I saw your GoFundMe account and started to cry. My heart ached for you even though I don’t have one ounce of experience with anything close to this. Most of us don’t. So I want to send you my condolences by explaining that I don’t understand.
I don’t understand what it’s like to wake up after a good night’s rest only to realize there was a reason you didn’t get woken up.
I don’t understand the panic and tightness in the stomach of rushing to his crib.
I don’t understand picking him up —
I don’t understand the weight of a lifeless 9-pound body.
I don’t understand the screaming, the noises coming from your mouth.
I don’t understand the daze, the ride to the hospital, the diagnosis:
I don’t understand leaving him there, he was only there a month ago,
barely a month old and gone.
I don’t understand wondering if he was ever there at all,
but the postpartum bleeding still there. Something left.
I don’t understand having to sleep at night, a sore face swollen from sobbing,
and then waking to a full chest, a treacherous body still trying to give milk —
but no child to receive it.
I don’t understand having to pump, alone in the dark, while again you sob.
I don’t understand explaining to your 2-year-old what happened to her brother,
how would she even think of him,
her questions only bringing ache and sharp relief to the horror.
“He came to us, for a short time, only, and went back to our Father in Heaven.
He is your angel baby brother, now.”
I don’t understand clinging to faith with all your might, stopping yourself from cursing the God who gave
and then took away.
I don’t understand staying at home, planning a funeral, fielding calls from all the do-gooders and friends,
leaving it to voicemail.
I don’t understand wanting to be alone, but also wanting to be surrounded by familiar laughter,
normal sounds, joining in.
I don’t understand looking into your husband’s eyes and wondering if you
could have done something better, something different, I don’t know, anything.
held him closer that day, stroked his warm cheek three more times,
sang one more song,
taken one million photos of him breathing,
delete everything but him and keep him close
all day, always.
I just don’t understand, and yet I cried for you, I prayed for you, and on your darkest day, you knelt down in the fresh dirt and helped your girl set a flower on his grave.
You smiled, a peaceful, heavy smile.
I don’t understand what could happen in a week to give you that sad, sweet smile, but there you were.
You understood something that I could not.
And I was never prouder.