above first day of school shots taken on the instax mini 7s

Today I opened Baby Gavin’s closet and silently ran my hand along his clothes . . . hanging there, untouched for so many months, still adorned with tags and the smell of newness.

And my heart was so heavy.  My arms so empty.  My soul so full of sorrow.

Then I heard the howl of laughter from the living room and was reminded of YOU.  All you continue to give me every day.  All you represent.  All your very lives do to remind me of the hope and wonder of living.

You remind me that He hasn’t forgotten us.  That we are not forsaken.  He holds us still. . . even in the midst of pain and indescribable sorrow. . . in the very palm of his hand.

Thank you.

Mommy loves you with all of her.

xx,

Me

Today I had this memory.

and I can’t describe my joy.

I was so grateful because, my mind? Well, it’s quite literally broken.  I can’t seem to remember anything of significance. Ever.

I ache for my memories to return. Even the horrifying ones.  Because, they’re proof that I lived.

No, they’re proof that HE lived . . . and that I loved him . . .

Beyond all that, I can’t even seem to formulate the most simple of sentences in mundane conversation and worst of all, I can’t write.

and THAT literally breaks.my.heart.

It has been my singular respite. and now. . . it’s gone. . .  just like him. Up and gone.

Whine. Whine. Whine.

Enough.

Here’s what I remembered.  Don’t judge my inability to articulate.

_________________________________________________

I was in the hospital. Alone.

His temperature so dangerously high they had to consistently keep him on a referigerated pad (like, the pad was literally a freaking refrigerator, set to like negative 47 billion degrees fahrenheit).

Swollen beyond recognition. . . blue, he was so pale.

I would sit for hours that felt like solitary moments . . . holding those puffy little feet (the only part of his body that wasn’t covered completely by wires and tubes), the skin on them so taut it looked ready to tear open at a moment’s notice.

His limbs, ice to the touch.  His core, a furnace.

Silent tears fell from my chin as I longed to simply hold my baby in my arms.  To press his sweet body against my own.

Then. . .

Then a man placed a cup of lotion in my hand.

And it smelled like magic.  Like another reality all together.  Far far away from the Hell where we were living.

This familiar world was one of bath time and snuggly towels right out of the dryer.  It smelled of crazy tumult at bedtime and a million more last chances before mom  locks the door.    It smelled like dreams and promise and forever.  Like growing up.  Like the promise of skinned knees and bicycle helmets.  It smelled like surfing. It smelled like forever, here, together.

I remember words awkwardly expressed.  Something about how it would feel good to Gavin to have me rub lotion into his feet, that his skin was probably so sore from the edema. . .

I didn’t realize it then but this was an outright lie.  He couldn’t feel me. He was sedated beyond imagination.  But me? It was me that needed to feel him.  To really feel my son.

And that angel nurse knew it.

He saw my pain; really saw. Understood. Responded with absolute compassion and knowing that could only have been inspired by a loving Father in Heaven.

I needed to rub that lotion on my son. I needed to do something, anything NORMAL for my child.  Something that reminded me that despite how helpless I felt, he was still mine and he needed me.

I sat for moments that felt like hours putting lotion on those icy little feet.  Singing him a lullaby. . .  I don’t actually remember if I sang, another black hole in the memory of that dreadful abyss that was my life in the PICU, but I hope I did.  I hope with all my heart that I sang my son a song.

I rubbed lotion on his little toes. . . and I hope I sang.

and I felt like his mommy.  I really did. For a brief moment.  I felt like his mother. Caring for my son the way any normal mother in any normal world would.

So, to that wonderful angel who handed me that cup. . . thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

My son died that night.