This year has been the worst year of my life. I know I don't really need to explain why. When you lose your child, especially so close to birth, you lose your future as well. You lose every moment you should have had. Every step they should have taken. Every milestone they should have reached. You lose a lifetime of memories you should have been able to make. All that potential seems so pointlessly wasted. You think to yourself, "why bother living now?" When everything seems like it's nothing more than a shadow, it's easy to get lost in the darkness.
My future with Kenley was stolen. That is a fact - an unchangeable fact. I will always wonder what could have been. I will always watch her grow in my mind, comparing her to other children (and eventually teenagers and adults) I see. I will always wonder if her hair would have stayed black or have lightened over time like mine did. I will always wonder if she would have inherited her father's ability to dance - or my ability to fall down with grace. Would she have a developed goofy sense of humor? Would she have loved to climb trees, watch movies, and play house? Who would she have been?
That not knowing is an ache that never goes away. Nothing will ever change it. Nothing will ever make it better. It will always be a rock in my heart, rolling around in the vast cavern of what will never be.
But, Kenley left me with more than uncertainty and fear. She left me with more than sorrow and desperation and pain. She left me with love. When something breaks and then is pieced back together, it's never quite the same again. It's looser. Wider. Gaping. Stretched out. As I have spent these last few months sewing my heart back into its shape, I have noticed it's much bigger than before. There's more room inside. Like an old patchwork satchel, saggy and worn. And while that means more room for fear and anxiety to creep in, there's also more room for joy. More room for hope. More room for love. I have broken but I am not broken.
I have nestled my baby girl inside my heart with tender care. She will always live within me. My heart beats with her name. Kenley. Kenley. Kenley. Kenley. But it also beats with another name. A name to yet be made. The name of a baby yet to be born. It's still a hard concept to wrap my brain around, but there IS room inside my heart for more than just my little ninja. There is room enough for a brother or sister still to come. The brother or sister who WILL come. In April.