A long time ago, maybe two years or so, I tried to write down Thomas' birth story. Partly because I'd never told it here in its entirety, partly because I didn't want to forget any of the details, and partly because that's what new mothers do and I didn't want to be left out.
I started and the words came easily enough, but they wouldn't stop. And each one tore at my heart because I knew how the story was going to end, and no matter how much I wrote, the end would never be the one I wanted to write. Forcing myself to relive, in exacting detail, the days and hours leading up to his birth just reminded me of how quickly things went wrong. How suddenly he was snatched from us. How little warning we had.
The last words I said to My Beloved before the earth gave way beneath our feet were, "Soon we're going to see our little boy."
We were that close. That close.
And suddenly it just somehow didn't seem to make sense to tell the story in great detail. Or, to tell it at all.
He was born and he died. Does it matter how?
God - I mean, of course it matters. Everything about him matters, but what purpose does it serve to write it all down? What good will it do me? Or you? Or My Beloved?
So I saved the unfinished draft, and it remains buried in the list of post titles, somewhere back there.
At the time, I was deeply disappointed with myself for not being able to finish the story. I added it to my list of failures and went to bed with a heavy heart that night.
But I think very differently about it now.
Now I'm not so sure it would be all that terrible to forget some of the awful detail I was struggling to capture on paper. Because I don't know what earthly good it does to remember it. It doesn't fix anything. It doesn't bring him back. And it certainly doesn't make me feel better.
People always say that you forget the agony of childbirth the moment you hold your brand new baby in your arms.
Should I be made to hold onto the agony of mine simply because my child isn't here any longer?
It's just another confusing thing to wrestle with when your child dies. The rules change for you. What others cherish and try to remember, you sometimes struggle to forget; torn because sometimes it's all you have of your child.
Things are different for us. It's the way it is. Trying to pretend otherwise will make you crazy.
In truth, I know will never forget giving birth to Thomas. Or the days before or the days after. But I know for a fact that what has helped me heal and what has kept me moving forward is focusing on the boy, not on the tragedy. Of course they're inextricably linked to each other, I realize that. But I can choose to what degree I make that link.
Granted, it's easier now with time and distance my constant companions in this epic journey, but it still sometimes takes effort to keep my love for Thomas and my grief over losing him in their separate corners when I need them to be.
But I make the effort, because that's when I most feel like he's my son and I'm his mother. It's when he's most real to me. It's when I can best feel his sweet spirit in my heart and in my life.
He is not my grief.