two and a half (the loss of you)

Walking through the house claiming rooms. Touching this, touching that. Standing on tiptoes to see over. Crouching down to peer under.

Your chubby legs, in shorts for the summer, lengthening. Able to climb onto the sofa without a stool, then onto the bed. Sitting at the table sometimes instead of your high chair.

Your babbles. Your first words. Complete sentences.

Coming around the corner into the room where I stand, calling my name.

Singing songs with vague words, rushing the parts you don’t quite know. Wonderbwidges falling down, f-a-l-l-i-n-g d-o-w-n. Patting your head, clapping your hands, stomping your feet.

Building cities of blocks and Duplos. Towers, houses, cars. Engineering bridges, airports and train stations, roads to and from. Refusing to clean up so your city stays sprawled on the living room rug for weeks.

Jumping on the bed. Throwing yourself backwards, flopping, rolling. Tickle fights. Hearing you laugh. Your giggle.

Resting your head on my shoulder when you are sleepy, or hurt, or sad. Your hair against my nose. Head hot and sweaty.

The weight of you in my arms, heavy.

*            *            *

Joseph was two and a half yesterday.

Joseph never would have been two and a half yesterday.

I still get caught in these subtleties of tense and mood. Are we speaking hypothetically? I ask myself. Possible? or probable?

This grief gets lighter, I think, but more specific.

*            *            *

There are still a handful of people, outside of the family, who remember. Someone remembers to acknowledge my first pregnancy. Joseph’s name spoken here and there. A friend who texts me now and then. I know Joseph is held in the hearts of other babylost friends, even if they don’t say it. Because I am this way, too. Remembering, quietly.

© Burning Eye

one more hour

I held a little baby the other day. A boy, born at 37 weeks, now a week old. He was so tiny. Everything in miniature—eyelids, pointy nose, mouth open in sleep. A little over five pounds, his mother said.

I held this little baby and was so sad, thinking of you. I stared at his face, the only part of him visible in his swaddling. Just like you. I thought of holding you—three weeks younger, 1 ½ pounds lighter. I wished his eyes were your eyes, his nose your nose. I wished I could stroke your cheeks and run my thumb across your lips.

I have been consumed with thoughts of you lately. It is May, after all. The month you were conceived. Three years ago this time, you were just a little seed. An enormous hope. We were so happy.

I say to your mommy tonight, “I’ve been missing Joseph a lot.” And she says, “Me, too. Yesterday was—” Yes, I know. Yesterday was the 27th. 29 months you have been gone. So much time stacked against your short 35 weeks in our lives.

I hold your sister a little closer. Hug her a little tighter. I miss her more when I go to work, and after she goes to sleep at night.

If only I had one more hour with you, I would hold you closer, and hug you tighter. I wouldn’t be so afraid.

 

© Burning Eye

heavy, hollow

Most of the time, I do not think of you in specifics. I do not actively grieve or miss you. You are just there–not there–in the world around me. Your candle on the dining table. Your altar in our bedroom. Your portrait on M’s bureau. Your existence–that you do not exist–is infused into my waking and sleeping, in my veins, pumped eighty times a minute through my heart.

But sometimes, your absence hits me like a punch in the gut, and I feel you, heavy and hollow beneath my ribs, my ghost belly. I want to curve around you protectively and weep and weep for all that we have lost.