Fierceness Written Within

They didn’t know where it came from – this calm fierceness.

All they saw was the woman who got up, dumped out last night’s scotch, made coffee, ate her cereal out of a plastic bowl. Went back out to face another day of grad school. They hated her for it, some of them.

Sitting on my bed in the morning, legs dangling over the side, staring into a coffee cup, she remembered.

Horrible sounds that came from a broken heart. The moment her eyes could not cry any more, but grief still remained. Sitting on the kitchen floor, unable to move, for most of day. The moment she could not make a cake because she could read the directions but something was so broken she couldn’t comprehend.

And this? This with longer days and work and deadlines? I went and found this two years after those terrible moments. I found a software implementation project and I worked and I worked and I worked. I worked until my broken heart knit back together, until comprehension returned. Until I could find my way back to the light.

They only see her.

They do not see you, my little boy. With my red hair and your father’s hazel eyes. Our freckles. They do not know about you. When they ask if this is hard, if I have cried, what shall I tell them? That 9 years ago today I held you for half an hour and I sang you a lullaby and you gasped for breath in my arms and you died.

My heart lives in 2 places. The best of me, my single greatest and most profound achievement never opened his eyes. But I call you Gabriel and you are our baby.

Sometimes, with some of them, I held out my hands. I told them that a very long time ago I did a hard thing, and that hard things change you. Scar tissue is stronger than skin. These terrible things, these hard things, they make you. Maybe, if they were very lucky, this would be their hard thing and they would find light on the other side.

Some day, when it is hard for everyone around them, they will be calm and they will be fierce. It will be built on love and pain and sorrow and a short moment of exquisite joy. And nothing will frighten them anymore.

They will understand -the broken and the fierce- it comes from what lives in the space between our heart and our lungs. We hold it there because it is what we love and how we breathe.

What lives in that space is the most amazing light and wonder you could ever hope to see in a dark place. It defines us.

And you define me.

Even still.

Happy Birthday little boy,


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

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5 Responses to Fierceness Written Within

  1. sandra says:

    Cheryl. No words. Just a hug.

  2. Ms. Fab says:

    On this day a tiny angel arrived and graced the world with his presence. He was held in the arms of his two parents for only a brief time. Yet the love brought into this world by Gabriel and shared with his parents stays strong. On this special day, Gabe’s birthday, the love that was born is remembered. The love that is you Gabe, will shine brighter today.
    Thinking of you and Mr. Spit and Gabe today. Holding you closer and tighter in my heart today and remembering Gabriel.

  3. a says:

    Thinking of you…

  4. loribeth says:

    Remembering your dear little boy with you. <3

  5. Naomi Miller says:

    Such a beautiful post. Your capacity for love and compassion towards others at a time when you would have every right to only be thinking of yourself and your precious Gabriel is truly remarkable. Wishing you and your husband strength and peace.

    Best wishes,


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