Yesterday, I picked up my son’s ashes.
This sentence is so short, yet so incredibly loaded with grief. The fact that anyone should ever have to pick up their child’s ashes, or bury their child, no matter how short or long they lived, haunts me now that I have experienced it. We did not pick out an urn. He came home to us in a box wrapped in brown paper that was placed in a purple velvet bag. He sits on the headboard above my pillow, next to his memory box that we brought home with us from the hospital. This is the tangible proof that I gave birth to him.
Now I am trying to figure out how to make sense of these things I never thought I’d experience. I never thought I would experience a miscarriage, let alone five of them. I never thought I would experience a stillbirth. I never thought I would hold the lifeless body of my baby. I never thought I would leave the hospital without him in my arms.
I never thought I would cremate my son.
How do you memorialize someone that no one knew, who never existed alive on this earth? His only existence was in the comfort of my womb, a womb that was not able to give him a life on this earth. It could only give him death. We only met him after he had passed away, but he was very much alive inside me until he was gone. I am lucky that I know his kicks. But I will never know the sound of his cry, his laughter or his voice. I do know he had blonde hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. But I will never know the color of his eyes or the curl of his hair.
Life is so incredibly unfair.
How can you wish that the worst experience of your life never happened? Because if it didn’t happen, you would never have had the short opportunity to hold him, kiss him, cuddle him and love him. Nor would you have had the opportunity to marvel over his tiny, perfect features and how he had your husband’s nose. And you never would have seen your husband hold his son, the son that you both so desperately wanted. Nor would you have gotten to hold the precious little body of the baby that has made you a mother all over again, regardless of whether he is alive today.
Life goes on, but how does it go on without you?