On Saturday night, for no other reason that it suddenly occurred to me that I wanted to, I posted an album of Thomas-related photos on Facebook.
I think the idea sparked to life after I saw a picture Loribeth posted there of the beautiful plaque on her sweet baby girl's niche. It was such an intimate and lovely thing to see, and it allowed me to know her just a little bit more than I had before, which is something so precious when you're talking about a baby that has died. There isn't much to know - that's the unfortunate truth. Every little thing is to be cherished.
So I set about digging through my photos with a strange sort of urgency and excitement. Having suddenly discovered that it was the right time to share all those sweet memories of my pregnancy and Thomas' short life, I couldn't wait to post the pictures.
I was, if you squinted and looked at just the right angle, going to be almost normal - just like any mom who posts pictures of her pregnancy, nursery, and the baby that followed on Facebook.
You know, normal but for the part in the photo essay where you see a grave marker - and stop seeing pictures of the baby.
Details, details, details.
It took an hour or so to choose, download and caption the photos.
Dozens of kind, loving thoughts now litter the comment section below the album - words I will carry in my heart forever because they are so heartfelt and so loving. That wasn't a surprise (I'm friends with some really, really great people) - it was my reaction that caught me off guard.
I was touched. Happy. Grateful.
And then, somehow, confused. Because in the midst of reveling in the joy of hearing people say what a lovely boy he was, and how much they appreciated the album, and how hard it must have been for me to post it, I started feeling a slow, creeping kind of sadness.
My boy - my story - disturbs people. It makes them uncomfortable and sorry and sad.
Which, I mean - duh. Of course it does. Of course.
But somehow in the midst of my photo posting frenzy, I kind of forgot that bit. I was thisclose to being normal - posting pictures of me pregnant and smiling, of My Beloved painting the nursery, of me cutting the cake at my shower - and my excitement at doing a regular old thing like sharing baby photos with friends made me forget that we aren't really regular people anymore.
My balloon didn't burst, exactly. But the slow leak did it in just the same.
I feel a bit foolish for having tricked myself the way I did. I look back and see a crazed woman madly scouring her photo archives with reckless abandon and unbridled glee, totally oblivious to the crash that was of course going to come - and I'm amazed at her naivete.
After more than five and a half years you'd think I'd know better. I mean, really.
But still, the brief feeling of normalcy was quite nice. And, in the end, totally worth it.
And besides, I'm glad that my friends might now feel that they know Thomas a tiny bit better than they did before - just like I feel a lovely sort of peace and closeness for knowing Loribeth's Katie just that much more now too.