“Love to be real, it must cost...it must hurt...it must empty us of self.” (Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
I went for a walk today. I didn’t want to go. It was cold. Gloomy. Windy. The sky, overshadowed by gray clouds. I begged for sunshine as the harsh wind pushed against my body. But it was nowhere to be found today.
The air outside matched with my inner temperament...I was feeling numb. Not angry. Not too anxious. Not really sad. I just wasn’t feeling anything.
But I knew I needed to feel you.
I’ve been hesitating going to your grave. It’s been weeks. January was such a hard month, and I can’t believe a new one has arrived. I wasn’t running from you. I just wasn’t running to you.
The other day, while at work, I almost felt you begging me to just stop and look at your picture on my desk. So I did. And for the first time in months, I cried so hard in my office. (Look at me Mom. Look at me.) I was busy, and I was trying to stay that way, because I NEEDED a break from the unbearable grief, which had been pounding me for weeks on end.
I’ve realized that I don’t look at your picture as often as before, since removing it from my home screen on my phone. I replaced it with a picture of me, full of life with your little brother, while your living siblings crowded around me and held a framed portrait of you. Because that’s all we have, isn’t? Or do we have more?
I couldn’t help but feel that day, in my office, that I’ll never know you like I know them. In one week and two days you will have been gone for as long as you were with me. How can that be? How has time stretched so far and so long, yet so fast and so quickly? Carrying you those 38 weeks felt so much longer than these past 38 weeks of grieving your death. I counted down every week of having you in my arms. Now, I just count the minutes, the hours, and the days to get through another week without you.
When I stepped outside the front door this afternoon, I walked half way down the sidewalk, then turned around. Do I really want to go? YES. I do. I knew I needed to find you.
I moved down the streets in silence, listening to my thoughts and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. Occasionally, a flock of sparrows would delight my ears, as well. As I moved with each step in the cold air, my body moved closer to your body. Each step brought me one step closer to your grave. And I was miserable. But it was worth it. It was worth getting to you, no matter how hard it was.
My 26 week pregnant body walked with a purpose and a determination, despite my Braxton Hicks contractions, because I needed to get to you. The desire was deep and so present that I couldn’t escape it. I was forcing myself to do something so difficult, for the sake of love. For my love for you.
Going to your grave cuts me deep. It’s so final. It’s such a reality check. It proves that our world fell apart. It validates my grief. It shows that you are not in my arms. Even as I was 50 feet within you, my eyes filled with tears.
I’m sorry I haven’t brought you fresh flowers in a month. I’m sorry I haven’t made the choice to do this one hard thing since then, either. I just get so angry. Why do you have to be there?
As I finally apparoached your resting place, and saw that someone else has been placed next to you, I gave you my heart. I poured out my sorrow. My longing. My confusion. My anger. My hurt. My disappointment. My anxiety. My fear. And I felt like you heard me, with such wisdom. My tears fell, and I shook my head in disbelief. How can the body of my baby that once lived within me, that laid so still in my arms, lay in there?
And in my mind I envisioned you in the dress we buried you in, purchased by your godmother. And I wished we had more pictures. More time. More memories. And I stayed until the pain lessened and wasn’t so intense. So all consuming.
As I walked away, I still felt you with me. Within me. I found you.
As I walked away, I thought about this pregnancy and your little brother. I have so many fears. So much anxiety. But I felt you challenge me to not put your destiny on his. You have your own story. And he has his own story, too. I told you that I would bring him to visit you after he was born...that we would come to your grave together. I want him to know you, too.
Will I find you in him? Will he help me to know you? What will his purpose, his existence, his vocation be? Since he is here, because you are not?
I also thought of how I could have lost you so early on, because my progesterone was so low. But the medicine helped my body to carry you those 38 weeks, and I’m so thankful for that. Because in the end, I got to see you. And hold you. And admire your beauty. My sleeping beauty...truly you were. And it was worth it to discover the person you became. And the person your life is changing me to be.
I miss you with every fiber of my being. The longing is still so primal and so deep. If I’m being honest, I wish you were here. I will never stop wishing for that.
But I need you to reveal yourself to me, little one. Help me to find you...in the wind. In the air. In the birds. In life. In love. In the Lord. Help me to find you. Help me to know you. I will never stop looking. Never stop trying. Never stop loving.
I will love you forever.