I have been brooding over a post on living children and feeling apologetic, but I don’t have the fight in me right now to write it.

On this day last year, we brought M home from the hospital. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the neighbourhood was full of tulips and irises and rhododendrons. The air was warm. And we carried a newborn in a carseat out the front door of that hospital, strapped him into the car, and drove him away. In all the time I was pregnant with him, even as I went in and out those same hospital doors twice a week, I never let myself picture that moment. Leaving the hospital with our baby.

As I walked through our neighbourhood with M this morning, after dropping E off at kindergarten, I remembered May 1, 2013. What it felt like to bring M through the door of our apartment, to take him to the window and show him the trees in the park, the ocean and mountains beyond them, to say: this is your home. This is your home, little one. This is where you belong. This is where you will live and we will love you, forever and always. Here.

And I remembered how all those things we did last year we did joyfully, but also sorrowfully. Because all of them were contrasted with the way we’d left the hospital on January 15, 2012. How we’d left by the back door, away from labour and delivery. How I’d clutched my winter coat around me, alarmed by all the space in it. How my arms ached. How I could not stop wondering where the morgue was and was she naked there and who had taken all those blankets off her and was it dark was it cold who would touch her would they be gentle why did this happen how how how how…

How we came home and there was snow on the ground and we walked through the door of our apartment and I looked at everything we would never show her. How I looked out the window at the trees in the park and the ocean and mountains beyond them and knew she would never know them, would never speak to the one big tree outside our window and see it as her protector as E does, would never watch the seagulls fly past or the seaplanes. Would never, would never, would never.

Today it comes back again, walking around the neighbourhood, feeling the heat of the sun, pointing at flowers with M, remembering how it felt to walk gingerly down the same street with him in the sling, four days old: triumphant, joyful, immensely relieved and always, always stuck through with longing for her.

I am struck through with it still, my Anja, my sweet spring girl, in this spring where you might have been two.