Fall has come to the Pacific Northwest. Despite promises of 85 degree F weather this weekend, the grey overcast that has settled and the shortening days are warning everyone of the rains to come.
The weather change has been effecting me differently this year. In years past, the transition to autumn brought with it a sense of sadness, as carefree evenings playing in the outdoors were coming to an end. During our time in the trenches, the school buses and backpacks were a reminder of what was missing. This year is different, though. Though the sadness still exists, I find I'm having difficulty pinning down the reason for it. That and the fact that it's not continual, but instead surfaces like waves crashing against the shore.
One moment from today has really stuck with me. Next week classes start at a new institution I will be lecturing at. In preparation, I made the drive up to campus in order to orient myself to my new setting and tour the classroom to familiarize myself with where I would be lecturing. A newer institution that is rapidly growing, I decided to take some time touring the other buildings. As I walked through the halls, poking my head into the new lecture halls and laboratory spaces, I also noticed a few other students doing the same thing, mapping out where their courses would be held so as to prepare for the first day. And as I followed behind some of them, holding the door so they could pass by me, I caught sight of my hand and noticed the beginnings of what I assume will be liver spots. And immediately an emotional wave hit the shore.
One of the hardest parts about infertility and loss was watching so many around me move on to the milestone that was parenting. Not only my peers but also those who were so much younger than me. At the time I felt stuck in limbo, feeling very much left behind. With the help of David and Dee, I began moving out of that limbo and began embracing life again. But what I didn't anticipate was the fact that though emotionally I felt stuck, I actually wasn't. That instead I was on a detour that so few talk about, navigating my way back to this supposed "land of the living."
Seeing my hand was solid evidence that I am not longer a young woman. And with that, the first thought that popped into my head was "where did all the time ago?" After all, the years between 2009-2014 seem like nothing short of a blur. Where the sadness comes is when I pause and remember all that happened during that period. The pain, though now dull, is still palatable and easily remembered.
Despite it all, I know I would not change my journey. Those years in the trenches have shaped me more as a person than any other experience in my life. All for the better. Yet there are still the moments. The moments where the sadness comes back. The moments I remember the should-have-beens and when hope was lost. It is with these waves comes the knowledge of how hard this period truly was. How minimizing and isolating it felt to be walking a path most refuse to acknowledge. And how it didn't have to be that way.
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