The sun rises as the phone call reaches Mayberry–a frighteningly premature start for my nephew. Oh no. Unlike sleep, you can’t wipe shock from your eyes.
I can, however, fumble to get dressed, stumble to the car, and travel with Stockton from here to there. We join the vigil, the celebration, the I-don’t-have-the-vocabulary-for-this moment after moment after moment. Especially the time when my scrubbed clean fingertip gently touches the tiniest fingers and the tiniest toes, awestruck.
Days later, blankets block light, but not sorrow. My heart rate drops in slumber. I awake warm and secure. Soft layers muffle sound. I wonder, is this is how we feel in the womb? How we feel in protective isolettes? How we feel swaddled and hugged by mom or dad? There’s no way to know.
Uncertainty refuses to leave, and answers never come. In loss, it’s hard to stay open-hearted instead of closing down. It’s a choice to love.
Days later, the silver tea kettle whistles, and I choose a mug. Steamy water floods the bag of herbs; I inhale soothing vapors. Holding the warmth, I allow myself to cherish him and remember the incredible love his parents gave him. It will take plenty of cups of tea and patience to sit with this grief. I choose to sit. I choose to love.