I showed my best friend pictures of Thomas today - ones she hadn't seen before. She looked at the first one, a shot of him not long after he was born, and she started to cry. I understand completely, but it still made me so sad. I know it's not an easy thing to do. Looking at a picture of a tiny little boy hooked up to a million machines with wires running from virtually every part of him is difficult, and even more so when you know it's one of just a handful of photos of him alive, but it still made me sad.
I wish, so much, that thinking about him and looking at photos of him didn't make people sad. It's just another one of the horrible side-effects of this kind of loss, I suppose. No one can think of him without sadness.
I can, when I try hard enough. I can remember him poking and kicking and rolling and hiccuping, and I can smile. He used to get the hiccups all the time and I'd feel so helpless because all I could do was rub my belly and talk softly to him. I don't know if ever helped, but it was all I could do. Who knew that was just the smallest fraction of the helplessness I'd feel as a Mother?
I remember those times so well - like it was yesterday. I used to love to lay awake at night after getting up to go to the bathroom (for the 9 millionth time) and feel him moving. It was just the two of us, awake and together in a quiet, dark world that it seemed only he and I were aware of. I was so content because with each movement he showed me he was alive and well and strong, and I could relax, sink into the bed and just be with him.
I miss that. I miss him so much. I feel so alone sometimes - so literally alone and empty. I know he's missing, my body knows he's missing and sometimes that emptiness is like feeling every single part of me screaming out in agony. Sometimes I put my hand on my stomach and just go numb. It all feels so unreal. It's like it was another person who carried that precious boy - sometimes I think it MUST have been another person because if it was me he'd be here in my arms.
But I know it was me. And I know I'm empty.
And I also know I have to carry on. I'm not alone. I have my beloved, who loves me more than I ever thought anyone could. He watches me, helps me and pulls me out of harm's way when he senses the sorrow is about to devour me. He lost what I did and we are united in our grief. No one understands me the way he does because he lost Thomas too. His heart broke the same day mine did.
So I understand why my friend cried. Clearly I can't think or talk about Thomas without being engulfed in sorrow either, but I live in hope that one day it won't hurt this much. I live in hope that one day my heart will stop breaking over and over and over again.