Ten years on, it is a strange thing to celebrate your child’s birth and mourn their death. You receive texts and calls and messages from friends. You are reminded that you do not mourn alone.
But you go and live an ordinary life. Do a load of laundry. Put gas in the car. Write Christmas cards. Submit your thesis. Talk to your neighbour.
You remember, as you are driving to meet your ex for dinner, that you forgot to put more kleenex in your purse and you wonder what will happen when you go and sing happy birthday to your son, just like you always do.
The first year, you couldn’t get any of the words out.
This year? You sang the entire song. There were tears in your eyes. You blinked them away.
For years, today was hard. It was the re-integration to the other part of my life. This year it was different because I spent yesterday in both houses.
It seems like it was only last week that he died.
And also a life time ago.
I left the hospital on December 12 of 2007. There was a couple as we were leaving, the nurses were checking to make sure that the baby was correctly seated in a car seat. We slipped past the nurses as they were distracted. I had no luggage, no balloons, no flowers. My few things were in a plastic bag, given to me because I came to the hospital without packing a bag. I had no baby and no idea what I would do next.
I thought about waiting until Tuesday to submit my thesis. I thought about driving to the parking lot of that hospital, tethering my laptop to my phone and sending it from there.
I was so very lost ten years ago. Broken, inconsolable.
I’m bi-cameral now. I live in two places. Most of me lives here. Here, where I do laundry and I write a thesis for my MBA and I sit with a junior consultant as she prepares for her first big facilitation gig.
Also there. That space out of time, a space where my son and I were together. I carry a pocket of grief with me, an enduring sadness.
Almost no one will know. That’s ok. I’ve made my peace with it. They will not know that I am a mother, that my dearest love is not with me.
And I live in two places.