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Lost Day

Last Wednesday was a day that I think of in my head as my Lost Day.  It’s the anniversary of my first miscarriage, or, more accurately, it’s the anniversary on the Hebrew calendar.  I have no clue what the day was on the English calendar, but it was the 13th of Adar.  There was such an otherness to it that it’s sort of fitting that I remember it on its Hebrew date — a calendar I rarely if ever use — instead of the more familiar English one.

It’s not that other losses after this one weren’t important, but for whatever reason, I have chosen over the years only to mark this one, so that day becomes infused with all the emotions I feel about infertility and loss in general.  I am efficient; why ruin five days when you can emotionally bomb a single day?  Which isn’t really true at all.  There are always triggers, and they come when I least expect them.  I pass five round pregnant bellies without blinking, but the sixth one startles me.  A photograph, baby clothes discarded in the wrong section at Target, an Enfamil coupon handed to me by the cashier.  It usually comes out of nowhere.  For no clear reason; at least, not one that I can easily understand.

The 13th of Adar is also the Fast of Esther, and I usually fast though I didn’t this year.  I’ve been trying to fix my relationship to food for the last two months, and I thought it healthier to forgo the fast.  I went running instead, which is a time when I get a lot of thinking done.  Fasting is traditionally used to bring people to a space of reflection, shutting out the rest of the world, so I wrote it off as a fair trade.

And then I went through the rest of my day.

I worked in the morning and I read the very divided comments on the second blog post.  We rode scooters after school.  I heated up leftovers of green rice.  We went to shul at night for the megillah reading, part of the Purim service.  I cried in the car and Josh rubbed my hand.  And that is how it fits in my life now.  A long time ago, this day would have stretched out over a whole year.  Every day was Lost Day.  I was so lost, so devastated, so confused.  And now, the emotions have shrunk to fit a smaller space and life has forced me to squeeze my emotions into the nooks of my day.

But it is a strange feeling to go about the day-to-day tasks, holding conversations, turning in work, all the while feeling a bit shriveled inside as if there was a smaller Melissa inside the larger Melissa.  I talked with a friend about hamantaschen, and as he was talking, I suddenly wanted to blurt out, “I’m thinking about dead babies.”  He was talking about Israeli hamantaschen, and I was thinking about blood and failed cycles and curling up on the bathroom floor.

And then I’m back.  And then I’m gone.  And then I’m back.  And then I’m gone.


The next night, because I always feel like Erev Purim is ruined for me since it falls on the 13th of Adar, we went Israeli dancing with some friends.  Sometimes I danced with the twins, sometimes I held back with my friends and we watched the kids trying to master cherkessias.  At one point, the ChickieNob grabbed me for her partner in a row dance that I remembered doing when I was her age.  Two people skip down the aisle and back up, leading their line in a J-shape until the partners meet and hold up their hands so the rest of the line can snake underneath.  And then it continues again and again.

When we reached the front of the line, the ChickieNob slipped her hands in mine and pulled me down the aisle in a wild side sashay.  And then we parted, running with our respective lines until we met each other again, feigning surprise to end up in the same place, and she fit her palm against mine so we could raise our arms in the air and create a human canopy for people to pass underneath.  That was my closure, my bookend, the switch I needed to flip in order to say goodbye to Lost Day for another year.  The ChickieNob’s tiny hand pressed against mine.

All the difference.


1 Finding My New Normal { 03.11.12 at 7:25 am }

I hate how these memories can jump out from their hiding places and smack us in the face at any time. I’m currently pregnant again after a full term stillbirth and have had many lost days lately. I’ve been trying to keep ahead of them and find the triggers before they sneak up on me, but that doesn’t always work.

So happy to hear that in addition to grief triggers, you’ve also got happiness triggers. That ChickieNob sounds like she must be really fun to dance with. : )

2 Delenn { 03.11.12 at 8:25 am }

Beautiful post. I think that is how grief and loss works–as time goes on, it is not totally gone from our lives, it integrates into it. [[Hugs]]

3 Lora { 03.11.12 at 9:25 am }

This is beautiful Mel. I love this part… “A long time ago, this day would have stretched out over a whole year. Every day was Lost Day. I was so lost, so devastated, so confused. And now, the emotions have shrunk to fit a smaller space and life has forced me to squeeze my emotions into the nooks of my day.”

