When we’re gathering around the dinner table or piling into the van, I naturally count the kids. “One, two, three, four, five, six.” Despite all of the energy and noise, I often get the sensation that someone is missing. Call me crazy, but it’s not quite loud enough. And there’s just a little too much elbow room. I find myself carefully numbering each of their precious heads and wondering, Is this everybody?
I’m not the only one to feel this way. The kids say it, too, from time to time. “Is this all of us? Huh. It feels like we’re missing someone.“
What’s happening in those off-kilter moments?
I wonder if we’re simply missing Juliette.
Juliette, whose beautiful name I chose from the start – long before I knew she was a girl – and long before I knew my pregnancy would end in stillbirth.
One day, during the heart-wrenching aftermath of saying good-bye to Juliette, my sister sent me this poignant quotation from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II
I couldn’t have anticipated the connection of their names and their all-too-soon partings. You probably know the story of Shakespeare’s Juliet. This is the story of mine.