07 May 2013

How it begins...

It starts, slowly at first, a kind of yawn inside my body, a slow and laborious groan within, and I never know when it will come, when it will first rise up inside of me but often it comes after the crocuses have bloomed and died, after the buds on the cherry blossoms disappear and the maroon leaves take their places, after the days turn longer and the nights turn from cold to cool and then, just like that, it begins...the yawn inside my body, the whispering around the edges of my heart.

here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And while that voice whispers toward me all year around, this time of year, it tugs me in a different way as my body remembers the birth, prepares itself for long, hard labor and darkness that falls for so many days, weeks and months to come.

This is May, my body declares, and I will take over from now until early June.

Some years, my body declares itself just before the visit to the midwife, late May, when the last kicks and the last turns and the last rotations are happening, when the settling into myself happens and the last deep sighs occur, when the heart still beats--bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum--so fast inside of me, 165 beats a minute.

But this year, this BIG and LARGE and confusing tenth year took me by surprise. For the unsettling, the groaning began in late April. April! What of this noise and confusion and tears falling so soon and so early and so many weeks still from your birthday, from your death day, from whatever series of days you want to call them.

 here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And what to do then so many years out from this, from you and so many things to do each day--meals to prepare, papers to grade, classes to teach, work to be done, children to raise--who can spend an entire month with their body pulling them down and down farther and deeper into this space and toward that place where darkness takes over and declares itself entering the body and how long will you stay this time? You never even ask permission, you just enter and stay as long as you want.


here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And these tears, they fall in places like they did in those early days, in the car when you think no one might be looking, late at night when the rise and fall of the breath of so many others are sleeping in the house, in line at the grocery store inconveniently making you leave the cart of groceries in the middle of nowhere, in the classroom as the children ask you for help when they are planting seeds.


here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And my body continues to groan and ache and pull at me even as I shout, stop, stop all this right now, this instant but you know, don't you, that there's nothing really I can do but succumb to all of this, to fall into this space, to remember the curve of your chin, the forehead, always in lament itself and the long legs stretched out before me. And my body remembers the long and painful and deep labor that took more than an entire day, more than 24 hours, and that doctor yelling at me to push, push and I continued to defy her and hold, hold just so that I could carry you one more minute, one more moment in this sacred space you and I shared together, this place of holding, holding, keeping you safe, keeping you warm and floating and suspended and all of that ended when you came sliding out and the silence of all of it tore me to pieces in the places my body wasn't already broken from this labor until I wailed for you and made noises you couldn't make or hear or feel anymore.

And my body groaned unfamiliar sounds that scared even me from my own self.



May has arrived and you and I my dear are in this together.


here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you mama. you are always with me.




4 comments:

Heidi, Mike & Annabel said...

Sarah, This essay is beautifully written. You perfectly capture the essence of how the waves of pain and memories wash over the mommies of these angel babies. How the rising tide of grief is not predictable or controllable. How the whisper is always there. Thank you for sharing and for articulating so beautifully. I am approaching a five year anniversary of my angel baby and hope to capture in words a glimpse of our journey. Your piece has inspired me to begin working on my essay. Peace to you.

Sarah Bain said...

Thank you so much for your kind words and I am so, so sorry about the death of your own baby. Five years is indeed a big anniversary. I hope that you continue to be gentle with yourself. Thank you again.
In peace,
Grace's mama

Heidi Pautsch said...

Hi again Sarah, I have been reading some of your other blog posts and I keep nodding in agreement and blinking back tears, so I wanted to comment again. Your writing is wonderfully poignant. You are sharing a beautiful voice for your sweet Grace.
Hugs,
Heidi (Catherine's mama)

Sarah Bain said...

Heidi (and Catherine's mama) thank you for reading, for remembering with you and for keeping our children ever-present. I appreciate your words of encouragement as well. I will keep writing. It's all I know to do.
Warmly,
Sarah