It is the evening before your 13th birthday except not. You see, it's always been a confusing and complicated time for me, not really filled with clarity on which day to call your birthday.
Is it the day of your birth that I should consider you 13? Tomorrow? Because on that day, the day you were born, you were wholly silent. Fully formed. And wholly silent.
So then, is it the day you died instead? Would that technically be your birthday? You know that moment before death and then death on the same day? Except that language is complicated and technically your birth day, is in fact the day you were born, yet you died two and a half days before your birth so is that the day I'm supposed to call your 13th birthday?
Do you understand my dilemma? Because each year, I feel confounded and confused by this complex situation. There is not a day. There is not two days. There is not: this is the day she was born, eyes wide open, she lived, she breathed, she was and was met and held and greeted. And then this is the day she died. There is instead, these series of days and images of heart stopping, of dopplers utterly failing me, of faces falling, and then the long and hard reality of induction and labor and birth so many days later into this cold and silent and dark world. And silence. The deafening cacophony of silence.
And the days are all jumbled and wrong. Because you died and then you were born. Do you understand my dilemma? You died on May 29th. You were born on June 1st. I've never been great at math but what does that make you at birth? Minus three days old? Is that even possible? Can you be minus three days old? See that doesn't make sense. How can a person be minus three days old?
I want the plus three not the minus three, and I want the plus thirteen and I know we are taught not to be greedy, but I am and I want the celebration dammit. I want the balloons and cake and happy birthday songs and turning 13 years old.
I want it all. But mostly I just want you. Here. I want the 18 year old and the 15 year old and the 13 year old and the 10 year old. Because look how normal and right that looks:
And look how wrong this looks:
Do you see my confusion? Or is it this:
But really, it feels like this:
See that space between. That hole? That's what it feels like every time someone says how old are your children? And I pause and I say 18, 15, 10 and they look at me and say, "Oh, that's quite a gap." And I think, if you only knew. Yes, that's quite a gap.
That gap is the hole in my heart, the silent tears that fall, the endless tug inside, the catch in my throat, the darkness that lingers, the breath that I hold, the stillness of the air, the emptiness in my belly, the longing inside, the ache in my bones, the gap in my day, the space between all of it...
my unfinished sentence