I still think of March as Anja’s month. Though it was January when we held her in our arms for the first and last times, January is all wrong for my spring girl. She was supposed to be cherry blossoms and daffodils and the bright green unfurling of spring. She is part of this season to me, now and forever.

Today is the birthday of another little spring girl, due the same day Anja was, stillborn three days earlier. Yesterday her mother posted a picture of herself and her two nieces taken the day before Scarlett died and was born. It is a beautiful photo; it hurts to look at it. The happy expectant faces of Scarlett’s mother and cousins, the big belly so full of hope and love. The day before Scarlett’s mama was initiated into this terrible society, the awful/beautiful realm of the bereaved.

I mentioned that Scarlett and Anja were due the same day and I wonder how this can happen? Two beautiful girls, whose first weeks of life followed the same trajectory, whose mamas marked the same weeks turning over, anticipating spring birthdays; these two beautiful girls both dead now, their mamas meeting each other with empty arms. How can this be? I ask myself this question over and over and over. How did this happen? To me? To any of us? How did this life of bereavement choose us, become ours to bear?

And another March girl, Amelia Sofia, who should’ve turned two yesterday. Another mother I never would’ve known, whose path might never have crossed mine, if not for the fact that we both mourn daughters, have both held our dead daughters in our arms and wailed for them. And little Margaret Joy, whose mother lives miles and miles away but visits me here, on this page, holds out her heart and her pain, helps to hold up my own.

Oh, all of you mamas of March girls – how I wish we had never had occasion to meet – and how glad I am at the same time that we have. I imagine us all today, out under the cherry blossoms, holding chubby baby girl hands in our own, strangers to each other but somehow also knowing, a secret smile passing between us as our girls laugh and wave those little hands.

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