I have always been thankful that, in our situation, we had a slight separation between the day the girls were born and the day that Hope died—two days later. (Not all who lose a twin are so fortunate.) The separation is by no means perfect, however. May 2 is, after all, the day both Becca and Hope were born. Even May 4 is a bit of a mix, since it happens, is my brother's birthday. Yes, my daughter died the day my brother was born. Despite our best efforts, life often refuses to cooperate with our attempts to compartmentalize our emotions.
Nevertheless, there is something significant about occasionally and intentionally making a pilgrimage to a specific plot of ground in Calvert County (right now, a 45-minute drive from where we live). There, we “stand our ground where Hope can be found” and honor her memory. (I might add that this is where my wife and I will some day be laid to rest, “reunited” with the dust of the earth—and with our daughter’s physical remains.) My wife and I have done this pilgrimage to Huntingtown every year on May 4, sometimes alone and sometimes with our children. We stand before the marble monument representing our daughter and take a moment or two as a family to acknowledge that, though Hope’s life was all too short and ended tragically, her story is forever part of our story. She was real and she mattered deeply to us. Others may have mostly forgotten her but we most certainly have not. Our family portrait will always be missing someone.