Maybe there is no such thing as a happy ending when it comes to things like this
There is no such thing as a happy ending when it comes to things like this. I'd like to say things got better after a reasonable amount of time. I'd like to say I found my strength, and my husband and I made it through Ryan's death together…and essentially okay. But there is no such thing as okay after something like that.
Between Casey and me, we both battled long and hard with depression. The doctors said this was very normal after having a stillborn child. We were both given medication, and it worked simply to help us make it through the day. This went on for months, the two of us moving about like zombies. I tried so hard every day to be just okay. To try and shake the sadness for even just an hour. My days were filled with work, and sleep. I didn't eat much. I didn't cry much, either. Casey responded well to the medication, and day-by-day, he got well again. When I didn't follow like I was supposed to, my father-in-law intervened and suggested I seek therapy, and he signed me up for a support group. I reluctantly obeyed.
If I could pinpoint the day when I decided I felt just okay, it was almost eight months to the day since Ryan's funeral. I was sitting in my support group filled with mothers who had also lost a child at birth. It had only been a few weeks since I started coming, but that day, I felt compelled to speak. I shared my story, my whole story from the very instant I met my husband, right up to the moment we all shared in that stuffy church basement. And I cried. I cried the whole time I spoke, and when I was done speaking, I couldn't stifle the tears. A delicate, blonde haired girl named Emmalee came to me and wrapped me in a hug, and together we wept until I was tired and shaky. She pressed her hands on my shoulders and looked me square in the eye. She said, "Jenna. You're okay."
It would be able to say from that very moment, I felt much better. Some days I did, and some days I did not. I knew it would take time. I continued therapy and frequented the support group. I cried more often, but each time I did, I felt a little better. And so the days passed into months, into years.
After giving the bar over to Frank and Carrie, Casey went on to college as planned. Four short years passed and he obtained his degree in teaching. Two years after graduation, he had his very own classroom full of high school students that got along well with him. He taught history and health classes, and subbed for Gym teachers during his prep periods. I think I could safely say that he was happy.
About a month after our sixth anniversary, Casey and I learned we were once again expecting. He was overjoyed, and of course, I was wary. Always wary. But there were no problems with the pregnancy and our twin daughters, Heather and Kennedy, were born almost seven months later. At that point, I suffered an intense bout of postpartum depression, but I can safely say I pulled through very well.
Casey and I decided we didn't want more children. For my own emotional health, it was best. We had two beautiful girls, and that was enough.
Katie married in her final year of college. She met Derek, a Construction Engineer major, at the Habitat for Humanity House during the third summer. She split her finger on a utility knife and he drove her to the ER to get stitches. I guess you could say they hit it off right away. He made Austin laugh a lot and put him to bed with her at night, and sometimes he made Katie dinner. He wrote her love letters and built her a rocking chair and promised to take care of her and her son forever. Nineteen months later, they exchanged vows, and soon had another son on the way.
Luke still came by from time to time. He was working full time as a manager at the grocery store. The girls loved him. He played them songs on his guitar and brought little surprises with him every time he stopped by. He prooved himself to be a very dear and wonderful friend.
As for Casey's family, they did well considering the blow they received from their mother's death. All the sisters ended up attending college, and Taylee was the last one to marry. Brooke is still searching for her Mr. Right. She mostly pours her time into her art, and into soccer. She spends most of her days keeping busy. And waiting.
Everyone was lucky. When I look back now at the aftermath of everything that happened, we were all so damn lucky that everything turned out okay in the end. There were so many good reasons to walk away, and I can't pretend I never thought about it. But as the days pass, I am grateful, so grateful that I never left. Because when I see my husband and remember the way the mud felt on my face, and the way his laugh made me flush tenderly on our chance encounter, I just know. After all we've been through, and the vibrant love we've shared, I know my life was never meant to be any other way.