I was only 6 years old at the time but the memory is just as fresh, as if it happened yesterday. I was a little girl in your class with big glasses and wiggly teeth, when I saw you for the last time.
My mom told me what happened, as gently as you tell a 6 year old girl, and we went to the store to pick out a small glass figurine of a little boy. My mom thought it might remind you of him.
I don’t remember his name.
I wish I did.
I spent all night last night trying to remember, but all I could remember is that it started with a T. His life, and his death have been in my mind for a majority of my life. I’ve thought of him and of you, for 26 years now.
I’ve wondered if you got home safely that day, and if someone drove you home. I’ve wondered if you have had other children since he died. I’ve wondered how your heart has managed to carry on with that “baby T” shaped hole missing. I’ve wondered if you have been an advocate for S.I.D.S in an effort to keep more babies alive. I’ve wondered if you and your husband were able to stay married through the grief. Grief and the loss of a child can rip a marriage to shreds. I’ve wondered about you all of my life.
I wonder about you even more, since I’ve lost my own baby.
Your loss and my loss happened differently. You held your son and you watched him grow. You rocked him, you fed him, you left him in someone else’s care, (just the same as my mother left me in yours) and although the loss of my baby happened differently, I share your pain.
I will never forget your face that day.
I can’t help but wonder if I was privledged in some strange way, to wonder about you for the rest of my life, because my attention to your pain, made me sensitive to the pain in others. I see hurting people everywhere, and for some reason my heart is often moved to try and fix it even when I know I can’t. I still want to try.
I hurt when people are hurting.
I see, and feel their pain.
If I see someone else crying, I will likely cry too, and it doesn’t seem to matter why they are crying. (When Kristen Bell cried over that sloth on the Ellen show…I cried too. I know, I’m ridiculous. I could care less about sloths, but she was crying…so I was crying. It’s what I do.)
I see your pain.
Even if I don’t tell you so, I promise I see it, I just don’t know if I should say so, or leave it be.
I see your pain when you try to wipe your eyes quickly, and hope that no one notices you have tears in your eyes.
I see your pain when you look down and avoid eye contact because your hurts are raw.
I see your pain when you hide behind your jokes, because I try to be funny when I’m hurting too.
I see your pain in the things you post on Facebook or the quotes you pin on Pinterest.
I see your pain, and when I see it, I pray for you, even if you may never know that.
I see you ma’am, walking down the street, and I wonder why you are crying.
I see you sir, sitting at the bus stop in the cold after a long day. Your face looks weathered and I wonder about your story.
I see you miss, with a stroller and an arm full of groceries as you struggle to wade through the snow in the dark. I don’t know if I should give you a ride, or if you would even trust me enough to get in the car. I wonder if you have enough food at home, and if you are safe there. I wonder if the baby in the stroller is yours and if the baby is being taken care of. I wonder if you both are getting cold.
I see you in the lobby at the hospital, with your hands clasped and your shoulders slumped. I wonder if you’ve just received bad news. Are you sick? Are you worried for a friend or loved one?
I see you when you want to come over more often than usual. I wonder if it’s because you don’t want to be at home. I don’t know whether I should ask if things are ok, or if I should just try and make you laugh while we are together in hopes it keeps your mind off of things for a little while. I see it in your eyes as soon as you walk in the door.
I see you in the pew at church, a few rows in front of me. I also see you in the pew to my left. You used to sing along with the hymns, you seemed to know every word. Now you don’t make a sound. It seems like it’s taking everything you have to stand up. You don’t even mouth the words these days. You just grip tightly to the pew in front of you. Your knuckles are turning white.
I see you.
I see your pain and I pray for you, because I don’t always know what to say.
Do you see me too?
Sometimes my tears are for you. I feel your pain.
|Photo by Edward A Bowden Sr.
This is when we lit a paper lantern on the one year anniversary of the loss of our baby.
My husband was praying before we let it go.