3, It’s the Magic Number

Happy Birthday Poppy Annabelle

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It had been a while since I’d cried myself to sleep, but last night I nearly did. As I crawled into bed I couldn’t help but remember that 3 years ago I went into labor with our baby Poppy. What happened to us only hours later at the hospital, when we found out Poppy no longer had a heartbeat, was unfathomable. We were devastated.

I have a few pictures of Poppy stored on my cell phone. Last night as tears streamed down my face, I picked up my phone and found my favorite — swaddled in a receiving blanket, tiny white crocheted hat, and her sweet face. I’ve never publicly shared a picture of Poppy. She was beautiful, but I can’t bring myself to expose her that way. Her image is deeply personal to me.

As I examined her features, I noticed how much she looks like Moxie, her little sister. They have the same cheeks. I got nostalgic and started looking through pictures from my pregnancy with Poppy. I was a goddess — ripe, radiant and so ready to be a mother. But life had other plans when death visited us on this day 3 years ago.

Where has the time gone and how on earth did we make it through? I felt alone, so I sent Eli a message and asked him to come upstairs. When he arrived he could see I’d been crying and like so many nights before, he quietly crawled next to me and cuddled up against me.

Alligator tears streamed down my cheeks and when my head tried to convince me to stop, my heart overruled those thoughts and I allowed my feelings to flow.

Grief and love are deeply intertwined. A broken heart hurts because it loved. I have worked so hard to move through our tragic loss and I am proud to say that my heart is stronger and more full than ever before. I am surrounded by love — my compassionate wizard of a husband Eli, my curious, keen and thriving one year old daughter Moxie, our adventurous and loyal doggie Wilson, and now my 3 year old spirit guide and guardian Poppy.

I have forgiven myself a thousand times for Poppy’s death, even though I did nothing wrong. I have forgiven Poppy a thousand times more for needing to leave me here without her.

It’s been a long, beautiful day. Poppy revealed herself to me in a number of ways — a friend stopped by wearing poppy earrings, I received a text message from our doula at exactly 3:39pm (the minute Poppy was born) sending us love and condolences, and Eli and I shared a glass of champagne in our new home, the keys to which we received today — October 26 — a day to remember and never forget. Our Poppy is a gift and with open hearts we continue to receive.

I write about love, grief, forgiveness, and healing to honor my daughters Poppy and Moxie. I work as a life coach and I’m writing a memoir. dukelifecoaching.com

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