Friday, February 29, 2008

I don't know the color of your eyes

I am following AMS's lead at Our Own Creation who got the idea from here and I am posting a view of loss. This is an open letter to our son, Ernest, who died shortly after birth due to a fatal birth defect.

I don't know the color of your eyes. I don't know if I never thought to ask or if I used to know and have forgotten. It seems to me that they were hazel. I never looked at them, but I think the information was supplied by the hospital staff where you were born.

The problem is that the information is in a remembrance box that I can't bare to open. Inside it is a lock of your hair; prints of your perfect little feet; a description - I think - of your eyes and, the hardest part, a picture of you with your mom and dad and they are looking so sad with lost expressions on their faces. They don't know how to deal with you lying in their arms and not breathing and not ever going to breathe. We tried to do the right things - to do the things we would hold dear in our memories later, but we were in shock. We had to get our minds into a non-emotional place to be able to get through your delivery and we didn't have time to let our emotions return.

I wish I had held you longer. I wish I had unwrapped the blanket from your little body and took all of you in, not just your head and face. I never even held your tiny hand. I saw it though. I saw the doctor as she held it up to demonstrate that you had little, if any, muscle. It was curled into a tiny, loose fist.

I remember now that I did see your body briefly just after you were born. You were as limp as a rag doll with no color to your cheeks. Then they swept you away and told us you wouldn't live and then wrapped you in the blanket we brought before giving you back to us.

And then I held you and kissed your face and gently stroked your cheek. I told you how sorry I was that I wasn't able to keep you safe. It was over too soon. I could have held on to you longer, but I didn't know what to do. I didn't think holding you longer would help. Maybe it wouldn't have. Maybe I am better off not having a clear picture of a body without enough muscle. Maybe it is better that I never saw your eyes because the only way to have seen them would have been a morbid action - somehow a violation of your perfect, sleeping form.

Someday I will open the box again. Someday I will find out if I am right about the color of your eyes or if I made it up. You were one of a kind, Ernest. You are the only baby who will ever be of the product of mine and your dad's genes. Maybe one day I will learn that I will never know the color of your eyes. Or maybe the box does contain a description of your eyes, but it won't be hazel like I remember. But for today, I will remember your eyes as being hazel. Today it feels good to think of your eyes as the same color as mine.

21 comments:

Michell said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. This is a beautiful letter for a so sad situation.

midlife mommy said...

I cannot even imagine how hard that must have been. I had two miscarriages, but they were early and not even close to being the same. Hugs to you, and to your little guy in heaven.

Familyof2 said...

Wow. That is a powerful letter to your most perfect baby boy. You are remarkable for being able to share that with us.

niobe said...

This is a truly beautiful, heartbreaking post, a perfect description of something no-one should ever have to experience.

A.M.S. said...

How incredibly touching, beautiful.

All my love.

MrsSpock said...

What a beautiful letter. This brought tears to my eyes.

Lori said...

Oh, Kami. This is a heartbreakingly beautiful post.

I am so sad for the loss of Ernest.

Wishing you wholeness and peace. May this letter and the thoughts behind it help bring you both.

Julia said...

I raised my son's eyelid and looked at his eye color because something told me I would want to know. they were baby blue, just like his sister's when she was born. They didn't stay that color for her, and so I am left with the knowledge that I still don't know what color my son's eyes would have been. And it breaks my heart.

I am sorry Earnest isn't here with you. I am sorry it's the box that may hold the answer to this most basic question about your son. I am sorry.

stacyb said...

this letter is so heartfelt and honest and beautiful. i am sorry for all that you and your husband went through with Ernest.

thank you for sharing such a private time with us.

Becky said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I came over via Cali, and this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I'm so sorry that it had to happen like this.

Foreverhopeful said...

Oh Kami.. this is such a beautiful and touching letter (brings tears to my eyes). I'm so sorry that you had to experience such a painful loss. I can only imagine how hard it must be to heal from something like that. Thank you for being so honest and sharing such an itimate part of your soul.

m said...

Kami, this is a beautiful letter. I so hope that your words heal you and your husband, the way they so often help me.

hope548 said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it.

Summer said...

I am so sorry.

Thank you for sharing this letter with us.

Geohde said...

Kami, words almost fail me. I am so very very sorry that you lost your little boy.

J

passingwindows said...

What a beautiful post. I never saw my babies' bodies either, just my daughter's head and her little body wrapped up, looking as if she was sleeping. I can't look at my memory boxes either. I never thought about the colour of their eyes. I liked your post because it reminds me that our children are still our children even if they are not here. Especially because they may be the only combination of our husbands genes with ours that we will ever see.

Irish Girl said...

Kami, what a touching letter to your son. You are a strong, wise, brave woman.

Freyja said...

Brought tears to my eyes.

Amanda said...

Your letter to Ernest made me realize I don't know the color of my Zachary's eyes either. I'd never thought of that until now...

meg said...

This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking post. I don't know the colors of my babies' eyes either. I never thought to check.

B said...

Ohhhh Kami

I am sorry it has taken me a little while to respond to this truly beautiful post. I know what you mean about wondering what colour your sons eyes were. I am sad that you can't bear to open the box - both literally and metaphorically. I understand that feeling......... and I don't know if it will ever be easier.

I am sorry Ernest is not here with you. It is not fair. I know he would have been such a great little kid. How could he not have been with such a wonderful mom and dad. I am glad that you are becoming a mum after all this......... all this....... It is too much for one lifetime.

take care

Barbs (b)