Six Years Out: Birth Day

We went to the cemetery yesterday, a day earlier than usual. The girls ran among the grave stones and picked flowers for DearDR and me. We left them by Gabriel’s marker, along with the lillies I had bought.

I watched the their heads flashing in the sun, and I was sad that I didn’t know what my son looked like as a boy. I suspect he would look very much like Monkey: dark hair and blue eyes, tall. After she was born I marveled how much she looked like her brother, only, you know, alive.

If you have ever held a dead baby — and I hope you have not — the experience of holding a live baby is something you will never take for granted again. Even infants, newborns in their “potted plant” stage, thrum with vitality, weight.

I wasn’t all that grief-stricken as we sat in the grass in the cemetery. When the girls ran to us, I asked Monkey if she knew why we were there. “Mommy had a baby before you,” I told her, as I’ve told her before. “Where is he?” she asked. “He’s in heaven,” DearDR answered. “Oh, man,” she said, downcast.

As we left, I asked DearDR, “Is it less sad, or is it just different?” “It’s just different,” he said, pretty much confirming the way I felt.

I was okay (i.e. not crying) until we were pulling out of the cemetery entrance and Monkey said, “I hope he’s not lonely. I wish he could come home with us.”

Yeah, Monkey, me too.

The song “Will I See You in Heaven” by the Jayhawks was released in 2003. Such a pretty song. I can almost listen to it without weeping.