Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Grade 12 (!)

A Facebook find from a childless-by-choice friend.
I don't even have the dog to offer as an alternative. ;)  :p
It's (finally) the first day of school here, where I live. A day I have been dreading for a long, long time.

It's been an agonizingly long wait.  As I wrote earlier last month, "first day of school" posts & photos from parents in the U.S. have been popping up since August 10th (!!) in my blog reader and Facebook feed, with each Monday since then (FIVE WEEKS' WORTH, people...!!) bringing a fresh new batch of photos and posts and stories and laments about how quickly these children are growing up.

At least they ARE growing up.

Sorry if I sound a little bitter. You see, this would be Katie's "Last First Day." (And ours too, of course, by extension.) Today, she would have been going into Grade 12 -- senior year, for those of you in the States. Of course, next year would have been the first day of university, with more first days of class to come over the next few years (because of course she would have gone to university, right??). (According to dh, she would already be doing her doctoral studies by now, because of course, our daughter would be brilliant. Yeah, right... ;)  )

But the last year of high school is special, isn't it? (At least, it's supposed to be.) A milestone. A time to look back, and to look ahead.

I can look back, too -- on an entire lifetime of experiences she -- and we -- have missed out on. Things that never were. And look ahead too, to the things that never will be.

It's hard to believe she has been gone for so long.

She would be turning 17 in November. Over the past 11+ years, she would have survived daycare, kindergarten, first day of Grade 1 (and all the other grades). Learned to read. Inherited my Barbie doll collection & Nancy Drew books. Attended playdates and birthday parties. Cried over party invitations anticipated but not received. Made friends (perhaps with LGND), and endured catty comments from others. Had crushes on boys, and maybe even a boyfriend or two by now. Taken music lessons. Gone to a rock concert (maybe Bruce, with Mom & Dad, or (taking after her mom's boy-band inclinations, lol) 1D or Justin Bieber).  Learned to swim and skate, perhaps to figure skate, or even play hockey. Joined the Girl Guides, or some other such organization. Maybe spent a week or two at summer camp. Spent a couple of weeks every summer visiting Grandma & Grandpa out west (and getting royally spoiled). Been smuggled into a bar, underage, by her doting auntie. ;)  Learned to make tomato sauce with her other doting (Italian) zia (auntie), and been treated to gelato by her doting zio (uncle). Been teased by her adoring cousins. Learned to drive. Begged her dad & me for a car (among other things). Battled with us over curfews and Facebook. Maybe had a part-time job.

She would be looking forward to university applications, and prom next spring, and graduation next June, and university next fall. She would, no doubt, have been a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding next fall, and full of plans for dresses and bouquets and showers and bachelorette parties. Perhaps thinking about her own wedding someday, as many young girls do. Perhaps her own family. My grandchildren. (Grandchildren!!)(Several of my peers, cousins & high school friends, some even younger than I am now, are grandparents already.)

All this would, could, should have been hers, and ours.

People often don't realize that when you lost a baby, you don't just lose a baby. You lose the toddler, and the first grader, and the tweener and the teenager, and the high school graduate and the college frosh, and the bride (or groom) and the young employee and the young parent he or she would have become. The children they might have had, too.

I never had any of it. Never got to see it, experience it, enjoy it.

But I miss it, and I feel cheated out of it, just the same. Even 17 years later.

*** *** ***

Previous first day of school/school-related posts:

Grade 6 (2009)
Grade 7 (2010)
Grade 8 (2011)
Grade 9 (2012)
Grade 10 (2013)
Grade 11 (2014)
Graduation blues (June 2015)


  1. You did get cheated out of it. And so did Katie. And I hate it for you. You've made a beautiful Plan B, but nothing quite compares to the ordinary pleasures of a life with Katie in it. I wish she were here and starting Grade 12.

  2. I am so sorry. So sorry. I think you write so eloquently about how the loss of a baby reverberates through your entire life. Grade 12 is special.

    I hope you get to do something nice for yourself with DH today.

    (Don't read my blog today- it was our First Day.)

  3. You'll miss her forever and what should have been. I'm so sorry. Sending much love.

  4. Wrapping my (albeit virtual) arms around you in a hug. This part is so true: "People often don't realize that when you lost a baby, you don't just lose a baby. You lose the toddler, and the first grader, and the tweener and the teenager, and the high school graduate and the college frosh, and the bride (or groom) and the young employee and the young parent he or she would have become. The children they might have had, too."

  5. I have no words that are adequate but I will add on some more hugs and love. It's just not fair.

  6. I was going to pick out the same quote that Mel did. You and your DH (and Katie) lost a future you would have had together. And I too send my hugs.

    We don't have the same "back to school" hype here - I don't tend to see the "back to school" photos on FB, etc etc. And our school system has changed a little since I was at school, so I don't understand what years my children would have been in now. - In old terminology, any child from my first pregnancy would be in Form Two. But I don't know what class that would be now. So in some ways, that makes it easier, even if I do feel more remote from it all.

    Though of course I love your DH's conviction that she'd be pursuing a PhD by now, because OF COURSE she would be brilliant.

    More hugs.

  7. It is a deep and ever stretching loss. It is a loss of hopes and dreams that you have carried with you since her death that meet you in the present. Many hugs for you at this time.

  8. I think that's one of the things that most people don't realize about infertility and loss, it's a part of you forever....

  9. I'm sorry. It's such a small word for something so big. These sorts of moments, it can really do a number on you. It is hard to be reminded constantly. This way I steer clear of facebook these days. Too many birth announcements, pregnancy announcements and kids starting school announcements.

    You are allowed to be bitter. You are allowed to grieve.

  10. Thinking of you and all your lost moments together.

  11. Have you heard about recent research that shows fetal cells remain in the mother, possibly for a lifetime? I saw an article about this in the new york times. Katie will always be a part of you.

  12. {{{Loribeth}}} I'm sorry for your losses of Katie.

  13. I copied and pasted the quote that Mel and Mali loved (that spoke to me as well) and shared it in FB along with your blog link and I was totally surprised to get so many likes (I mean from mothers as well - usually when I share infertility-related stuff/quotes, only other CNBCers like it or even comment on it). Just want you to know that what you've written speak to many people from outside of the community as well.

  14. Thinking of Katie and you. Hugs. Nobody's child should ever be forgotten.