Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

May your evening be filled with candy, costumes and friends and may any visits from the other world be friendly and comforting.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A short note

Goodness, I've got posts swirling around in my head, waiting to come out, spilling out in conversations with friends instead, making me less inclined to turn them out here.

And I'm tired - what a week! SO very glad that it is Friday night. So this will be short (by my own standards, lol).

My mother accused me yesterday of being giggly. Which made me laugh, because I did not feel giggly, I felt exhausted. But it's true, I was chuckling more than usual. I don't quite know what it is, but I have felt lighter the last few days. The cynic in me says it is simply the anti-depressants doing what they do (aren't they supposed to take about a month to really kick in? That's coming up), and worries a bit about how I will be when off them - if they make me happy, does that mean I'll turn into a hot mess again when I go off them?

But I think no - some things may get harder, and of course grief isn't a straight forward process or line, not a GPS that gets you from one location to another. There will be hard days again, likely for years.

But I'm doing ok, you know? I've processed a lot.

And today, I looked at Gabriel's pictures for the first time in weeks. I studied them, head cocked, scrutinizing them, imprinting them again on my memory, though their outlines are well known.

And you know what? I was taken by surprise when I felt my lips curl into a smile. Not the wistful half-smile on my lips the last time I looked at them two? three? weeks ago. No, a full, complete, whole-hearted smile. Nearly a grin. Completely involuntary. I looked at my son, and I felt joy. I heard a laugh on the air around me and the smile became a grin. I looked at Gabe and thought, my heart swelling with maternal pride, "My God, my son is beautiful. My God, how I love him."

And no tears came this time. Just a sense of peace and pride. Just a moment of joy, beholding the beautiful miracle that was the physical embodiment of my son. What a lovely moment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

I should probably save that for a time when it is for reals and not tongue in cheek.

The Worst of Times - my hope for work being more calm this week was excessively hopeful. My goodness, I just feel like we're never ever going to be done with this crap. I had to redo everything I've done over the last two days because of a miscommunication. We're nearly done, but once this is over is a whole new set of frantic scurryings to get reconciliations done on time. Blah. At least the days move quickly - that's good, right? I frequently glance at the clock to realize that two or three hours have passed without my knowing it.

The Best of Times - but for many trials there are consolations. Basketball season has begun my friends, and the Spurs are playing tonight. Our League Pass subscription has been renewed and we are eager to see how the best offseason in recent memorable history pans out. Go Spurs Go!

And . . . that's it. I am so tired it's ridiculous. Between work and fighting off some kind of bug, I am exhausted and definitely looking forward to this coming weekend. I'm sure that being in the luteal phase is contributing too, but the good news is that my cycle seems to be regulating nicely - let's hope that continues for when we are ready to ttc again. We're probably going to take a couple of months with a relaxed whatever approach before going whole hog, but regular is never a bad thing.

Is it Friday yet?!

* ~ * ~ *


Holy fuck, that was awesome. Dismantling the Hornets in such a way that that I got to see Theo Ratliff and Keith Boggins close the game is a great fucking start to the season.

Well done, Spurs. It was fantastic to see Manu in good form, Blair is indeed a beast, the defense was great (in that it existed and was active). Jefferson and Dice are fantastic additions and I can't wait to see Tony and Timmy get into better shape. Loved it. And game 2 is up tomorrow, so double the pleasure, double the fun, eh?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy weekend

Yesterday was spent sleeping late and lounging in advance of getting ready to go a wedding. The wedding was lovely in all the important ways - a bride and groom clearly in love, family and friends nearby in support, nice trappings (good food, good weather, lovely flowers, pretty dress) and it was surprisingly fun.

I get quite anxious about large gatherings and the only thing that pushed me out the door in the end was the fact that it's rude to back out on an rsvp like that. But we were glad we went - it was sort of a gathering of the best parts of my old job and a lot of people I have not had opportunity to see in some time.

Of course, that made it awkward as well. It was the two month mark since Gabriel was born and there were people who knew of it, people who knew or had heard I was pregnant but not the outcome of that pregnancy, and people who knew only that we had been hoping for children soon.

And little is more awkward than seeing an old acquaintance, chatting away, and trying to find a polite way to say that we were pregnant, but no longer, and that yes we did have a son, but he died. Not exactly standard wedding fare, you know? But how else are you supposed to respond when someone descends on you in a chorus of congratulations and inquiries as to the sex of the baby you are supposed to be carrying?