Thank you for letting us see this part of the healing process.

4 Mali { 03.11.12 at 9:30 am }

This was lovely. Lost Day. Says it all really. I have a couple of years I think of as Lost Years too – when every day would have been Lost Day. But the real reason I love this is because it tells people who are at the moment curled up weeping on the bathroom floor that one day they’ll feel better, one day they’ll only need a day to grieve, and one day that day will end well too. And as someone who didn’t go on to have a tiny hand placed in mine at the end of a dance, I’m going to tell them that no matter what, one day Lost Day will end well, with love, and with a smile.

5 Manapan { 03.11.12 at 10:21 am }

Sometimes I sit here and shake my head in awe at the way you can find just the right words to express things. “Lost Day.” “All the difference.” Perfect.

6 Lora { 03.11.12 at 10:58 am }

Forgot to mention this when I first commented… we watched “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” last weekend. Great movie by the way but the little boy referred to the day his father died as “The Worst Day” through the whole movie. I remember sitting in the movie theater remembering our “worst day”.

7 HereWeGoAJen { 03.11.12 at 11:00 am }


Thinking of you.

8 Emily { 03.11.12 at 11:27 am }

Lost day. So simple yet means so much.

9 slowmamma { 03.11.12 at 11:27 am }

This is beautiful. I have one (maybe two) lost day(s) as well. Strangely, I think that I am thankful to have it -thankful that the lost years seem to be behind me and yet also thankful that I haven’t forgotten entirely.

10 Esperanza { 03.11.12 at 11:59 am }

I’m so sorry for your losses and the fact that they will always be with you. And I’m so glad for your blessings and the difference they make.

11 Jo { 03.11.12 at 12:10 pm }

With this post, you have exemplified why I can continue to read some parenting after IF blogs and not others. The juxtaposition of infertility and loss with the joy of motherhood is never far from your writing. You don’t exclude one or the other — and your writing is organic, natural, showing all different places on the spectrum.

All a very long-winded way of saying I love this post, and I love the image of the bookends, with ChickieNob’s hand in yours. I grieve with you for the loss of your little one while at the same time rejoice in the life you have built today.

Much love,

12 Dora { 03.11.12 at 12:13 pm }

I’ve been thinking of you all week. Sorry this was part of your difficult week as well. Much love.

13 loribeth { 03.11.12 at 1:39 pm }

I guess last Wednesday was a Lost Day for you in more ways than one :p — no wonder it was such a hard week for you. 🙁 I second Jo’s comment; loved the images of you grieving your lost babies & then being able to dance off hand in hand with ChickieNob. (((hugs)))

14 birds and squirrels { 03.11.12 at 2:59 pm }

Oh Mel, the end of this post brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your losses. The image of the ChickieNob’s hand pressed against yours, the conversation with your friend where you were thinking about dead babies… I totally get it. I am so sorry that your Lost day was made more difficult by the current drama. Hugs.

15 nh { 03.11.12 at 3:17 pm }

I love it – and hate it…’Lost Day’. I have one of those too.
I’m glad that you have an ending to the day that reminds you that there is an end.

16 Cristy { 03.11.12 at 4:19 pm }

Thank you for this post, Mel. I can only image how difficult it was to write.

It’s hard for me to image a future where I’m not living with my loss and IF every single day. But I hope one day when I am finally able to resolve that I can also find a way to remember the baby I lost in a way that is as beautiful as yours.

17 Daryl { 03.11.12 at 4:37 pm }

This is beautiful. And a much-needed reminder that the lost days don’t have to last forever.

18 Rebecca { 03.11.12 at 4:42 pm }

Thank you for this. This was beautiful.

19 marwil { 03.11.12 at 5:57 pm }

Thank you for writing this. I need to read that the lost days are well, lost days in the end, not lost weeks and months on end each coming year. But I’m sorry it still hurts you.

20 Eve { 03.11.12 at 6:01 pm }

“And then I’m back. And then I’m gone. And then I’m back. And then I’m gone.”

Yes, for me this is still true…not always, but often. Your words are beautiful. We, here, have Will Day…and it helps to fill this day with all the compost from the other days: moments we remembered him, moments we didn’t, moments we cried, moments we laughed, moments we let ourselves be who we are now, moments we cling to who we lost. Special Loss Days are good: they begin and they end, unlike true grief which always flows like an underground river in us. I hope this week finds you peace.

