We’d been married 205 days when my body failed my first (un)born. We’d been apart for 148 of those days.
My soldier left in the fall, in the brilliance of the dying leaves. He left, and I was pregnant and blissfully naive in the way you can only be when you have yet to suffer real loss. I said goodbye to my husband at midnight in a nondescript gravel lot, with my head tucked up under his chin, breathing in deep the smell of him, and holding my breath to keep it for a year, or maybe forever, if the worst should indeed come to pass.
It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, the 205th day of our first year together, when I sobbed out my goodbyes to the life I had cherished for a joyful, hasty, twelve weeks. And it was Thanksgiving Day, the 208th day, when my sturdy, handsome soldier strode down the driveway and gathered the broken pieces of me into his arms. Five days we had together, to grieve, to repeat goodbye. Five days of emergency leave for us to calibrate loss, to weep in the night, and to welcome grace as we learned the new, unwelcome lines of our story.
Thanksgiving is a bitter, unwilling sacrifice when measured against what we have and lose ….
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