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September

This will come as no surprise to you – I have a lot of emotional baggage tied to the month of September. It’s sad considering how much I love fall and the transition from summer into my favorite times of year. I caught myself thinking about it a lot in August – wondering how I was going to deal with all the pitfalls that were coming up. September holds anniversaries of some truly terrible events in my own life, and those around me. I wondered how I was going to cope with it all. I suppose it’s natural when these anniversaries come up, to think back on what you were doing on that day, to have emotions stirred and to get frozen in time. There have been several Septembers, over these past years, where I found myself mired in grief and the trauma I faced was relived over and over.
This year, September brought with it new anniversaries of days filled with tragedy and loss. It marks the one year anniversary of the sudden and unfathomable death of my friend and co-worker Terry. It marks the one year anniversary of finding out after years and years and years I was finally pregnant. It marks the one year anniversary that we lost that baby. The loss of Terry was so tightly coupled with my pregnancy…I remember so vividly how the events unfolded during that time. Conversations and faces are burned in my memory, in my heart. Losing that baby after losing Terry was nearly unbearable. It made no sense. My heart was so broken. But somehow, we moved on…and incredibly an entire year has come and gone.  
As September approached I thought for sure I would be overwhelmed with grief, remembering the devastating events of last year. I tried not to dread it – as we stepped into the month with trepidation.
On the one year anniversary of Terry’s death several of us here at work celebrated his memory by having lunch with his lovely wife. I thought it a very special way to remember him…with those of us who spent so much of our days with him. In a room full of people who loved Terry and worked closely with him for years there was laughter, a few wet eyes, and lots of stories to share. It was fun to remember him when it felt safe and happy. It felt good to say his name and laugh and remember. I thought it brave for his wife to want to surround herself with us on that day. It was an honor for us to have her here. I truly hope she felt the lasting impact Terry made on us…certainly he made an indelible impact on me.
The days associated with our pregnancy and loss weren’t as bad as I thought they may be. Naturally I caught myself aware of their coming, and passing…but I didn’t dwell. Perhaps it’s because our journey to parenthood isn’t over just yet, and we still have hope that soon we’ll get there, or perhaps it was God’s grace spilling over me once again. While I certainly have moments when I look back with pangs of grief – I don’t feel despair.
Most notable for this September, however, was the incredible realization that the eighth anniversary of Matt’s stroke came and went…and we completely forgot…for days. We both laughed when we realized, getting ready for bed a few days ago. What an amazing blessing it was to us.  I know there have been years when it almost passed without us being aware…but I’m not sure we ever completely forgot for several days. I guess it’s true – time healing wounds. While there is part of me that will always be traumatized by those events of September 2005, and while I never forget that my life was forever altered in September, my heart is no longer bound to its heartache.  For the first time I felt free of that anguish. 
I can only hope that the same healing comes for those events of last September.

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