There are some experiences in life that continue to shape and forge us long after the actual experience has ended. We stretch and grow and learn a lot while living it. Then we learn a little more after we’ve had some distance.
We carry from such experiences indelible memories and, if it was a particularly bad experience, there’s usually some unfinished business.
In the case of not being able to have children despite herculean efforts to conceive and deliver, the business of sorting out the emotions, conflicts and what ifs takes time — serious time. The sorting process gets deferred, interrupted or protracted because, really, who wants to be reminded, daily, of failure and loss on such a grand scale? And yet we need to face and sort and understand if we’re to move forward.
Despite stalling and self-imposed breaks in the process, we’re inevitably drawn back into trying to make sense of it amid the return of harvest holidays. For me — and many in my shoes — this begins with Halloween and carries through to the end of the year. I’m not the only one feeling this way. Luna, Loribeth and WaterBishop are just some of the women who have written about this.
Try as hard as I might in years past to focus on the joy in the shiny, happy faces, my smile would inevitably tighten and my now well-honed acting skills would take center stage. Fortunately the pain has dulled and the scars have begun to fade, but there’s something about the annual cycle that sets off warning bells. The memories become sharper and the accompanying emotions return in ways that force us to remember — whether we want to or not.
This year I’m going to try and stretch a little further. We have friends without children visiting us from Germany later this week. They’re the same ones who entertained us when we were in their neck of the woods this past spring. Our time with them elicits wonderful memories. They managed to do what few others have: helped me forget about infertility during a fun-filled weekend.
I look forward to reliving that experience starting with a jaunt through the wine country. They’ll then join us for a night of ghosts, goblins, ballerinas and action characters looking to fill up their sacks with sweets on our porch. It will be a night made easier knowing that our Teutonic friends understand us in a way few couples in our social circle do. Unfinished business doesn’t seem quite so daunting when you know there are other hands to help lighten the load.
What sort of unfinished business do you have on your list? (Oh, and what sort of wine should I be sampling on your behalf?)