Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Not one night goes by that I don’t, my angel.
A year ago today we held a memorial at our church for Robert William. We had him cremated, a choice we made while in the hospital thanks to quick thinking on my Mom’s part to ask the doctors where Robert’s body was taken. If not for her, we wouldn’t have gotten him.
Last week I posted a blog about my regret of not seeing Robert William after we lost him. For the past year I have tossed and turned at night wondering what he looked like; daydreaming (and sometimes just dreaming) that in the “lifetime movie that plays in my head”, the surgeons placed him on my unconscious body just so they could tell me when I woke up that I touched him. Obviously that isn’t real life. I’ve wondered if anyone held him, what he looked like, and how tiny his little feet must have been. That sentiment was the inspiration for the name of this blog – “No foot is too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world”; it didn’t matter how big he was, Jake and I were determined that his name would live on forever.
My mom called me Sunday afternoon (1/13/13) while I was at my part time job. She asked if she could come over later in the evening when I was home because she needed to tell me something. My heart dropped, something my mother (who has my intuition to the tenth degree) could sense over the phone. “Nothing is wrong, no one is dying, don’t worry – it’s not bad.” Still, I was immensely eager to get home and hear what she had to say.
She and my dad walked in shortly after I got home from work and asked Jake and I to sit down. I felt both our blood pressures shoot through the roof and in my subconscious I screamed “how is sitting down for news NOT bad??” Okay, here we go. Her tears started, and I only grew more confused. She told me it wasn’t bad, to not be worried. What in the world? Dad started to talk for her, but she pulled herself together enough to tell us herself. It was her news and she wanted to be the one to explain it to us, which I would soon understand why.
“When I did this, I did it for you guys, for Robert, and for me. In the hospital the doctors and experts had said it wasn’t a good idea for you guys to see him.” She paused for a minute to work through the tears that had come again. I knew it then and I could see it in my mind before I even said it – “you held him” I gasped. She just shook her head and I momentarily had an out of body experience. I’ve begged myself to let it go for the past year – he’s gone, he’s safe, and it is better that I didn’t go through the emotional trauma of seeing him..at the time. Of course I’ve regretted it. What mother wouldn’t, right? I’ve had no closure (which I’ve never understood until this experience). I let my guard down for a few seconds to allow this news to sink in, and then I was eager to ask my mom all the questions that no one else could answer for me.
He was the size of my mom’s hand, from palm to finger tips. His feet and hands were the size of her finger nail. He was perfectly formed and had no trauma or bruising from the rupture. His eyes were closed, since he was only 16 weeks 3 days along. “He looked just like the pictures you see of a fetus at that stage” she said. Of course, only my mom and I would probably know what a fetus at that stage looks like, given our inherent curiosity and the never ending search possibilities thanks to the internet.
“I knew the day would come when you would want to know all of this, but I didn’t want to upset you by telling you before you asked. Even though you didn’t ask me, when I read your blog last weekend I knew it was time. I sat with him in the room for about an hour and a half by myself. I kissed him and told him all about you and Jake and how much you love him. I told him about all the people who wanted him here and how we would always love him. It never crossed my mind that you might be upset with me about this, so I hope you aren’t mad at me, since I got to see and hold him and you didn’t.”
There are a lot of words to describe how I feel, but “mad” is not one of them. Relieved, thankful, grateful.
Writing this now, I can’t see the screen at this point from the tears, replaying it in my mind. Imagining my mom holding my tiny boy, touching his face and giving him the kisses that I would have; I could feel a hole in my heart grow a little more closed.
Note to anyone younger than 25 reading this: if you think your mother doesn’t know everything now, you’ll understand one day that she indeed does.
Thank God for you, Mama. You’ve been our rock through all of this, and you continue to amaze me with your intuition and constant sensitivity for my feelings. A piece of my heart has been filled with this information and knowing that you held our son and told him how much we love him means more to me than anything has in a long time. I have peace now knowing that he was held and loved by someone who loves him as much as we do. I will never be able to express what that means to me. I love you, buckets and buckets – and buckets.
Hugs to everyone out there – never give up hope. The answer may sound like “no”, but it could just be “not now”.