Somewhere in another state a new mother brought her precious daughter home only to have her die 5 days later. She tweeted that they will wear pink at her funeral.
Her pain was raw even through the filter of cyberspace. I knew what she was wondering. How will I manage to take another step? To talk? To breathe? I could feel it because I have lived it.
When Aidan died I was bereft in my agony. There are no other words. I was still hospitalized at the time, and so I lay in my hospital bed and just stared at the ceiling. I cried a lot. Sometimes out loud and sometimes silently to myself. There was no day or night, just a cloak of despair.
But then an acquaintance came to visit. We knew each other well enough to exchange pleasantries. Have you been skiing? What are your plans for the summer? Many people had come to visit, but her visit was different, because we we were now members of the saddest sorority – mothers who have lost a baby.
She brought me a huge paper bag (I remember it was a Safeway bag) filled with books. “I thought reading might help, you know, it helped me a little,” she said.
And then she just sat beside me.
She was about three years out from her tragedy. Like me, a son who took one or two breaths and then that was simply it. A life of hope, a future imagined, simply gone. I asked her how she made it through. How could she walk, talk, breathe, because I was having problems with all of them. I knew she was waiting for my question.
She looked at me and said, “I don’t know what I did, but it gets a bit easier with time. It just does.” And her sitting there beside me, to offer her support was testimony to that fact. I could feel the energy in the room change, just a little.
We didn’t say much. There isn’t much to say. Sorry is just so ineffectual. But knowing that someone else made it through and that the wounds had somehow knitted together, not really healed, but closed, was more comforting than anything anyone could say or do. She was a beacon. Until then I was drifting aimlessly, and while I still had much grieving to do at least I had proof now there was another side, that at some point there would be solid ground.
So if I could come and sit with you and bring you a bag of books, I would. I would hold your hand and just listen. I would be your beacon and let you know that at some point, in your own time, you will come ashore once again.