21 Michaela { 03.11.12 at 6:09 pm }

I can’t not thank you enough for this post. It let’s me know that someday my lost days won’t last forever!

22 Eggsinarow { 03.11.12 at 6:13 pm }

Amazing post, as usual. Xo

23 Tiara { 03.11.12 at 6:26 pm }

I’m sorry for your losses

24 a { 03.11.12 at 7:12 pm }

I don’t know why, but the date of my first loss is the one that sticks with me. I’ve (more or less) blocked the rest out.

It’s wonderful that dancing with Chickienob was the closure to your Lost day.

25 sar { 03.11.12 at 9:58 pm }

THank you for this post. I was diagnosed w/ a missed miscarriage on Thursday afternoon. I’ve cried in the middle of the night and just appreciate your words. Again, thanks.

26 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 03.11.12 at 10:15 pm }

The date that sticks with me is the unfulfilled due date of my first miscarriage, which was also my grandfather’s birthday. But my mother died last year the day after a non-Jewish holiday, so now the holiday has sort of become Erev Mother’s Death Day for me.

Hugs to you as this tremendously difficult week closes.

27 Alexicographer { 03.11.12 at 10:25 pm }

This is, indeed, beautiful. I don’t have a lost day per se (my family-building struggles pretty much confined themselves to not conceiving or at least, not implanting) but I do, as someone above commented, have several lost years. Actually looking back on them, and I do, I sort of can’t believe it was (just) several lost years and not at least a lost decade; it often feels far more like the latter even in (considerable) retrospect.

I’m glad you and Chickienob came together. Beautiful.

28 Justine { 03.11.12 at 11:42 pm }

Beautiful. I love the way you write about being here, and gone, and back, and gone again … you’ve described how it feels too me, exactly, on my own “lost day.” I’m so sorry for the hurt, and so grateful for the blessings … both yours, and mine.

29 Kristin { 03.12.12 at 12:42 am }

You have such a gift with word my friend.

30 Chickenpig { 03.12.12 at 9:20 am }

You’ve perfectly described how I’ve felt since December 23. Here and then not here. And whenever I’m at my darkest point, it is always a little hand that brings me back. It has made all the difference in the world.

31 gwinne { 03.12.12 at 11:28 am }

Poignant. I also mark only the first of my losses consciously, though sometimes I find myself sad on one of the other anniversaries and eventually remember why. Thank you for writing/sharing this.

32 Kami { 03.12.12 at 2:18 pm }

Interesting. I don’t often visit the blog world anymore. Now that I am parenting, I find the time short. But at least as important is I find that the grief is too strong. I ache for those still in the trenches, I get my own grief triggered by other’s failures and successes.

Just a few nights ago, I was thinking about you (while I wondered if I should continue to host my IRL support group because of the triggers) and decided you must not have gone through so much to be able to continue to live in this world. I live in it once or twice a month and it can be so heartbreaking.

Then I get an email from Pamela’s blog about the dust up and I delve into the world again for a moment only to find the answer to my musings was here in this post. You do ache and relive and grieve . . . perhaps it wasn’t the same path, I could perhaps still argue it was easier than mine (who doesn’t think their own pain is the worse of the two), but in the end it isn’t because it is easier for you. You are just a different person.

So, once again, I thank you for being the center of the IF universe, for keeping it running, for being so instrumental in creating it in the first place.

33 Elizabeth { 03.13.12 at 12:16 pm }

There’s always so much more going on behind the screen than what we can see. I’m so sorry that you have this pain in your life, so thankful you can hold ChickieNob’s hand as you dance. But not forgetting the constant shadows dancing behind you.

34 Natalie { 03.13.12 at 2:50 pm }

Lovely post. Thinking of you and those reminders that spring out of nowhere.

35 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.13.12 at 3:11 pm }

From the depths of loss…to the wild sashay of the ChickieNob.

I can see your two hands leading each other.

36 Port of Indecision { 03.14.12 at 7:09 am }

The dates surrounding my first loss are the only ones I ever think about too. They’ve kind of absorbed the grief of all 5 losses and come to represent them all. On one hand it was logistics – 5 dates is too much to keep track of and too depressing. But on the other hand I guess there’s just nothing like that first time. It sticks out more for its newness, the freshness of those feelings and that realization that yep, it could happen to me.

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