Six

Friday, February 28, 2014


I cant believe it has been six years since Nicholas and Sophia were born.  Six years that have been the longest in my life, the shortest in my life, and the breadth of my life- all at once.  Six years I wish I’d never lived and six years that I would trade nothing for.

It was never my intent to wait until the end of the month to blog their birthday posts.  I just couldn’t write anything.  There were no words that fit, nothing that I could say that hadn’t been said before, nothing that I could say that could put into words how still, six years later, my life feels the mark of their passings as though their deaths were yesterday.  Some moments, it hits me that I was that woman, that woman who, although I had struggled with infertility (which is, in its own right, an awful pain), really had yet to taste what true ache could be…  I had no concept of a loss which is unmeasurable, unending.  No concrete abstraction of what longing really was.

I do now.  Oh, how I do.

Since Bobby and Maya’s birth, Nicholas and Sophia’s birthdays have always had a touch of “this is what might have been” because, like their oldest siblings, Bobby and Maya are a boy/girl twinset.  But this year put an entirely new spin on things.  Michael is the age they would have been in February, had their pregnancy not been touched by an incompetent cervix and premature delivery.  Conceived near their time in the year, carried during their time of pregnancy, Michael’s pregnancy (last year) was everything that their was not: healthy, long, viable… surviving.  His life, now, is a taste- if only singularly- of what life with summer babies would have been like in a northeastern winter.  In some ways, just as his birth was healing, having a seven month old for their birthdays has been healing.  In other ways, it has been a knife, tearing open the scars that had sealed over, spilling out the memories, the hopes, and the dreams in a trail of despair.

This February has been hard.  It has been something that I didn’t imagine because I thought, because we are at a place of acceptance and peace in Nicholas and Sophia’s lives (and Alexander’s as well) would not be as emotionally draining and gut-wrenchingly painful. But I was wrong.  I’ve slept through this month in a state of weariness, and yet the month has dragged on, pulling me with it, one snow day at a time.  I’ve sobbed into Peter’s shoulder (when it was free from a child) tears that I thought I’d shed years ago.  I’ve held onto Bobby, Maya, and Michael, breathing them in, because without them, I don’t know that I could find the will to wake up and go on living.  This month both gives me life and takes it away.  And now, once again, it is over.  Will next year be an easier year?  I don’t know, but I’m hoping for that…

As we do on their birthdays, we went to Mass, had breakfast, had their birthday dinners and made a cake.  Each of the kids get a gift from their older sibling on the birthday (it’s hard to explain why we can’t “give” gifts to them in heaven, but the kids like being able to open something small ‘for’ Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander).  The Masses this year were very interesting.  Nicholas’s was tough for me…  While the moral of the readings- don’t fear death, it is not the end but a beginning- were nice, the first reading, from the Old Testament, was the story of King David’s infant son being killed because David killed the first husband of the baby’s mother/David’s wife.  Yeah… Not exactly what I was hoping to hear.  Sophia’s Mass, however, was spot on.  Every song spoke of God’s Wisdom (known as “Sophia” in Greek), the readings were all about the Wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit, and the deacon who delivered the homily did an amazing job.  It was where we needed to be that morning.  It was a way to hear Sophia speaking to us.   Bobby and Maya helped make their birthday cakes, and Maya helped me make their dinners as well.  It’s nice to see them take an interest in being a part of it.

***

My dear sweet Nicholas,
Happy 6th Birthday!  I look at your baby brother, and in his face, I see so many of your characteristics: he has your eyes.  I can’t help but wonder what other parts of you live on in him.  I know that you watch over Bobby, Maya, and Michael, and I can’t express how much it means to your dad and I that you are always looking out for them, as a big brother, and as one of the smallest (but nevertheless important!) saints in heaven.
This year especially, I’m marked by your absence on earth.  I injured my knee playing with Bobby and wasn’t able to go on your birthday run, which was tough because I really look forward to sharing that alone time with you guys on your birthdays, but I’ve tried, throughout your birthday month, to really meditate on you: who you were while you were with us here and all the ways you show us who you are since you aren’t growing up with us.
Although you have your own song, this year we took Bobby and Maya to see “Frozen” and I was struck by one of the main songs, “Let it go”.  I’ll never let you go, my son, not of my love for you or of the special place you hold in my heart and soul.  But each year, a bit more of the pain of losing you fades; in order for it to do so, however, it has to come back to the core, front and center, and burn me all over again with the cold flame of death.  I think the part of the song that really confronted me this year was the line:  “one thought crystallizes like an icy blast:  I'm never going back, the past is in the past.”  The me that became your mother when you were conceived in 2007 is gone.  I can’t go back to her.  Sometimes, it’s strange to me that she ever existed at all.  The only me I can remember is the me that is here now.  Fractured and yet, somehow, still together.
Happy Birthday, sweet baby boy.  Six years have gone by but, in my heart, you’ll always be right here with me.
Love,
Mommy

*****

Dear Sophia,
Happy 6th Birthday!  Time has flown by- how are you six years old already?  Just yesterday, it feels like I was in labor with you.
When we were in church for your birthday, the deacon kept talking about the voice of God speaking to us, about God’s Wisdom among us, and all I could think of was you: the Wisdom of the World.  This world simply couldn’t contain you; you were part of us, part of the here and now, and yet always superseded us, I suppose.  I’m just grateful, even if losing you was the ultimate price, that we were able to have you for the time that we did, and for the forever that we’ll always have.
I’m sorry, as I was to your twin, that I couldn’t go running for your birthday.  Last year, as pregnant as I was and as cold as it was, your Aunt Sarah and I volunteered at what she calls the “Sophie Race”.  But, this year, it wasn’t on your birthday.  Not running seemed so… off.  Once my knee is back to normal, I plan to do a half marathon for you and Nicholas combined: 6 miles for each of you, and that other 1.1 for me I suppose .
Music… It speaks to me in so many ways.  This year, your dad and I found a song by accident.  It’s October Project (the second incarnation of the band) and the song is called Reason to Forgive.  It’s only ever been released as a demo. Kind of makes me think of you in that way too…  But it talks of an unfillable emptiness and how I know that feeling. No matter how many years go by, I know I still will.
I miss you, baby girl. So much. I wish I could just have another moment with you in my arms.
Happy Birthday, Soph.  Mommy loves you so much.
Love,
Mommy

***

Reason to Forgive (October Project)

In the dying light of an empty room with the window open, I have dreamed of you.
When the evening enters like a dark perfume, I am shallow-breathing as if emptiness could fill me up.

In the quiet heat holding back the rain, I am outside waiting and I say your name to the storm inside me that will still remain when the sky is empty, and the world goes on without you.

The moment leaves almost as it came. The feeling stays.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to forgive you now, and leave you inside me.

In the holding on and the letting go, is the way you lose, and the way you grow.
When the feeling enters like a wounded ghost… Let the night be gentle when I say how much I miss you.

The moment leaves almost as it came. The feeling stays.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to forgive you now, and leave you inside me.

In every way that you are beautiful, and every way that I refuse to see.
I find a reason to go with you now, and leave you inside me

2 comments:

Hallie Schumaker said...

beautiful! <3

Amelia said...

Youe turn your loss and grief into something so beautiful.