are good.  She's going to be asleep for a little while but she's doing fine. We're monitoring her closely. We lost the third baby, Jack. I'm very sorry. The second baby is a girl - very strong.  The third baby was a little boy but the umbilical cord was cutting off his oxygen and he was stillborn.  Nothing anybody could have done."

Jack: "I'm sorry. I'm not processing anything. My wife...?"

Doctor: "Is fine. And she'll be awake pretty soon. You have two beautiful healthy children, Jack - a boy and a girl... but we did lose the third child. "

Jack: "I need to be with my wife."

Doctor: "You will be. She needs to sleep now but... just... sit down. But soon. Just sit down. Sit. ... Okay if I keep you company a second?"

Jack: "Yeah."

Doctor: "Okay if I try and say something meaningful?"

Jack: "Yeah."

Doctor: "I lost my wife last year to cancer. That's the reason I still work so much at my age... just...  trying to pass the time.  We were married 53 years.  5 children. 11 grandkids. But we lost our very first child during the delivery. That's the reason I went into this field, truth be told. I have spent five decades delivering babies - more babies than I can count... but there is not a single day that goes by that I don't think of the child I lost. And I'm an old man now. I like to think that because of the child that I lost, because of the path that he sent me on, that I have saved countless other babies. I like to think that maybe one day you'll be an old man like me talking a younger man's ear off, explaining to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then you will still be taking 3 babies home from this hospital... just... maybe not the way you planned. I don't know if that was meaningful or senile but I thought it oughta be said. Your wife will still be asleep for a little while. Go see your babies... they're excited to meet their Father. I think maybe they got a good one."
- Milo Ventimiglia and Gerald McRaney, This Is Us

It's been sixteen years.   

I hope I can say that there's been something resembling lemonade to come from this sour lemon for me.  I have two other beautiful girls who are amazing in so many ways, I can't list them all here. I have a perspective and an appreciation for the sanctity and preciousness of life that only comes from understanding loss in a very personal way.  I have been able to counsel others through some of their dark times with an empathy that I wouldn't have gained through any other experience. Somehow, her father and I have managed to use this to grow closer rather than farther apart, which is so often the case.  There are a myriad of wonderful things in my life now because she came to us and changed us before she left.  I wouldn't change any of that if I could, I don't think.

But I'd be tempted.