Most of my closest friends don’t know the full story. But how, on this hustling and bustling earth, could I explain every detail of the saddest story of my life?
They don’t know that I have tiny footprints in ink; a doll-sized, crocheted, blue hat which he wore (undoubtedly knitted by someone knowing a similar pain); and a drawer full of “I’m so sorry for your loss” cards that I keep to bring out and remember him on rare days.
They don’t know that my son weighed exactly what he should have weighed.
They don’t know he had 10 little toes and 10 little fingers and a sweet, little, perfect body.
They don’t know.
They don’t know that the sadness can creep up as powerfully and suddenly as an ocean wave, threatening to pull me under unexpectedly.
They don’t know I pleaded for his understanding as I set up his room with a bed – not a crib – for a bigger kid coming home in the next few years from a far away place.
They don’t know I whispered to his spirit – the remnants of his aura that circle around that space – that I miss him with a fierceness only a mother can understand.
They don’t know.
They don’t know that this pain does not go away. They don’t know that I am not trying to hang on to it, but the devastation will never leave entirely. It’s a sad gulp in the back of my throat, waiting to be formed.
They don’t know that I have to find another place, other than what is now another child’s bedroom, to house his few somethings from the hospital, along with the infant outfit and blanket I received as early gifts that I am not sure what to do with since it’s very likely I will never have said infant.
They don’t know what beakons of light they’ve been in my darkest hours. They don’t know that their gentleness has buoyed up my soul in a way I am not capable of doing without having their love and connection. They don’t know that sometimes their comfort sans intrusion is exactly what I have needed.
They don’t know, and that’s how loss works. We break through to the lighter side of things alone and hurting. This solo journey makes us much tougher and much more confident, though. We carry new, invisible “soul muscles” that help us lift others along their way in grief. And some of our friends may not be able to walk beside us with every step, but they are there to help us refuel along the path, encourage our steps, and just sit beside us without knowing all the details, and not needing to know because they love us anyway.