Some years this post comes easily. Some years it is written in June. Not this year. This was written last week.
This summer as the pregnancy memories in Facebook started showing up, I turned the notifications off, one by one. They won’t show in my daily memories anymore; startling me out of the ordinary life I’ve built.
In October I got confused about whether today was Gabriel’s 12th or 13th birthday. Well, actually, I wasn’t confused. I was quite sure that this would have been 13. I was also quite wrong. It’s 12.
I pondered, late in the fall, if I should be upset over this. Has time and distance from his death made me forget? Made me love him less?
Here’s the truth: the best of me lives tucked between my heart and my lungs. He is safe, if away from me. In a place where I cannot see him, I carry him with me.
About the time this post publishes, I will get up, I will drink my coffee, kill some zombies in a stupid phone game, walk the dog, get dressed and drive into work. I will go to a few meetings, grab lunch at noon. A follow up medical appointment for my cold. Writing a final report. It will be ordinary.
I will navigate through today and no one will know that there was a baby. No one will know that my life almost looked so very different. No one will know that 12 years ago hope and joy died and left me shattered and broken. For a brief moment, I was a mother. He was extraordinary.
Ordinary. Extraordinary. And the places they meet.
After you sing your son lullabies while he suffocates to death and dies; you live without fear. From the bottom of your soul, you know that there is nothing anyone could ever do to you that will cut so deep. There is nothing else to take from you.
You watch out for others. You become part of the race that knows Joseph. The group that walks into dark and hard places. You hold up your heart, the part that most don’t see. The part that has a jagged piece ripped out. And you tell others it’s a long road back, but they will find joy again.
Tonight I will put a candle in a piece of birthday cake. I will sing Gabriel happy birthday for the 12th time. I will post a photo. A reminder that he was here. I was his mother.
Even if you never see it, I carry him with me. Everywhere. Always.
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