Hello, 2022

I’ve made it. December 31—the final day of the worst year of my life. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I had a thought last night as Daniel and I were cleaning up the kitchen. What if something were to happen to me, and I developed amnesia, and in the process of relearning my life, someone told me that I had a daughter, but she’d died just before her due date? Would I be relieved that I didn’t remember the pain of losing her? Would it be easier to continue on with my life as if I’d never known her?

I knew immediately that the answer is no.

I sometimes wonder who I would be today if Eleanora were alive. If I envision a Cinderella-like transformation for myself, I see this: the bags under my eyes dissipating, the hair falling out around my face beginning to regrow, the gleam I once had returning to my smile. I see my hands stop their fidgeting and my eyes stop their worrying. I hear the sound of my laugh again. I see a little girl in my lap and a golden glow, that she placed there, around my entire world.

Would it be better or different or easier if I had somehow never known her at all?


Would I do absolutely anything and everything within my power to change her story and make her live?


Would I wake up to this hellscape every single day in this lifetime and the next and the next and the next, just to know that she HAD been here, even if only for a moment in time?


I have never known a love like the love I have for my child.

If I woke up tomorrow with amnesia, and was informed that I’d had a daughter who died, I would beg to know every detail about her—the softness of her skin, the near-blackness of her curls, the twenty-one inches that resided inside my body. The tiny face that looked just like mine. The hands that would have grown up to resemble her father’s. The little butt that tried to squash my ribs. The foot I saw peeking out from beneath my skin. The dancing I felt right alongside mine.

I would want to hear about her over and over and over and over because she’s my baby. Death cannot take that away from me.

As delusional as it might sound, I would take the pain over losing my Eleanora a million times over rather than never know her at all. I would walk back into that hospital, fully prepared to deliver my baby and bring her home—carseat packed in the car, dog taken to my parents’, and hospital bag in the trunk—only to find out her little heart had simply stopped beating, a million, a million, a million times over JUST to know her for the nine months I did.

I would give birth to silence a million times over. I would scream on the floor a million times over. I would have silent panic attacks in the grocery store when I heard a child say “Mama,” a million times over. I would sob as I repressed my own breastmilk and tended to my own bleeding, knowing there is silence in the next room, a million times over.

I would let my own heart, my own life, my own future, my own world be flipped upside down and thrown into the shredder a million times over just so that I could know my precious child.

THAT is how much I love her.

I have been worried about a new year coming because it means I’m leaving behind that the only year that I will ever hold my first child. Until now, I have been so ready to give 2021 the middle finger. I bought a 2022 planner months ago and began writing in it. I ripped out my December 2021 pages and threw them away. I’ve cursed, over and over, all that has gone wrong this year, and prayed that next year is better. Every time I’ve looked at the clock and caught “11:11” or “2:22” or “12:34,” I’ve wished for two things: that Eleanora had a good day, and that next year will be better for us.

But I also can’t help but think about this: I learned in college that time is a social construct. In other words, the coming of a new year doesn’t inherently mean anything at all. It only holds meaning because humans GAVE it meaning. If no one had decided, “Tomorrow is January 1st and THAT means newness. That means saying goodbye to this year. That is IMPORTANT,” tomorrow would simply be another day. One year would fade into the next, and they would all be equally important, equally close by.

For me, this means two things: that the coming of January 1st, 2022, doesn’t mean leaving my daughter behind. I will always hold her with me—in 2021, in 2022, in 2057. The coming of one year does not negate the previous. There will always be Eleanora for me.

It also means that the promise of a new year inherently being better is entirely arbitrary. There is no guarantee that 2022 won’t be as awful as (or, God forbid, worse than) this year was, and that terrifies me.

Even so, there is still hope that it will be better. There is hope that, as I put on my new “Finally Over” headband tonight and wash my face tomorrow morning, something new will be born.

I pray it is a year of fewer tears and less anguish. I pray that it’s a year in which the gleam returns to my eyes and I hear the sound of my laughter returning from far away. I hope that 2022 fills our home with noise and extinguishes the deafening silence we’ve heard for so long.

I hope, I hope, I hope that this rollercoaster we’re on will start to tilt upward. That when we pull the blindfold down to steal a peek, we will look upward and see sunshine. I hope that we smile, that we look at each other and say, “Thank God we didn’t miss this.”

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