The world

Not knowing that I needed to protect my baby boy until he was already out of my reach

The flowers on my kitchen table, which aren’t good enough, and how no toy is the “one” that reminds me of him

Holding him for 2 hours and not for 2 days or 2 years or 2 decades or 2 lifetimes

A priest (I dislike) meeting him while his aunts and uncles did not

Picking out a wooden bed for him and learning the ins and outs of funeral homes and cemeteries

Sitting here in a folding chair at his grave and not his high school graduation

My friends and loved ones who squeeze their babies tight at night and think how lucky they are that their baby is alive, and they do it because he died

The stretch marks and the deflated bulge in my stomach, which say I have had a baby, but I don’t have one I can hold

the milk my full breasts offer, with no one to drink it

the painted walls in the bedroom and the crib I must return

My mind sometimes telling me he is still there, and my hand sometimes laying where he laid for so many months

Waiting for his due date, another reminder that he died

The reality that I can talk to him but he will never respond

and that someone else gets to be his mommy while I am on the earth

and that I won’t get to spend time with him until I am dead too

Sadness all that time out of the blue, and no easy explanation for the stranger on the street or in the store or on the job

Knowing I could cry so much and so hard and he never will come back to me

Having no one to blame but myself,

having no thing to blame for his death

rationalizing that even if I did have something to blame, it wouldn’t be fair

fearing that if I blame god, I will hate him for the rest of my life and never speak to him again…and what if I need him

Reality. This could happen again and I wouldn’t see it coming

Sharing more with my therapist about my dreams for him than I ever got to share with him

My family who can’t understand what I’m feeling every second of the day

My mother…the picture of Calvin on her shelf next to her other grandchildren will never change, even though their pictures will change

and she may take his picture down one day

and she doesn’t ask me how I’m feeling anymore

and my brother has twin babies just a few months older than Calvin

and I have to see my parents kiss all over them at every family event

and I must work to find the energy to see them, my family, because they are all still happy and I am not

The email two months later that reads, “How’s that baby project of yours coming along?” and

the person three months later that says, “I didn’t think you’d be here. Did you bring the baby with you?”

and the depression that sets in after I read that email or hear that question

The family that invades my space in the airport with their baby and toddler daughter and can’t read my mind (or my face) that there are 10 open and available spaces for them to park themselves while they wait for their flights and god damn it, why did they have to pick the seats across from me?

The colleague who tells me she is pregnant minutes after I tell her how sad I still feel

pretending to be happy for her

pretending to be happy for 2 women who are newly pregnant that I know

Being sad and crying and sometimes it feels so heavy and thick it will never end

The huge clot of horrible feeling sitting in my chest day after day

My husband who is increasingly overprotective and who (unconsciously, unintentionally) makes me feel guilt and blame and shame for all that happened

knowing this will eat at us if we get pregnant again

Having to spend the rest of my life mourning a child

Feeling guilty for thinking how horrible mourning someone forever will be

Feeling so worthless at work

People who ask if I have kids

and feeling sympathy for them when they ask because I know my answer is will make them uncomfortable

and getting the blank stare when I answer that my son died

Having to tell anyone what happened

Feeling so ashamed I just want to hide in my home for the rest of my life and not see anyone else ever

Simultaneously wanting and not wanting people to know I had a baby and he died

Having only an album of pictures and a handful of memories to remember my son

The impossibility of finding myself pregnant again

of getting through that pregnancy without substantial fear and stress

of having something so easy to dream about come true

The anger I want to let go and the anger I can’t let go

My limited hope of finding happiness again

 

This poem was written six months after my son, Calvin, was born still.

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