Gradually my memory of him, of the way he smelled, the feel of him in my arms has slipped away from me. You wouldn’t think a mother could forget this, and yet to see me, you wouldn’t think of me as a mother either.
If there is a theme of 7 years, it is the theme of memory. What we remember and what we forget and how we manage this – how we allow ourselves to live in this world, when the very heart of us is in the next.
Quietly, without realizing it, my memory of Gabe has adjusted. Without ever being here he has grown up in my mind. That morning this September when I thought about sending him to first grade, the moments when I see a red haired child and my heart absolutely clenches. It contracts, on well, nothing. It cannot clench on anything, it has been so very long since he was here. It’s like closing your fist against sand, you can’t hold it.
And still, I tell you that it can’t be nothing. This is 7 years. At 10:26 tonight he came, and some time before 11 he slipped away, cradled in my arms. If the weight, the feel and smell of him are gone, the feelings, the pain and the sorrow – for today at least – they are still very much here. The feelings of that day, and every day since then, they weigh on me. My heart clenches on the memory of a life that was never fully lived.
That clench of my heart means something. Even if there is nothing real to clench against, there is still something: feeling and maybe memory. When all the memory fades, when I cannot close my eyes and see his face; if a time comes that I do not remember the sorrow or the abiding love, when I cannot remember the marvel of looking over every inch of him, amazed at what Owen and I had created, when I cannot remember those things, I will remember this –
That I loved him. That he was mine. Carried underneath my heart, loved from the moment we knew of him. That he is not here and I wish he was.
And when I cannot see his face anymore, it will not matter. In every way that matters, he is always with me.
Happy Birthday little boy. I miss you still.
Dear friends and loved ones,
With great joy and heartbreak, we wish to announce: at 10:26 PM on December 10, 2007, Gabriel Anton was born into the hands of Cathy, his midwife, sang to in the arms of his mother, rocked in the arms of his father, bathed in the arms of his grandmother, and baptized in the arms of Regula, his Parish Priest.
At just after 11 PM, he was carried to Heaven in the arms of the Angels, where we will meet him again one day. At 520 grams (1 pound 2.4 ounces), and 33 cm (13 inches) he was wee, with 10 fingers and toes, and a full head of hair. He was a perfect, but very tiny baby.
For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart. Luke 12:34