The number of people who expressed surprised delight that we were out and about were amusing. I mean, we don't go out much anyway, but we generally attend weddings. I guess people thought I was likely to be still too deep in mourning to leave the house? I've been back at work for six weeks now, a wedding with an open bar (no, I didn't partake, as alcohol does not mix with the anti-depressant I'm on) that I can leave at any time after congratulating the bride and groom isn't that big a deal, social anxiety and all.

It was nice to catch up, but there was a good deal of talk about Gabriel and his birth which I had not really anticipated. It was nice though, to see the concern and the care. Even the bride and groom stopped and asked how we were, how we really were and expressed their sympathies in person and remembered that it was two months to the day. I mean, my goodness. How much nicer and more kind can you be than to remember such a thing at your own wedding?

I was grateful we went. Grateful to see two people joined together, grateful to see old friends and catch up, grateful to hear my son mentioned, grateful to prove that we are doing ok, no, really, we are doing ok. See? And find that they did see.

Then home, bed. Where I stayed much of today, alternately re-reading a book I enjoyed last year and dozing, late into the afternoon. It meant I missed the football game, but that was fine by me. The pile of laundry rebukes me, but there is still plenty of time for a load or two and the rest will keep. It was a restful day, which I appreciate. Hopefully this week won't be quite so frantic and filled as the last, but if it is, at least I feel adequately rested.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Space Between

Yes, that is a reference to the DMB song of the same name. I really like that song a lot. The thing is that I'm not a big music person; I am in no way musically inclined. I'm totally a lyrics person. I need the lyrics to speak to me and to be relevant. It's the reason I love the Barenaked Ladies so much - their lyrics are twisty and turny and grab you with the pictures they paint.

Anyway, because I'm not a music person, I don't listen to it much beyond when I'm in the car. However, I have spent the entire week scurrying through income reconciliation reports as my office is handling them for the entire divison (normally, these are done in each department) and we're up against a short time frame. These things are tedious, consisting of a lot of report running, and extraction from Adobe and then subsequent document insertion/compiling and THEN finally actually retyping the pertinent data into the form that goes on top. Tedious, mind-numbing and requiring attention to detail.

To keep myself awake, I've been playing music. I visit youtube and find videos and let it lead me around - today I listened to the 10th anniversary concert version of Les Mis. Twice. Before that though, I was grooving to DMB. And listened to the title song - The Space Between.

Now, look, I know how cliched (and possibly a little teenage angst-y) it is to find meaning in random snippets of song lyrics that have nothing to with whatever situation you are in, and yet, I think we all do it. And in this case, the end of the song leapt out at me in a way that made my heart clinch, then flutter. I wondered if it was Gabe near me, pushing me to understand it in this way, if this was a message.

"The space between what's wrong and right/is where you'll find me waiting for you/The space between your heart and mine/is space we fill with time/The space between"

The space between what's wrong and right. What is wrong and what is right? It is wrong that he is not here. It is wrong that he was born when he was, where he was, how he was. What is right? I don't know. Maybe there is something right in this awfulness that seems so entirely, utterly, completely wrong. Maybe someday I'll even know what it is. But truly right now . . . that sort of is where Gabe is. In between. It feels so very wrong, and yet, I'm finding an acceptance that it is what it is. Maybe that in itself is a step towards right.

The space between your heart and mine. . . space we fill with time. God, how I want to believe that is all that is separating our hearts right now. Time. Merely time. Only time. Time passes in a blink, and instant and only feels long. Time will end for all of us eventually. I hope so fervently that when it does, our hearts will be together again, that we will be together again. Time is not such a barrier that we can't be together now, that love can't cross it.

Space between. It feels like such a gulf separating me from my son. Maybe it isn't, maybe it's just perception and physicality. Maybe that is wishful thinking on my part. But . . . maybe there was something there I needed to hear.


In flipping through tv channels in advance of Flash Forward, I inadvertently caught som Entertainment Tonight - a show I would not watch of my own free will.

I saw creepy Mary Hart (how much surgery has she had?!) say with her abnormal-Katie Couric-levels-of-cheerfulness voice "ONLY one hundred and three days left until Oscar nominations are revealed!"


