We are in the midst of the gap months—January, February, March, and April—the months untouched by Henry's life. Although he was born at the tail end of May (he was supposed to be a June baby like me), May is a month very much a Henry month to me. But March? Henry was never here. He never visited a sugar shack with us. I never pointed out the snowdrops peeking out by the back door.
This time last year I ticked off the things that we did for the first time without Henry. The first Christmas without him, the first New Years, first Valentine's day, first muddy days that smelled of spring . . . all things we had never experienced with him and yet his absence was as strong as if we had had him with us for years. May is a month of waiting to mark his arrival and then a long string of memories that lead into the short dark days of December. But right now is that gap of time where I had a big belly and movement and "the baby" inside, but he was not yet Henry to me.
This time two years ago I was expectant, oh so excited. The baby was coming in just a couple of months. I envisioned spring walks and the baby sleeping under the pear tree by my kitchen garden. I was doing yoga and swimming and feeling fabulous.
This time last year, I was grieving. March was a particularly hard month for me. It felt like I had been sad for so long and yet I knew it was nothing compared to what lay ahead. Life was moving on around me, the weather was bleak, and each day was such a struggle.
And now? Still grieving, still letting go bit by bit, still holding on to Henry, and yes, excited and expectant again as I watch Kathleen grow, see her smile.