Today is Toren’s second birthday. On this morning two years ago, my dear friend Andrea snuggled into her three-year-old daughter and told her the baby was going to be born that day. Their world, their family, was changed forever when they arrived at the hospital and learned their son’s little heart had stopped beating.

I didn’t know Andrea when this happened. I was still pregnant with Anja (though not for long). On January 6, 2012, while Pete and Andrea were receiving the most devastating news there is, I was likely at playtime with E and friends, reveling, still, in my own secret world of pregnancy.

We live in adjoining neighborhoods, a quick walk from each other. Our daughters are the same age. We have similar outlooks on life, laugh at the same jokes. I like to think we would have met anyway, under happier circumstances, at playtime or the library or a dance class, with our babies in tow – two frazzled moms joking about how much more work it is to have two…I wonder sometimes if we ever passed by each other before…maybe we stood beside each other in a coffeshop line or on the edge of a sandbox.

I imagine our other lives. The lives where our babies didn’t die and our families played unknowingly side by side, or where we introduced ourselves over orange slices and juice boxes and recognized each other as potential friends.

Instead we met at a hospital support group. We got to know each other through our tears and heartache and then through wry laughter, our dancing daughters, family dinners and trips to gardens and libraries, kid gyms and pumpkin patches. On this day last year, I stood and read a poem at Toren’s memorial. Today, I am on the far side of the country, remembering him; after three weeks of snow here, it is raining, reminding me of home, of January, and of a baby I never knew but love now, dearly, as I love his family.

Remembering and missing you, sweet baby Toren. Wish you were here.

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