Guess I'd better hurry up and set up the betting pool. For fuck's sake, that show is tragically ludicrous.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birth and Death

Let me start by welcoming my friend Tam's new son into the world, albeit a couple of days after the fact. This is what happens when work is keeping me so busy - I don't catch up to everything on time.

Birth and death. I was thinking of this today when chatting with a friend because I referred to Gabriel's birth. I find that I refer to his birth far more than his death.

I wonder why that is. I suppose to some extent, they are linked as the same event in my mind, because he was so premature that one inevitably led to the other. His birth was not a happy or desired event, not at that time. So for people who know our story, who know me, I don't need to remind them about his death, it is implied by mentioning his birth.

Likewise, when it comes up in conversation with a stranger, I often say that I have a son who passed away shortly after his birth. So then death comes first, the trump card thrown down in advance of any other play, to ward off further questions.

And yet, though they are the same thing to me and though it doesn't change the outcome, I find myself ruminating on the choice to refer to his birth. As if in mentioning that and only that makes him more real, more present. As if it challenges the listener to deny his existance. As if there is some sliver of hope and joy somewhere in there, some recalling of the happiness that is birth for other people, normal people.

I think of Gabriel's birth day, not his death day. I measure time since his birth more often than since his death. Is it that death still seems so final, so uncertain? I believe he is still with us - my husband admitted to me today (to my relief) that he sometimes feel his presence as well. An indescribable feeling, a certain knowledge that Gabriel simply is, and is there, with him, with us. Not just a reminder or a memory, but an overwhelming feeling of being. Death undermines that faith and certainty - what dreams may come, and so forth.

It doesn't mean much in the end I guess. A word choice, unconsciously made. Likely unnoticed by the listener. And yet... I weigh them together on scales of my mind. Birth. Death. Two sides of Gabriel's coin - the same meaning when it comes to him. And still, I find the idea of his birth weighs less than the idea of his death. More positive, more generous, more giving, more accepting of the possibilities, more open.

Perhaps it is just an invitation from my heart, to allow room for continuing to love him, for continuning to miss him, to allow space for his presence in our lives, for his existance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Great Company

So my mom has been coming out to visit us for the weekend about every three weeks or so. It's been nice to see more of her, but we don't really do much different with her in town. What can I say? We're boring people.

Much of our time is spent chatting, watching the dogs closely (Jonah is so desperate to get Bugsy to play with him, I almost feel bad, but it's entertaining. We have to watch because Bugsy will get snarly and snappy with no warning and we have to separate them), and going out to eat.

But Mom really knocked this weekend out of the park. Originally the plan was to take her to get a tattoo for her 60th birthday which happened this week, but we couldn't get an appointment with the tattoo parlor we wanted so that is postponed. Instead, she brought along a large bag.

Mom makes and sells things, so that didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was when she informed me that the bag contained all the random papers that were lying around her house - she brought them so she could organize them; she figured she'd have plenty of time here.

Gee, thanks, Mom.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Remembering nameless baby, from long ago.

Remembering Chickadee, loved you so.

Remembering that little one that never really was meant to be.

Remembering Gabriel, my heart and soul.

I loved you all, babies, my spirit children.

* * * * *

The link below was given at a Canadian event, Walking to Remember, by Kate who writes at and is a contributor/founder of (where many of you recommended I go and where I have found great solace and companionship, and I thank you). There is so much in this that I have nodded at and tossed around in my heart and head that I had to link to it and share. Read it if you have a few moments, it's well worth it.

Still Here

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything. A lot of reasons for that really - not much new to say, not much different to say, feeling a lot that I wasn't ready to put out there, being swamped at work and feeling very tired (but a different kind of tired) at home.

To give a general update:

-I have not yet made an appointment with a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist but I hope to do so tomorrow or Monday. I definitely am in a place where I feel ready to talk to someone, ready to explore some stuff, ready to make that move and am approaching a place where it is becoming necessary. So I won't delay long.

-I've been taking the anti-depressants for a little over a week now. Few side effects fortunately - a little nausea that seems to be better already, some dizziness that hasn't bothered me at all the past two days. I'm sleeping much better already and the difference that has made is tremendous. My focus is much better, and just in the nick of time. The pharmacist told me I could take Vitex with the ad's and so I started that back up in again in hopes it will help down the road. I don't feel like they've made a huge difference, but we'll see - the doc said they generally take a month to fully take effect/work properly. I am comfortable with where I am at right now, and hope that weaning off won't be too difficult. I prefer not to be on anything when we start trying again.

