I still find it so very difficult to describe what it feels like to have lost a child. However, based on my personal experience, I've learned that emotional pain tends to manifest itself physically. The ache of losing Ethan has continued to echo within me in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, year, following his death.
I'll never be rid of this emptiness.
I've yearned so deeply for the heaviness of his weight resting in my arms. It seems like such a simple thing to miss, but his presence was something I took for granted when he was here on Earth. His soft skin and sweet breath were things I thought would dissipate instead of being taken away. I foolishly thought that I would be able to feel him for the rest of my life.
These days, all I feel is dewy grass and the cool granite of his headstone.
When the doctors and nurses confirmed that Ethan was gone, our friends and family were called back into the room. That was the last time I held him in my arms. I had him swaddled tightly in his blanket in my feeble attempt to keep him warm. He looked so beautiful, so peaceful - almost like he was sleeping. I vividly remember intuitively rocking him back and forth as I watched people slowly file back into the room. I also remember feeling embarrassment sweep over me when I finally realized that I was doing this. He obviously didn't need my soft swaying to soothe him to sleep, but it is what came naturally to me.
I wanted to comfort my baby in life and in death.
There has been many a time at the cemetery when I've wondered if he was "alright" down there. It's a silly notion, but it's true. In fact, I made sure that he was "taken care of" when we buried him. He had the best casket with the thickest lining and tightest seal. I purchased the softest cap & blanket and washed it in baby detergent along with all of his other burial clothes. I even gave the funeral home a diaper.
This may all sound absurd, but this was my final way of being his "mother".