Four

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I remember you every day.

Every day.

You were only here for an instant in my life. And yet you were a cataclysm. Just in the way I cannot imagine what you would have been like had you lived, I cannot imagine what I would be like if you’d lived.

The mother I have become, because of you.

The children who live, because of you.

The God who remains distant, because of you.

*             *             *

Tomorrow will be my last post at Glow in the Woods. It has been four years now since my baby boy died and was born, three and a half writing at Glow. Since E’s birth seven months ago, I’ve know this year would be my last at Glow, that Joseph’s fourth stillbirthday would be my last post.

The first months of grief, I couldn’t understand how any of the writers could leave. How I could stop writing about Joseph. How grief could change. How I could learn to live with my firstborn’s absence. But I have lived into all of those once inconceivable things. And I know that leaving Glow is not abandoning the memory of my son. It is just simply time for whatever is next.

© Burning Eye

 

today, 1/31

My sister calls to tell me being an adult sucks. She says, You’d think things like addiction, losing your job, and babies dying were rare events. But they’re not. They happen all the fucking time.

Her dog is dying. Died. Today.

Today, your due date, Little One.

Due date, shmoo date, my brain retorts. It shouldn’t mean anything. This date was always hypothetical. My sentences cycle into the conditional tense of some parallel life that I can barely imagine. Yet I try. You would have been two, if you’d been born today. We would have already experienced these firsts I have with your sister. I would have been a different kind of mother. I might have—maybe, probably—been pregnant again, or you might have even had a brother or sister that could not now possibly exist.

It feels as far away from now as a distant star. Something incomprehensible, like how we see its light even if it died millions of years ago.

Two years ago today we drove ourselves to the butterfly house and stood, fragile creatures that we were, among them and saw your paper kite butterfly for the first time.

This morning as I am getting dressed your sister fingers the black lacy lines of your butterfly tattoo on my shoulder. But it just feels like skin and she quickly turns her attention to the more interesting bumps and moles on my chest.

Your new cousin was born this morning. Another little girl. We get the news at lunch, and a picture. I search her face for you.

I will always be doing this. Looking for you. Wondering. The way expectant parents do, only your gestation has become my whole life.

It could just be a day, A says. I think she is trying to say today doesn’t have to mean anything.

But it’s too late.

Today, already, a birth, a death. When two years ago there was nothing. It was all over by then, your birth, your death. Our lives, already derailed onto those parallel tracks, and us, already hurtling here, away from you.

I realized last night I no longer relive your death every day.

But I do say good morning to you every day, and you and I, we say goodnight to your sister each night. I think of you, not so much as you would have been, but as you were, so briefly.

A faint glimmer of starlight still reaching me.

on the night you were born

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“On the night you were born,

the moon smiled with such wonder

that the stars peeked in to see you

and the night wind whispered,

‘Life will never be the same.’

Because there had never been anyone like you…

ever in the world.

So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain

that they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

The sound of your name is a magical one.

Let’s say it out loud before we go on.”

Joseph

“It sailed through the farmland

high on the breeze…

Over the ocean…

And through the trees…

Until everyone heard it

and everyone knew

of the one and only ever you.”

–Nancy Tillman