-Work has been a whirlwind. A lot has been happening, not all of it great for me. I don't care to get into details, because it's too complicated. I was not recommended for a promotion, which was fine by me as I did not want that position. But of course, that isn't a good thing. My supervisor changed, which freaked me out at first but ultimately isn't really anything different at all - just a formalization of what was already taking place in practice. Things have actually been a lot better since that happened. I've been working my ass off and it's paying dividends. My new boss told me today that she couldn't be more pleased about how I've stepped up and helped out and been doing things these past few weeks and that if it weren't for my performance she would be ripping her hair out and screaming obscenities with everything that is on our plates right now. The biggest knock on my previous performance appears to be prioritization and time management and I'm knocking that out of the park right now. The biggest difference is that I have a goal in mind - moving to a department that I expect will be open in a few months - and I need to prove that I can handle it. So far, plan seems to be working.

It helps my confidence, certainly, but also helps to have some kind of goal to work towards. And I come home every day feeling very tired. But the good kind of tired - the tired of a long, productive day in which I have Accomplished Something. Not the bone-numbing weariness and exhaustion and sadness I was trying (failing) to cope with before.

-Gabriel. Whew. Well, I'm not sure what else to say. I'm still working through it, slowly. I still miss him terribly. I still tear up at odd things with no notice. But, it's getting better. It hurts, in an odd way, to say that, but it's a good thing. I remarked to my husband that I think at least as much about another pregnancy and trying to conceive again (without total paralyzing fear or panic - yet)as I do about Gabriel, if not more. I have found myself saying a few times over the past few days that 'Yes, I do have a child. A son, Gabriel. But he passed away shortly after his birth. He was born very prematurely.' . . .

. . . and it's ok. It feels good to mention him, it feels right to say. I can smile gently and accept the conventional declarations of sorrow for what they are and what they are not. I find myself looking forward to the births of the children due in the upcoming months (my friend Blair gave birth to her son Harrison this week, my friend Tam is likely to be delivered soon and Dawn is due as well). No pangs, no anger at fate. Just a wish for safety and health and a curiousity to see who these new little people are.

Sometimes I think I feel him near me, just for a moment. A comforting presence, an infant smile and a peacefulness. I think I am coming closer to believing that he is ok wherever he is, that he isn't gone forever. Just for now. Which makes me sad, but doesn't nearly destroy me like it did a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Doctor's Appointment

So I went to the new doctor today for my 6 week post-partum visit.

It went surprisingly well. I'm feeling quite tired so I won't write it all up right this moment (which is good because I spelled three words incorrectly in this sentence - twice).

Suffice it to say that I feel very comfortable with this doctor. While she is not someone I would have chosen before, she seems to meet the level of care I need now and has offered a plan that is very reasonable to me.

I have a starter pack of an anti-depressant and a prescription for more and orders to find a psychologist or psychiatrist before our next appointment to continue the anti-depressants. She believes strongly that therapy is important to coping with depression, particularly in a case like mine, but also that I need more help than just therapy. I wasn't totally ready for that, but I'll do it as a condition to continue the anti-depressants, because getting control of the depression is a pre-requisite for trying to conceive again. And I know, I know, I know, that therapy is probably going to be necessary to cope with the anxiety of another pregnancy. Possibly continuing on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants as well, though both the doc and I prefer to be weaned off first.

Otherwise, she believes Gabriel's birth was brought about by a placental abruption. That there is not much chance of it recurring, that the three losses of the last year are not related - just a string of unbelievably bad luck. I can start trying to conceive in a couple of months, provided the depression is under control. I am so relieved that she did not make my weight an issue, just encouraged me to be healthy as possible. We are planning to schedule the saline infusion test whose actual name escapes me for Dec/Jan to make certain there is nothing in my uterus (scar tissue, septum, fibroid, etc) that could cause or contribute to placental malformation. The encouragement she gave and the treatment plan she's laid out are reassuring. She believes we will have a baby and wants to help us make that happen.

