All the tests come back normal. My son was a perfectly healthy baby who inexplicably died mere minutes after his first breath. In some ways, the pathology reports make grieving easier: my body performed admirably, it did everything in its capacity right. In other ways, it makes it harder: there is no reason why my son should be dead. No cause to hang the tragedy on. No envelope to wrap the hurt in.
At times it is hard to not feel betrayed by God. Certain people were not happy when I first announced my pregnancy, insisting I had gotten myself in it deep, because I would not be able to handle it. It is easy to feel God sided with them. Like God gave me the blessing of my son, only to take him away to show me they were right. I was wrong to think I had what it took to be a mother. And I kick myself, because after all, I have been betrayed too many times already and I should have seen it coming… I hate feeling this way. It’s so ugly. I don’t want to blame God or be upset with Him. I want to believe He has a Plan. I want to believe I have more chances, that I was not weighed and measured and found lacking, and that should I eventually muster up enough courage to think about a future child, that one, too, will not pay the same price my beautiful son did. I want to believe I am not being singled out for misery. I want to believe that somehow, someway, some Good will come from this.
And in a way, it has: I no longer feel the urge/duty to tear my appearance down in front of the mirror. My body is beautiful and capable and healthy and strong. I see that now. For over 20 years I have been living in a self-conscious prison of my own making, and I’ve finally been handed a key. I was blessed with a wonderful, amazing pregnancy, which I had previously been led to believe was an unwise and horrible thing for me to go through. No: my pregnancy was beautiful. It was fantastic, and my respect for the outright miracle of life has grown beyond what I thought possible. For a short time, I got to live it. I got to feel it.
Maybe that’s the greater lesson at work here. Though the loss of my son is tragic and painful as Hell, I have gained (through the gentle insights of friends) a new and valuable reflection into myself. If I can remember these good things — and it’s going to be a struggle for a while — I can get through this….
In the meantime, I am writing music. My muse has come back to me with a vengeance. My head is filling up with music. This one is called “Hole in My Heart”…
I wrote this to help lay bare the struggle at work in my heart. I wanted to write a song that spoke to the love I have for my son — even though I only got to know him for a short time — and also to the pain of losing him. Of losing all the hopes and dreams for our future together as a family. I played it at his memorial service yesterday instead of “Tears in Heaven” like I had planned. My son loved my music, and he loved my guitar the best of all. My rehearsal and practice time during my pregnancy was our special time… Singing someone else’s song, someone else’s words for MY son just didn’t feel right. And that’s when “Hole In My Heart” came to me.
At first I wasn’t sure I could play it at the service. I was so nervous, up in front of the church. Unusually nervous. And the few introductory words I’d chosen to say tugged at my heart strings so strongly I nearly lost what little control I had over my tears… But when I picked up my guitar, my hands were sure and my voice remained steady.
I am sure he heard me sing for him. And my heart sings in return.