grief, Infant loss, love in loss

365

365 days have passed.

One mighty revolution around the sun.

And here I am, the same day, one year later.

 

People might think June 3, 2017

Was the worst day of my life.

 

Never.

 

I spent too much time with you,

Too many memories,

For this day to be shrouded in gray.

 

You were such color!

Remember this day, Elliot?

How you clung to my fingers

With your blue-mitt hands?

 

How I sang to you the same two songs

Over and over?

A Mommy/Son date.

 

Remember this day, Elliot?

When the nurse took off your glasses?

We played peek-a-boo

And I finally saw your eyes.

Open, close, open, close

As I dropped drips of milk on your tongue.

2017 Baby Elliot 135

No, though this is the day that took you away,

It’s not completely gray.

 

June 4 pierced me more,

Watching the social worker carry you away,

Covered in a blanket so people

Walking by her wouldn’t see

A dead baby.

 

Walking down those halls I’d lived in,

Down the elevator, out the door

Without YOU!

 

Driving home–my first time home

In eight weeks!–

Driving home, on that sunny, stupid warm day

Without YOU!

 

Coming home, entering home

Without you.

A crib set up for you.

A car seat still in its box, by the front door…

Waiting for you.

 

June 4 was worse.

 

And then June 5.

The girls were dropped off,

Me sitting on the upstairs couch,

Valerie, beautiful Val, bursting through the door,

“You had your baby!!”

Because that’s all she knew.

 

And then we had to tell them!

Oh, my son!

To tell your sisters

There would be no baby brother.

A deeper piercing than I had known,

So deep, so aching

For my two,

No, my three,

No, my FIVE children.

 

Sylvia’s tears, AGAIN,

Over a baby she loved and wanted

And who I couldn’t give her!

 

June 5 was worse.

 

And what parent ever expects what June 7 brought?

Four hours

Planning your funeral.

Picking your burial site.

Picking out your casket.

Picking out your headstone.

 

I remember how my postnatal body ached

As we stood in the hot sun

Trying to decide where to bury you.

A mama’s body still making milk,

Swollen feet after surgery,

Aching abdomen where they’d cut you out.

 

I hate June 7.

 

But then one week later,

June 14.

What do I do with it?

 

I held you before your funeral.

Sang to you.

Cried over you.

Kissed you.

Your skin was so, so cold.

Then I put you back in the casket,

Wrapped in the blanket I’d made,

Wearing the hat I had made.

I slipped a lock of my hair into your hands,

Because I have a lock of your hair, too.

 

And so many people

Loving people

Kind people

Surrounded us that day,

Cried with us and hugged us,

Reminding us we were not alone.

 

But as I drove away, your little casket

Atop a silvery stand,

Was the last thing I saw.

I will never forget

The feeling of knowing

That your beautiful body

Would be lowered into the ground,

And I’d never see you again in this life.

 

They might as well have buried my heart.

 

And many days since then

Have undone me completely.

I’ve fallen (literally) on the floor,

Again, and again, in disbelief

That you died.

 

Yet somehow a slip of strength

From Him and from you

Has found me and picked me up.

I guess that’s how I know

Christ has been here with me.

 

Otherwise I’d still be on the floor.

 

365 days from “He’s gone”

To now.

What does 365 days of weeping

Do to a person?

 

Perhaps I have more compassion.

 

Perhaps I have more perspective.

 

I definitely have more wrinkles.

 

I think I have less confusion over what really matters.

 

But the truth is, all I really want to have

Is you.

 

There’s been beauty in these 365 days.

Beauty in the people who’ve showed up.

They sent cards,

They sent flowers,

They made meals,

They texted,

They wrote,

They prayed.

 

Their comments on blog posts,

Their tears at missing you,

Their simple admission of, “I don’t know

What to say.”

 

These have been the bits of balm,

Of smoothing the cracks

Of a broken mother’s heart.

 

And these beautiful people

They didn’t stop when a week,

A month,

A season went by.

 

They are the steadfast,

The touches of God

When I can’t quite feel Him yet.

They are with me still,

And will be as years and decades pass.

 

They make me want to be beauty for others.

 

One mighty revolution around the sun.

How many revolutions until I see you again?

 

For you, I hope no time at all.

For you, I hope just timeless joy

Wrapped in Jesus’ Light.

 

Your bright life is a reminder

To be, like Jesus,

Light in the midst of darkness,

Hope in the throes of despair,

Love in the muck of indifference.

 

I’ll try, my sweet boy.

I’ll try to live brightly

For as many revolutions as I have left.

 

And as a new revolution begins,

As days 366, 367, 368

And all the rest come,

I will remember the color

You washed over us all.

3 thoughts on “365”

  1. Heidi, thank you so much for sharing this post. My heart has been grieving with your family. You all have been on my mind and in my prayers as I have been remembering Elliot’s journey. You are a beautiful and precious mom. All of your children are blessed by you as you honor each of them. Thank you for living so authentic. I love you.

    Like

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