Your Month Arrived
“In the marvellous month of May when all the buds were bursting, then in my heart did love arise... Then did I reveal to her my yearning and longing. In the month of May...” (Heinrich Heinen)
I meant to start this last week...partially, I did. The thoughts have been swimming around my mind prior to May 1. But exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and keeping up with your newly born little brother have prevented me from finding time to write. I think I’ve also been putting it off, because a big part of me (a major part of me) wants to live in denial that May has arrived. And now, it’s almost halfway through.
I remember May of last year...May 2017, where my world was filled with anticipation. Although your due date was June 4, I knew it was a very real possibility that you could be born in May if you chose to come even a little early. I was focused on winding down my tasks at work, the school year ending for your siblings, and was anxiously awaiting your arrival (Baby #5...would you be a boy or a girl?). Something in me knew we wouldn’t make it to the end of May. In fact, so much anxiety would rise up in me, and I would internally panic, when I would look ahead to the end of May. I could feel something looming over me, and I was just so ready for you to come out before something went wrong. My intuition was apparently preparing me for the worst unexpected news of my life.
Looking back to Mother’s Day last year...it was our last weekend together as a family. Your Daddy gave me a necklace with five fresh water pearls (one for each of my babies), which I wore so proudly that weekend and the many days to follow. We went to mass for the 100th anniversary of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, attended a wedding, and I ate pineapple in the hopes that it would get you out. This weekend marks a year for those events, and now I don’t think Mother’s Day will ever look the same.
You won’t ever plan breakfast for me with your brothers and sisters. You won’t make me cards, give extra hugs that day, or have special events with me at school. Mother’s Day will always be a reminder that I am a mother of five on earth and one in heaven. That one of my six children cannot be seen, and that there is an incredible ache deep within me that leaves me speechless. That there is a gaping void that will never be filled, because you will always be gone. One of my children will always be missing. How do you mother a child in heaven, anyway? I’m trying, and I can’t figure it out.
May...it brings so much. The month of our Blessed Mother. The month of Mother’s Day. The month of my birthday...just one week after your’s. Last year, one week after you died, was the worst birthday of my life. I didn’t want to celebrate my life. You had just been taken from me.
May...The month you died, were delivered silently, and were buried. The month we said hello and goodbye. The month I walked away from you and went home with empty arms. The month you were placed behind a granite wall. The month of the rest of my life forward without you. The month my nightmare began.
Your little brother was due to arrive this weekend on May 12; but instead, he came early and claimed April as his own. When I found out I was pregnant for him, I hoped his arrival would redeem the month of May and some how make the month “better.” But as my pregnancy for him progressed, I sensed within me that my body wouldn’t make it to May, and I became okay with that. For his arrival has not taken away the pain of losing you or minimized my grief. April is for him. May, and all it brings, is for you.
The days are so hard, and I’m surprised by the weight of my grief. I’m having flashbacks to the day we found out your heart was no longer beating and all the moments that have followed. Especially the “early days.” I sit on our bench outside, and I feel again. I stroll your brother and hear the birds and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin, and I remember. I feel the summer heat, the slow breeze, and I beg and remember. You are right there.
I see the hospital room. I see your stillness. I hear the silence. I feel the pain in the deepest parts of me. The anguish. The endless sorrow. The depths of my grief. It all feels so fresh and raw again.
Eleven more days. Eleven more days until it’s been a year. How have we survived? How have I continued living without you? How have I continued on without the warmth of your skin? The clutch of your finger grasping mine? The sensation of your heart beating against mine? The softness of your breath brushing against my face? How have I lived without the sound of your voice? Your laugh? Your toddling around our home? Your very breath sustaining mine?
How does life continue without you? Your absence is profound...even more so now that May has arrived.
And I feel so baffled...I grew new life within me since you’ve been gone, and that life now rests in my arms. I have him. But I don’t have you. And this is the first May of many Mays for the rest of my life where we will celebrate your life and your death. And I hate it. But at the same time I don’t...because it’s all I have of you.
I went to your grave for the first time today since Easter, which means it was the first time going to see you alone and without your little brother growing inside of me since August. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I completely fell to pieces. I had been crying for so long prior...I couldn’t explain it. The tears just finally rushed out. I couldn’t stop the current. They forged their way out and down and hard. I had no words. Only feelings and sadness. My heart...so broken over and over and over again. It continued to break as I walked towards your resting place. I leaned against the hot stone wall separating us, it barely holding me up. My wails were audible. My body half bent over. I was SOBBING in disbelief. My tears were falling fast and furiously onto the concrete sidewalk. It was like the first day, the first week, the first month all over again. I could see clearly what I lost...I could see your small body again. Knowing what it’s like to hold your brother...I remembered what it was like to hold you. And it broke me that I will never hold you again. How did my baby die? It’s all becoming so intensely real and tangible. Its crushing me.
It’s hard to explain the depths of the pain I feel. I just feel so much and it’s splitting me wide open. It’s hard to feel like I will ever recover. How do I do this? I need you to help me. I need you to show me.
Your Daddy asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. “I just want to be happy.” But we both know that is not possible. What about an ounce of joy? What about the gift of hope? What about a glimpse of healing? Because it will never be you...never.
May is here. And May hurts. Because May means you will be gone...forever...until we are reunited in heaven.