So. Yes. That is done and out of the way, and God, am I relieved. A cloud off the horizon, a doctor I can work with, at least for now, and some hope that I won't feel like this forever and that trying to conceive again is not necessarily a doomed prospect. I can't replace Gabriel and I can't have him back, but we may yet get to be parents to a living, breathing child, and that hope could not have come at a better time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I give.

I'm going to just go ahead and admit it.

This is hard for me to do. But it's true.

I am depressed.

Not just sad, not just mourning, not just grieving. I am depressed.

You know those commercials for anti-depressants? Those with the wind-up toys or those that tell you depression is physical?

Well, yeah. That's me.

I knew that I was going to have to talk to the new doctor about things, and as I started to add it all up, well, it reads like a checklist.

-Not sleeping, not feeling rested after adequate sleep (check)
-Excessive fatigue (check)
-Listlessness, lack of focus (check)
-Difficulty concentrating (check)
-Physical stress, aches and pains (check)
-Feeling lost and/or hopeless (check)
-Prone to emotional outbursts (check)

You know what really sealed the deal for me though? It's stuff at work. Not even bad stuff necessarily. It's just that I'm starting to feel trapped there, hopeless about my job, I don't think I'm very good at it (and I can no longer look at it objectively to see if I'm an utter failure, good, getting better, or just not meeting my own high standards across the board), I don't know what else I can possibly do, and I'm starting to really dread going on. This, despite actually being really on top of things since I've been back and working hard to please everyone since I've been back (seems to be working). In other words, I'm working hard, and it appears to be showing, and yet, I am completely sick over work.

That's when it hit me that maybe, just maybe, it's not work - it's me. And I thought about everything right now. And I'm going to be honest. I'm coping. Sometimes I'm doing ok, other times I'm not. It's not a matter of not coping or bottling up grief or not dealing with it. It's that for whatever reason, hormones levelling out, DNA catching up with me, the stress of everything reacting chemically or physically . . . it's not just grief. I need help. I don't like how I feel most of the time, mostly how tired I feel. It's so all encompassing - tired physically, no energy, tired emotionally, just utterly knackered and wiped out. Maybe the other things would get easier if this were fixed. I'm hoping so - I'm hoping there is something that can be done.

It's other stuff too, like setting a small, achievable goal and being unable to get it done. Easy, like cleaning the toilet. I just can't summon the energy to do it or to care. But then I feel overwhelmed by the state my house is in and I feel overwhelmed by guilt and then I end up in the cycle again.

I know that it is not unusual to suffer depression, and I further know that I am genetically pre-disposed and situationally pre-disposed. And having had depression in the past and having people close to me suffer from it, I know it's a real issue. And yet, admitting it makes me feel ashamed, like I should try harder to pull myself together and get my shit worked out. Like I have failed in yet another arena of life. I just feel so beaten down right now. It's so tiring.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I tried to be all creative and come up with something to say. But honestly, I'm tired and today was a crap day (although I have hope that some changes at work - including a new supervisor - will ultimately be a good thing).

I may have started a period. I though I ovulated about two weeks ago, but who knows. All I know is that yesterday and today have been very heavy bleeding days. Heavy enough to alarm me a wee bit if it is a period and to alarm me a whole lot if it's not a period. Put it this way - despite the diva cup, I have emergency laundry because I bled completely through my underwear and my pants.

I am exhausted and only can hope that tomorrow doesn't suck. That's all I got right now. Sorry.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Children, children everywhere.


So I have already come to terms with some basic facts of life. Children exist. They are everywhere except fancy-shmancy restaurants that are too expensive for us to eat in and places we wouldn't go anyway, because honestly? I spill food on myself. A lot. I joke that it is one of the reasons I wear my hair long, to cover up the evidence of lunch.

So. Kids. Everywhere. They exist and I can't avoid them. Just like babies are a part of my universe and will be unless I want to cut off just about all my friends and become a hermit, because all of my friends either have children, are currently pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant. Seriously, I can think of maybe . . . two people? three? that aren't in those situations. Since I like my friends and want to continue those relationships, I realized really quickly that I needed to adjust to having kids around me or having them mentioned.

