I know people say that all the time, but now it applies in a way I never could have imagined.
It's our third anniversary today. On our first anniversary I was recovering from my first miscarriage and subsequent D&C, last year I was happily pregnant, but sick as a dog with a terrible chest cold, and today - well, today I'm neither sick nor pregnant.
I'm not totally sure what I am or, for that matter, who I am. Some days I'm so sick of me I could scream. I want to run away from this brooding, sorrowful pessimist and find the girl who once believed that if she prayed hard enough God would always answer her prayers. I used to be the girl who believed that dreams would come true just because they should. I miss her. She was an idiot, but I miss her anyway.
And I can remember last year, with that idiot of a girl, like it was yesterday. I thought, way back then, that celebrations of the future would be happy. It was inconceivable to me that they should be any other way - not with Thomas there celebrating each and every milestone right along with us. I had no idea that all future celebrations would be mixed with such extraordinary pain. I had no way of knowing what was to come and how completely it would change both me and My Beloved.
It feels like we've been married for 50 years. Our experiences have somehow accelerated this life we're living together in a way I can barely understand, let alone explain. Days are like seconds and weeks fly by so fast I can hardly keep track. Most parents never bury a child, but if they do it's usually much later in life. We packed a lifetime with our son into the 20 hours before he died. So now we're like old people, wandering aimlessly around in our sorrow while life whips past us at an alarming rate. The only difference is that we're not old and we don't have the gentle salve of memories to help soothe away some of the pain.
Instead we have each other. And sometimes when I'm lying in bed trying to sleep I'll look at My Beloved and whisper tearful thanks to God for at least giving me that. There's not much I feel thankful for these days, but I know God heard my endless prayers for someone to love and I know My Beloved was the answer to those pleas. So I owe him thanks for that at least.
But mostly I owe My Beloved for loving me so completely. For taking care of me, for sharing my burden of sorrow, for always being there, and for opening up when he needs me. He made me a Mother - he gave me my Thomas. What greater gift could I ever ask for?
It takes a great love to lose what we did and yet to still find each other in the midst of the pain. There is no greater sorrow than losing a child, but there's great joy in knowing that beneath the sorrow - and over it, under it and all through it - is a love stronger than I ever thought possible.
I couldn't have known it just a year ago. And that's the difference a year makes.
Happy Anniversary, my love.