A few weeks ago in Costco, I picked up some markers for Gabe’s garden. Well, not marker’s really, more like solar lights.
No, that’s not a good place to start. That’s the bit about creating a memory garden and that’s the end.
Let me start here. I have been thinking of my miscarriages. I have been thinking, as I contemplate life without motherhood, of all of those children. All of those children who are not with me. Perhaps the immediacy of Gabriel’s death is so far gone that I can contemplate life that was with me for a blink of an eye. I am not always the woman that people see in front of them. Written in my heart are the stories of loving and losing, of seeking and finding.
No, that’s still not right.
Months ago, last summer, I was listening to CBC, and I was listening to a woman who built her family through donor eggs, and she talked about standing by the ocean and calling her baby forth. I was, and still am, struck by the awesome power in that statement, that notion. There is something profound, mysterious and beautiful in the idea that we have that much power. The image of that woman by the ocean, calling her child into being, it has stuck with me for months now. I return to it, turning it over. There is something wonderous about a woman standing by the ocean, pleading with God, the universe, anything to give her heart’s desire to her. There is something astonishing, something that makes your heart ache, at the notion that you are that honest, that upfront with the universe, that you trust so much in everything around you, that you believe words have the power to make it all come right. There is tremendous power if calling forth, in speaking into being, not a person, but a dream. It is an acknowledgement that we all must journey together, we are not in this thing called life alone.
I can go back to the markers now.
I don’t remember the dates of my miscarriages. I know, roughly, how long those babies stayed with Mr. Spit and I. I know that we wish every single one of them could have stayed. I know we would have loved them so.
I don’t often think about them. Not as separate entities. I don’t think about them outside of me, I don’t mark their lives. And suddenly, one day a few weeks ago, I was thinking that this was wrong. I was thinking that I had been honest with God, I had begged and pleaded and for brief moments, these children came to me. Some longer than others, but each time, for some time, we travelled together.
It is good to remember all of those we journey with. Whether that person is a baby in your womb, a friend for a bit, someone you work closely with for a season, someone you have loved all of your lives, sometimes people are plunged so deeply into our lives that they become deeply intertwined. And it’s good to remember, life is about the companionship. Life is about being involved, sharing time and space. This is what makes us so intensely, so intimately, so passionately human.
It is a sin to forget this, to deny heart space to those who become close to us. It is a denial of who God made us to be, it is a refudiation of everything that I believe to be true, a denial of who I am as a human to not mark those children. I am sorry that I did so. No, the loss was not as traumatic and painful as Gabriel, but they were children who were mine, and they deserve my heartspace. They deserve acknowledgement, memory, to be held in my memory, if not my arms.
And so, there I was at Costco, and I bought 4 solar lights. Gabriel’s garden will perhaps become a bit of a memory garden. An acknowledgement that there is Gabriel, that first child who spent so long with me, that we walked such a terrible-wonderful path with, but also that there were 4 other babies, sparks in my eye, children I shelter in my memory and cover in my love. Children who are not with us, other than in our memories, but children that travelled along life’s path all the same.
I chose markers with the ordinal directions of the compass, to remember – always pay heed to those with you, for however long.