A Mother Never Forgets
When you ask, as I know you will, "What did you do with the gift of me?" I want to have an answer.
By now I would have stopped calling you Baby Billy. We have transitioned from baby to Billy to Bill.
Next month I celebrate Mother's Day for the twenty-third time since you died. I suppose there are those who question why you still matter to me, but you do. A mother never forgets the child of her womb; she never forgets her son.
I'll forever remember your gentle kicks, your calisthenics, the cadence of your heart. And I will forever remember the day that heart stopped beating. We walked that final week together, you nestled unmoving beneath my heart. Every time your body shifted in mine, I held out hope that the doctor had made a mistake. I hoped that somehow you were really alive. I couldn't wrap my arms around the truth that you were dead. As long as you were one with me, I could protect you. As long as you were there, there was a chance that the God I serve with my everything would give me a miracle. He could have you know because He is God.
But, He didn't.
By the time labor began, I'd given up hope.
It just didn't seem fair. There were other mothers at the hospital that day, mothers who had carried their babies to term, dreading yet anticipating the difficult labor to come. When their work was done, they would hold the fulfillment of their dreams tightly in their arms. They would count tiny fingers, miniature toes, and plant tender kisses on their baby's sweet nose.
I endured difficult labor for what seemed forever, in agony, torn, wanting the pain to end, yet knowing when it did, you would be birthed lifeless and cold. You were so tiny, so perfect, so mine. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone, love of my heart. We held you for not-long-enough, then they took you away.
I didn't understand the importance of grieving so I buried my hurt deep down where no one knew but God and me. It confused me and consumed me. It wasn't supposed to be like this - son before mother, death before life, sorrow before joy.
For a long time I blamed God for taking you from me. I'm not sure when the realization came, but one day it did . . . God did not take you, the cord wrapped tightly around your leg did. God doesn't take babies from their mothers. He didn't need you more than I. He wasn't anxious for "another little angel" as some said. You weren't a "pretty new flower" in His garden as some callously suggested.
No, God felt my pain. He understood and willingly chose to walk the unwelcome journey with me. He was with me every step of the way. When I cried, He cried, I know He did. When the hurt was more then I could bear, He carried it for me. When sleep wouldn't come, He sat by my bed and sang His God-lullaby to me. He held me when I raged, taking the blows, loving me still. When depression turned my life black, He became my light. He placed no expectations on me other than to grieve, to cry and ultimately to release.
My grief work complete, a new normal firmly in place, God showed me what I hadn't been able to see before. I learned so much in loving and losing you. I learned to trust God when I couldn't see His plan. I learned how to listen. I learned how to comfort. I learned how to love at a deeper level. I learned how to live. You changed my life.
One day we'll be together again, son, you and me. When you ask, as I know you will, "Mom what did you do with the gift of me?" I want to have an answer. I don't want that answer to be, "Bill, I grieved for you the rest of my life. I was afraid that if I laughed and loved again you would wonder if I'd really loved you at all. I was afraid that if I ventured into this pain with others it would hurt all over again. So, I locked up all the lessons you taught me in the closet of my heart and refused to share them with my world."
Rather, I want to be able to tell you, "I never forgot you son. The pain lessened with the passing of time, but it never went entirely away. That's okay. Loving and losing you made me a better woman. I learned to laugh through the tears. I learned to love with abandon. I learned to get up when I fell down. I learned from the legacy of you."
A mother never forgets the child of her womb; she never forgets her son.
by Ronda Knuth