It has been a musical weekend, starting on Friday with the restaurant. It was all the old songs that you always mean to put on your iPod, and then you forget about your intentions as soon as the song is over.

On Saturday, Mr. Spit bought Rock band for his new (old) PS3. As I type this, I can hear him banging away on the drums.

My mother and I went to the theater tonight, to see a performance called Three Mo’ Tenors. They did a mix of opera and show tunes and Motown and R and B and some spirituals.

They sang the song I sang to Gabe upon his birth. It’s not a particularly common song, and I was surprised to hear it. Apprehensive and pleased. Comforted.

I suppose that there was a wide variety of music that I could have sung to Gabriel. The entire text of the mass in Latin. Hymns. The Connemara lullaby, Brahms Lullaby, You are My Sunshine, any one of a number of pieces. I am not particularly musical, but I have enough music in my head that I could have picked any one of a number of pieces.

It’s not like I had it planned – this singing bit. It’s not like I had spent any time thinking about what I might sing this child of mine. In fact, I hadn’t thought I would sing at all. I’ve sung in choirs, but I wouldn’t call myself a singer. I don’t sing in the shower, while I work, I don’t sing much at all. I can’t say that I planned to sing, and still, when I think about taking him in my arms and singing to him, I am a bit surprised. It just doesn’t seem like something I would do. And however natural I am told that I looked, I crook my head to the side and think “really?”.

My midwife handed me my son, and I cradled him in my arms. Sitting on the ground, not very far from where I had pushed him into this world, I looked into his face, staring at him, this mixture of Mr. Spit and I. I looked at the hand peeking out of the blankets, staring at his long fingers.

For just a few moments, in that room full of people, in that room full of emotion and pathos and tragedy too close for comfort – for just a few moments in such a very fine line between this world and the next, the terrible and harrowing battle between good and evil- there was only Gabriel and I.

Horror and pain and sorrow and terror would come. Exhaustion and numbness and agony would overtake me, leaving me bereft and destroyed, only slowly coming back to life one year later. But in those moments, seconds after birth, I have never been more aware and mindful and present. In that time, I was fully with Gabriel, and no sorrow and pain could touch us. There was only him and I.

And out of my mouth came an African-American spiritual. A song of lament. A song about dying. A song about slavery, and pain, and hope.

A mother singing her son into the world and out of it.

Some body’s calling my name.
Oh My Lord.
Oh My Lord.
What shall I do?

And for five minutes tonight, in a theater full of people, I could go back there. There was only him and I.


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27 Responses to Hush

  1. yummysushipajamas says:

    this post was gorgeous and made me cry. thank you for sharing such a precious moment.

  2. Tash says:

    Really beautiful, Mrs. Spit. Just beautiful.

    I sang (and believe, I *don’t* sing) to Bella all the time. Full blown rock, soft lullabies, humming piano etudes my mother used to play while I was falling asleep. I didn’t sing at all to Maddy. I couldn’t make it through a single line without breaking down. A harp player came through the NICU one day and stopped by us to play something and I actually had to tell her to move on. I think in my head I didn’t want to associate any song with her because I knew it just come back to haunt me. So I read to her instead, and books and words are my triggers — bad, and good.

  3. Martha says:

    I can think of no greater comfort or expression of love than what you just described. Thank you, Mrs.Spit. God Bless you all.

  4. Bluebird says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. Your words create the perfect image of motherly love – I can just picture it.

    My blog is actually named after the song that reminds me of our babies. Its not terribly unique or meaningful but, like you said – it was completely unplanned and just “happened.” It wasn’t a song I sang until they had been gone a few weeks – but its still their song now. I wonder how many others have similar stories. Music is so powerful.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Banana says:

    Beautiful post, made me cry too.

  6. mlg- believe N miracles says:

    I also remember holding my daughters, and it was just Beckett, Amelianna and I, I too was so aware of the present.

  7. Leslee says:

    I’m crying too… what a beautiful post, what a beautiful song. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. I’ll hold it in my heart forever.

    After reading, I did a search and found a beautiful version of this song:

  8. Ya Chun says:


    (I am trying to guess if the ever-gracious Mrs. Spit kept it together or wailed along with the spiritual. I think I may have drowned out the singers in such a situation)

    I thinks it is truly wonderful that Gabe got to hear your voice in his time with you. It was probably a true comfort.

  9. alicia says:

    It sounds like a beautiful song. I am glad you got to experience that moment again.

  10. Peeveme says:

    Amazingly touching, my Dear.

  11. Brown Owl says:

    Thank you Mrs.S for sharing this very special memory with us.

    In desolate times and places many hearts cry to God of their own volition in song.

    We rock and we croon in wordless melody of our pain and hope and despair. The pain in your heart and soul reaching with familiar words for comfort.

    When mom lay dying for all those weeks, I sang and sang and sang to her. Carols, hymns, old favorites and nursery rhymes. My dad sang her songs of their youth and young love and 60 years of memories. Each note a plea to God for comfort, solace,peace.
    How special then that a young Mom should whisper to her new son of God’s love and soothe him with a soft – Hush.


  12. Aunt Becky says:

    What a beautiful post, Mrs. Spit. I can picture you right there, holding sweet baby Gabe. Just the two of you together.


    I’m holding you both in my arms and heart today.

  13. Two Hands says:

    I’m not sure I can write a response that makes any sense because there are no words to describe the feeling. No voice was ever used for a truer and more beautiful purpose than when yours opened up in song for your son.

  14. Hope's Mama says:

    I know what you mean. It was just Hope and I as well. Nothing else mattered in that moment.

  15. JamieD says:

    You painted a precious and beautiful scene in my mind.

    I am glad you were pleased and comforted by it.

  16. Amy says:

    Your words move me, Mrs. Spit. Beautiful.

  17. Susan says:

    What a fortunate boy Gabriel is: to live in heaven with those beautiful words in his heart and mind. You are amazing.

  18. Dreams Come True says:

    That just made me cry. As others have said, thank you for sharing such a beautiful moment. Hugs to you.

  19. Sue says:

    I’m weeping. This is such a beautiful post; thank you for sharing such a precious moment. Just so precious.

  20. ..... Carmen says:

    I read this post earlier in the day today at work, and it made me pause and be silent for a minute. Another beautiful post.

  21. Mr. Spit says:

    My love,

    Once again you have painted a mural from only enough paint for a postcard. Truly a beautiful post. Your skill with words is inspiring.

    I find comfort in knowing that our son came into the world and left in an atmosphere of love. However much his death hurts, we were able to give him an honorable life.

  22. Seraphim says:

    Oh Mr and Mrs Spit. Just my tears, and thank you for sharing your journey with us. Thank you.

  23. jess says:

    What a heartbreakingly beautiful pice of writing this is.

    I’m so so sorry for your loss. I know there’s nothing I can say.. I’m so glad your son got to hear your voice.

  24. CLC says:

    I cherish these moments. Beautiful post, as always Mrs. Spit.

  25. Donna says:

    It’s amazing how a simple song can take you back to a place where you so desperately want to go. ((HUGS))

  26. Dalene says:

    This is so beautiful, Mrs. Spit. I sang for Baker when he was in utero, and I managed to sing with a clear voice for his memorial service…I wanted him to hear me.

  27. B says:

    Those moments. When something revisits you…. takes you back to that time outside of time. They could make you weep with gratitude and love.

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