I'm thinking that this day, August 24th, should just be banned off all calendars forever.
(I'm sorry if it's your birthday or anniversary or somehow a wonderful day to you. My apologizes, sincerely)
Fourteen years ago today, I walked down the aisle to meet my first husband. I had found out, a week prior to that, that very day, stupid August 24th, was his sister's birthday.
His sister died when she was a few days old. I planned a wedding for a day that had to be horrifically painful for his mom. And I didn't know until it was too late.
I felt like the assholiest of the assholes. I was so upset that I had done SUCH a hurtful thing. I would have never, ever picked that day had I known. Not even then, and this was before I had my own little children. Before I understood how wonderful it is to hold a little hand and a little heart. I got it then, I really did.
Last year, on this horrible, terrible, no-good day, my dear, sweet, extremely-precious-to-me friend Liz gave birth to her son Gabriel Ross. He was born far too soon and died only a few hours later.
I can't begin to even pretend to know how she feels. She writes beautifully and painfully about the subject, but I know what she is able to write, what she is able to say, is not even one-half of what is in her soul. What is in her broken heart. I know that no words, no matter how well-intended, will soothe the ache she feels every day of her life. I know this. It doesn't mean I won't try. It doesn't mean I don't want, so desperately, for her to be okay. I would do anything in this world to make it so.
I try to look at this day objectively. At all the painful things. I try, hard, to see any ray of goodness and light.
Because, Liz? She's a ray of light. And her son is important.
I know, she knows, that the world keeps on turning. That every day she wakes up, goes to work, makes dinner, drives her car. She manages to smile, to joke, to help others every day. I don't know how she does it. I don't.
But she does. She's a comfort to others, in the face of her pain.
So is Gabe.
He is a light in a dark place. A moment, far too fleeting, of happiness. Mixed with sadness, true. But the happiness is there. It's a tiny little bright light in a dark place.
I wish I could take the power away from this day. I wish I could deliver Gabe back to where he belongs. I wish so much hurt didn't have to exist for someone so wonderful.
But I can tell you that Gabriel Ross mattered. And my sweet friend Liz is his mom.
He will always matter.
And she will always, forever, be his mom.