You stride over in the midst of a public event to get a peek. My twin car seats and cute toddler dancing around command a lot of attention like that. You ooh and ah, asking about age, gender, giving a compliment or two. As we talk, you learn that all my children were premature but turned out fine. I am blessed, they grow so fast, enjoy it while I can, you advise me.
You think I don’t see the quiet pain under your smile. There’s a sad soreness on your shoulders, like your arms ache for someone. Horrific memories flash over your eyes. Your ears still strain to hear a voice that never was. This sort of grief feels isolated from the rest of reality, but I see. It’s the same for me.
As full as my arms are now, they still ache for the one I couldn’t keep. I still fight the flashbacks when I smell the sterile odor of a hospital. It is now easier to cope with the shrieking silence of cries that should have been there, now I have three other voices in my house. Still, there are moments when I struggle to breathe. Then there are the questions when I see that another baby with the same condition, same weight, or same gestation was able to survive. Why not mine?
I wish I could hug you, tell my story, listen to yours, and cry a while. What was his name? How old? Did he look like you? What do you treasure most of his memory? I want to know.
Time and place do not permit such interaction. I go on tending to my blessings. You dab your eyes in a corner across the room and move on. We may never meet again.
All I can do is pray for you and hope for the days when our grief ends. You may believe that I don’t know how good I’ve got it.
But I see.
This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”