Dear Harvey,

This is a hard week for me.

Here is your timeline:

July 24th 2012: conceived.

Friday April 26th, 2013: labor.

Saturday April 27th, 2013: birth.

Sunday April 18th, 2013: death.

I know the date you were conceived because we were trying for you, we were planning for you. I was charting and it was too early. I would not ovulate for another couple of days  but we might as well try. We got sick the next day and that was it for July. We had missed our window, except that we hadn’t. By some miracle, our two cells became you and it all began that day. I know the date because we wanted you so very, very much. I wanted you first for dad, who always wanted to have two children. I wanted you next for your sister, whom I wanted to give the gift of a sibling: a playmate, in my deepest hopes, a soul-mate, a friend for life. Her brother who would be here closest family, someone to lean on and lend a hand to, a partner in growing up and then growing old. When your father and I are gone, you would have each other as your family and never be alone in this world. Finally, I wanted you for myself. I wanted to care for my next baby. I wanted to love you and watch you grow and tell people all the details of your every development. I wanted to show you things for the first time and participate in your own firsts. Each and every one. Mostly though, I wanted to cradle you in my arms: your soft, perfect little baby body, smell that unmistakable, divine smell of a newborn and kiss that beautiful little nose, then the warm forehead, the thin layers of skin covering the still soft skull. Then I wanted to sit back in my chair, gaze at you and remember how perfect  life is. I wanted you for all of us and all of this. And more.

Those other dates, they are stories for later. This birth, life and death, we will tell it later. We know them already, you and I. We were there, together, in those hours. They bare repeating, they deserve the weight of sound, they are branded on my being. I will tell mine, Son, and someday, you will tell yours. The parts I don’t know: what you felt, what you heard, what you knew. But these, these are stories for later.

This week is hard for me.

July 24th, 2013

Friday July 26th

Saturday July 27th

Sunday July 28th

This week contains the anniversary of your conception. At the three month mark, it contains the same dates on the same days of our labor, your birth, and your death. And all the stories in between.

The weekends are hard for me regardless. Last Friday night, I sobbed alone in my car, yearning for the very same moments 12 weeks before, that I was laboring. That I was opening and expanding to release you into this world, into my arms. Sometimes it’s the Saturday, the birth, that gets me. Some Saturdays my arms ache, my uterus cramps, my heart breaks all over again. I remember the hope of that day, then the crashing in, then the shock. Some Saturdays, my heart also swells, because you were here, not far from where I sit, alive, touchable, smellable, gazeable. Most often it’s Sunday, your death day. The day I spent all of my waking hours with you, except the ones for which you were dead. The day you did your own laboring, this time for breath. The day we saw your face again, without all the tape and tubing. The day we cradled you back to the ether.

Three months feels so significant. It would feel so, too, if you were here. You would be beginning to come out of your newborn cocoon, “the fourth trimester” ending, infant-hood beginning. Your eyes would see further, you would hold up your head, you would  be awake for longer periods. You would begin to take in more of your world. You would start your unfolding into the world of interacting, affecting, creating. You would smile.

But instead it is me, Son. I am coming out of my cocoon. The loss of you finishing it’s gestation on the outside of me. The infancy of my grief beginning, the newness of it coming to an end. The shock subsiding, the pain blunting, the adjusting to the idea, if not the reality, that you were here and now, you are gone.

I begin to see further than my own pain. I begin to hold my head up. To look around and take in this strange world. It remains surreal: I almost remember it here, I’ve been here before and yet it is quite changed. I seem to see and sense the same world as everyone else, yet our perceptions of it, our experiences of it, are as if we are on different planets. As my grief unfolds, as it dips me down into it’s depths a little gentler, then the climbs out less steep and the view from the top more focused, I begin to enter my life again. I begin to interact, to affect, to create. I begin, my son, to smile.

These are the days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

These are the dates: 26, 27, 28.

They each have their weight ever week, every month. At the three month mark, they are heavier. As they line up to be not only the same as your time here but also the end of what would be your (our) newborn time, they reach their saturation point, they can no longer hold their own density. As the calendar falls, as the days trudge by with a sluggishness, I continue to discover this new me. I grow and develop in my grief as you would have in your childhood vitality. I develop into new stages and phases. I come into new skills, new neurology, new ability from seemingly nowhere, but some inner human drive to become. I am reborn in your wake.

I miss you every day.

I miss you. Every day.

Love, Mom

2 thoughts on “Days.

  1. Since having Oscar, I, too, have become both aware and wary of days and dates. He was born on a Sunday, and in 62 weeks, not one has passed when I’ve not thought back to that day. He was readmitted to the hospital on a Friday, and in 62 weeks, not one has passed when I’ve not thought back to that day. I remain afraid of Friday nights, and always send a thought to the parents who, on that given Friday, are sunk deep into that same bed, in that same NICU room, in that same fear. It was unimaginable to me that I was sending these thoughts to you, Mon, twelve Saturdays ago. It remains so. As do my thoughts to you, for you, of you, of Harvey, of Danny, of Vesta, of sorrow, of hope, of love of love of love, on this Saturday the 27th, and on all other dates and days.

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