Ten years. An entire decade. Not that I thought I would ever forget, but the remembering still surprises me. It's April 26th, her would-be birthday, and every year for the past ten I remember.
I kept the small blanket I wanted to wrap her in, a pale yellow with a tiny print of animals on the edge. In my excitement of learning the news I had purchased it. It seemed a frivolous buy for someone so careful with their money. It lays silently now in a wooden chest that smells of cedar never knowing the warmth of its intended body.
That same chest holds my hospital bracelet, the sonogram picture, and a little angel shaped box lined with blue velvet. 'Mathia" is etched on the lid in flowing script. I suppose those are all representations of her death, but I keep them because I have nothing of her life. So brief, her life, like wisps of smoke that disappear into the air once the fire is gone.
I think of her, imagine her. I replay the day I was told she died. Ten years doesn't erase the remembering. The pain and the loneliness come out of hiding, hand in hand, and present themselves fresh to me. They are familiar friends who have walked this journey by my side. They aren't allowed to visit for long.
I like the remembering and the new tears I let myself cry. Her life was real. Her death was real. I place my fingers on the pulse of my loss and feel the pounding. It's still alive. I'm still alive.
I believe one day I will see her. I will hold her. That's when my arms will stop their aching.