One of the things that drove me batty early on was this thought of how few people even know of A, let alone love him. All these people I saw going about their business, taking their kids to school, shopping, eating, going to class-- none of them knew that my world stopped and broke because a tiny beautiful boy with long fingers and curly hair died. They didn't, and would never know who he was. "You don't go around telling everyone you meet about Monkey" said my sister. Yes, but that is because she is right here in this world, and she can make her own impression on it. He will never grow up to do that for himself.
I knew of a few bereaved parents before A died-- three whose blogs I had been reading on and off for years, one couple in real life, and some who were acquaintances of friends or family here and there. After I started reading and then writing last spring, I "met" many. And then met several in real life.
Something happens when we do that, when we meet, be it in person or online. We amplify. We learn of and carry with us each other's children. We remember them, we learn to hold each other's hands, most often virtually, in anticipation of the anniversaries or just because. Yes, there is great relief in being understood and not judged for all these emotions that come with being a bereaved parent, in being told and this too is normal. And yet, I think, there is a separate relief in feeling, even if we can't articulate it, that our children are remembered and thought about. Not just us and our grief, but the little people whom we grieve.
After I saw my doctor on Thursday, I went to the cemetery. It is only a couple of miles away from my doctor's office, no more than a five minute drive. The sun was shining, although it wasn't exactly warm. It was a crisp kind of a spring day, and for some reason, no matter how craptacularly I felt, I also felt pulled to that cemetery. When I got there, I could tell that something wasn't right. There was a new marker next to A's. But before I could bend to read it I realized that A's marker wasn't in the right place-- it got moved by a row. It must've happened when they were preparing for the new funeral, but it had me upset. I went to the office, and the lady there came back to the baby section with me, checked to see that I was right, and moved the marker back. There was even an imprint in its old spot, so it wasn't hard to do. But it made me think about the impermanence, about how we still are the small lonely voices for our children. And on the very practical side, about how JD and I absolutely must solve our aesthetic differences on the design of the permanent marker and have it made and installed, because the granite base with bronze plate on top is a lot more permanent than the little metal marker in its humble green frame. Afterwards I read the new boy's marker. Friday, March 28th. Less than a week at that point. Different funeral home, different frame.
It's been a tough winter in blogland. Tough fall that brought many new dead baby blogs, tough winter that brought more, and that made too many infertile bloggers into dead baby bloggers. Today was Natalie's due date. Today was also the memorial ceremony and tree planting for Natalie and Den's beautiful first born son, Devin. Today, at 6:58pm, the time of day when Devin was born and the time when a cherry tree was being planted for him many miles away, I lit some candles.
For Devin, for Natalie and Den. For all our babies, for all of us. And for all those babies and their parents whose names and faces we don't know. Because all our children are loved, and they all matter.