"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" -Clarence, It's a Wonderful Life
I've been struggling recently because there are so many versions of What Might Have Been. What if our second child had lived? Or what if it were our third that made it? Or number four? What if this last sweet child, the one I had so much hope for, was the one who survived?
Because the truth is, only one of them could be here.
In the absence of my four children, there are holes if
only in my heart. But they aren't four distinct holes, they overlap. If one
were filled, there would still be three other holes.
There is no scenario in which all four children might be here, in which each hole is completely filled.
Which child do I miss? Which scenario do I play out - the one with the seven month old or the three month old? Where I'm ten weeks pregnant or fourteen? Because it's too much, too emotionally exhausting to always think of all four. Which one do I wish had lived? Should I be grateful that the first three died because it is only by their death that those after them even exist (for they do still exist - even if they are not here with me, their souls are eternal)? If I wish that first baby had lived, does that mean I wish the others had never been conceived, that their souls never existed?
Why do I start down this rabbit hole? These questions don't have answers. And they don't have meaning. Because what happened happened. And no matter how I try to reframe the past and the future and answer these questions and lay out everything in my mind in a perfect logical shape, doing so has no power to do change the past or better the future.
There is no way to neatly create a potential reality in which I would have all five of my children on earth with me, no matter how much I wish that were a possibility. And even if I were able to, there is no value to it because knowing it might have been feasible doesn't make it so. What is just is and I need to find a way to just accept it. But I don't want to let go of the What Might Have Been because that's all I have of those tiny babies that once were.