Lily Mae

Her name sounds like springtime, echoes the month in which she should have been born. Instead, I delivered her small, still body in winter, just days before the largest snow storm my living daughters have ever seen.

It's been nine days since we said goodbye, and this morning, we awoke to streets blanketed in white. This feels right, like for a few, fleeting moments, the world really is standing still while we grieve.

But the sun is out now, and the snow is already beginning to melt. Stores are reopening, and all too soon, CJ will return to work and there will be preschool and ballet class and church. Our lives will continue even though her's did not.

I'd been watching Call the Midwife throughout my pregnancy, and since those terrible moments in the ultrasound room, I've thought often of the episode where Jenny's fiancé died after a sudden, tragic fall. I've kept returning to the words of one of her patients, a Holocaust survivor, the words that pierced me even as I felt the child inside me flutter and kick. Keep living, she said,  until you feel alive again.

When Avaleen died three and a half years ago, I spent months convinced I could never be truly happy without her, that the deep sadness I felt would always be with me. This time, I know better.

But still, the days are long and the nights are sad, and the road ahead, while not unfamiliar, often feels unbearable.

People ask me how I am doing, and I don't know what to say. But perhaps I should say this: We are living, allowing God to carry us in this darkness, trusting that one day we will feel alive again.