I can't say it is always ok. Because sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it hurts in ways I could not predict - like my friend Rachel telling a hilarious story about her son and his very normal fascination with his penis. I laughed and then oof! I realized that those experiences and those stories were no longer in my future and it stung. Frankly, I can't anticipate what will hurt and when. I was 100% genuinely pleased when a friend emailed me to let me know gently that she is expecting again. Not one moment of disappointment or pang of sadness. But that is not always the case.

It is awkward. I'm certain it is as awkward for my friends as for me. More toe-stepping as we navigate this minefield, I guess. I tend to take the approach that people need to live their lives and if today is a day that their lives overwhelm me, I take a step back and if today is a better day, I try to reach out. I prefer that people don't try to tiptoe or censor themselves, though I appreciate the compassion that people are extending.

The random encounters are rough too. I don't want to necessarily see children. I've been known to walk in another direction to avoid babies. So when we sat down at Benihana's for our dinner tonight, and were followed by a family of four with an infant boy and a toddler girl, Dh and I looked at each other with something akin to horror. The poor family probably thought we hated kids. Dh was more concerned for me than for himself, and I just shrugged and said, "Can't avoid them forever." There was a definite pang and pinch at my heart.

We tried to be friendly, but I'm sure the parents thought we were a little crazy. I could not tear my eyes away from the kids. The little boy was really fussy, except when he made eye contact with me and would smile and gurgle. The little girl was very cute. She watched us eat sushi and her mother prompted her to say hello. We returned her greeting and then she pointed at her mother and announced that she was her mom. I think our laughter scared her a little. The family ended up not staying long - the boy wouldn't stop fussing so they finally asked to have their food boxed up and said they would be back after they ran the kids home. DH and I were both relieved - but we both survived it too.

The thing is . . . they are everywhere. We can't avoid them, unless we never go out. We can either accept that there will be some pain sometimes and let that skin get battered into something harder and thicker and become accustomed to it, or we can try an exercise in futility and try to avoid the youth all around us and never adjust so that it hurts each and every time. Just like trying to choose not to be bitter, I will not always be perfect at it . . . but it seems like if life is going to go on, this is one more aspect to which we must adjust. Another piece of the dead baby puzzle that isn't quite right or quite fair, but has to be fitted in.

Onwards and upwards, eh?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Dh and I got married four years ago today.

Today feels less like a celebration and more like a moment to breathe. After all, this past year has been the worst year of my life. I mean, fuck all, it has sucked.

A year ago, we were happily expecting a baby from our first planned pregnancy - in fact, I was five weeks along; that baby was already gone. I'd go through the following month feeling off and paranoid, but then finding out on Halloween that my fears weren't groundless.

That was followed by the mess that was the cervical ectopic pregnancy.

And then Gabriel...

Christ, what a fucking awful year.

I will try and focus on the positive - my marriage is as strong, maybe stronger than a year ago. Certainly, I'm not sure things could get much worse in the coming year. Right now, I feel less loving and in partnership and in friendship with my husband than I did on our wedding day or other anniversaries. I feel much more in survival mode, like we've been pinned down together in a bunker and are just clinging to each other, waiting for the shelling to stop. I am grateful for my husband, for the man he is, being better than I could ever have dreamed when I married him four years ago.

We have no big plans to celebrate. The past few years we've taken a trip to the same b&b where we spent our honeymoon. This year, we didn't because we figured we had mounting baby expenses. Instead we have hospital expenses. Sigh. We planned to take off work and at least spend the day together . . . until DH informed me last night that due to the number of people out with the flu, he had to work. We were supposed to go out for dinner, but . . . yeah. I think that's going to be pushed off.

It's funny. Four years ago, I never would have predicted this for our future. I thought what we had already gone through as a couple (the troubles with Dh's family, the depression and his suicide attempt) were pretty bad and I never thought it could ever be worse. I never thought - though I suppose when you are dressed up in your wedding gown, hair and makeup done, clutching flowers and floating down the aisle, that you never think this way - that things could ever be so bad, that life could hurt so much. I never thought about just how important those parts of our vows would end up being.

We are lucky, I suppose. We have each other and we love each other and are holding each other. I doubt many couples could have made it through the year we've just survived. We aren't unscathed, but we are still here, we still love each other and want to be here with each other.

So, whenever it is that we actually do go out to share dinner and toast to us, I think we will be toasting our survival and hoping this next year of our marriage finds us sharing peace and, God willing, some joy.