When I held him, I forgot to sing to him. I think about this all the time. I should have sung to him. There’s no one to parent. Where are the people who know how to live with that, and why aren’t I talking to them every day? Why don’t they come out of nowhere with blankets? How were all the midwives wrong? How is it that even though they were wrong, they still never made any mistakes? How do we know so little? How have we lost a child? Why didn’t I know this would happen? I want to wish we’d picked a different donor. I want to wish we were decorating the nursery. I can’t wish that; it erases him. I need more of him, never less. I whisper his name all the time. It’s good there’s no bargaining here. I’ve thought of the things I’d give up for five more minutes. Five more days. Five more months. One breath. The color of his opened eyes. I wouldn’t be sorry. How are his ashes in a box in our bedroom? Blood. Bones. Perfect little hands. Ashes. How does everyone live with that? I still get up every day. I eat breakfast. I go to meetings. I write to students. I get songs stuck in my head. I forget for whole minutes. Just forget. I feel like me again for whole minutes. I hug friends. I feel I’ve neglected my friends. I feel like a failure. I don’t feel equal to anything. I get hungry. A rhythm is emerging. There’s no stopping it. I drove to a psychiatric hospital. There was no reason to go in. I haven’t gone off the rails. I have whole conversations about other things. I haven’t cried at all while writing this. Our grief counselor pointed out that I’m angry. That there’s rage in my voice. I didn’t know I was angry. “What good does anger do?” I asked her. I meant it. How do I have a disease? How do I have antibodies that attack parts of my own body? I have antibodies and no baby inside of me. How did that happen? And how (really, how) are these things unrelated? Doesn’t that seem insane? Like a lie? I can’t know; I just trust what they tell me. I don’t trust what they tell me. Whose job is it to forgive me for forgetting for whole minutes?


One thought on “contrition

  1. Well you may not have shed any tears writing this, but a few rolled down my cheeks as I read it. What good is rage? It cauterizes the still raw edges of your heart. It makes you feel strong when you are weak. It carries you through until your soul can bare the pain. Who’s job is it to forgive you of something that is supposed to happen? Forgive you for your mind trying to shield itself and heal? Anyone who loves you. Anyone who loves Emmett. Anyone with a heart. Anyone, everyone, but most importantly, yourself.

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