Sunday, October 26, 2014

Service of Remembrance

Today was the annual Service of Remembrance at the hospital where Chiara was born. The nurses and staff put together a lovely service for families who lost babies. There are readings of poems, musical interludes, the reading of all the names, and a time for parents to speak. This was the third year we attended. We brought our boys and sat with another family we met last year. The mom and I made a special connection and we've kept in touch. Her friendship has become very important to me. Being there together made the event far less sad than it has been in the past.

Today I had planned to read a poem during the parents segment of the program, but I chickened out. I read the poem in the car on the way there and I just cried. I didn't have the courage to get up today. Here's the poem I was planning to read:

The Sitting Time
by Joe Digman

Don’t listen to the foolish unbelievers
who say forget.
Take up your armful of roses and
remember them
the flower and the fragrance.
When you go home to do your sitting
in the corner by the clock
and sip your rosethorn tea
It will warm your face and fingers
and burn the bottom of your belly.
But as her gone-ness piles in white,
crystal drifts,
It will be the blossom of her moment
the warmth on your belly,
the tiny fingers unfolding,
the new face you’ve always known,
That has changed you.
Take her moment, and hold it
As every mother does.
She will always beyour daughter
And when the sitting is done you’ll find
bitter grief could never 
poison the sweetness of her time.


Oh, my sweet love, my only daughter, I cherish your short time with me. I miss you so.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On the Road Again

In April 2012 I traveled to Namibia with a pregnancy test and a package of maxi pads in my suitcase. I wasn't sure which I would be needing, but I was prepared either way. On Easter, I peed on the stick in a camping area toilet at Etosha National Park. The test was positive. You were on your way, cells dividing as I rode around the park watching wildlife. I texted a cryptic message home to your dad. I wrote a postcard to him with a cheetah cub on the front. A new cub was coming.

Here I am, back on the continent where I was traveling when I first learned you were coming. Over two years later, and this time in northern Africa. There have been many tears on this trip. As I got reacquainted with my solo-traveling self, I remembered who I was, who I used to be. I've also had to admit that I've changed since your death, your birth, and these two years of grief. I won't run through all the differences, but overall, I am less happy out here in the world alone these days. I want my tribe surrounding me. I crave the blessed, exhausting chaos of my life at home over the time to think and reflect, the opportunity to observe the world. I'm counting the days until I get home and I will think carefully about leaving my nest voluntarily again anytime soon. I wonder if this would be true anyway. I wonder how much of this is growing fully into my motherhood, and how much is motherhood after loss. I don't suppose I'll ever know.