Every year, even decades from now when my hair is white and my hips are made of bio-mechanical plastic, the night of June 14th will haunt me. At 7:00 AM on the morning of every June 15th for the rest of my life, I will begin a day of quiet sitting. I might light a fire in the wood stove to fend off the scotch mist outside, and I'll just sit, and this is what I'll think, just like this:
Was it true?
It felt true.
It felt like we weren't alone.
He went somewhere. Something took him. I don't know where.
I felt him lifted from his body.
Yes. I did.
I don't know what it was, but it was true.
God needed someone to polish the brimstone and reprimand the gays, and so he brought Jesus up. I heard all about it on Fox News. On Jon Stewart. I don't know. I'm confused. Maybe God had a doctor complex. Jesus would be the perfect patient. He would walk into God's office with a birth plan, a life plan, a death plan, and outrage at the medical patriarchy. And God would sigh and gaze longingly at his golf clubs.
Every year, the night of June 14th, Liam will die again. For twelve hours I will cry. Every year, the next morning, I will make a bleary pot of tea and remember that unexpected lifting and grasp at the memory of it, and this will be my ventilator.
My body is unordained. It's just a body. It cannot bear the burden of trust. It is blood and muscle and bone no more or less special than your own, or than the blood and muscle and bone of that damn dog that keeps taking dumps on the beach.
My womb drowned one person, drained the other, and then exploded.
I could get lyrical about it. I could presume to forgive it, except that my womb is a mouthy mofo who thinks anthropomorphic reconciliation is for pussies. (My pussy agrees.) I could take my womb outlet shopping. Strawberry picking. Bowling. Last time I checked, my womb hasn't got any feet. But still. It would kick my ass.
You can't backwards-engineer an experience like this. You cannot will the grief of loss into something called 'healed' any more than an alcoholic can will the end of her alcoholism. It remains, incorporated.
You encounter new goodness and laughter and love. You surround yourself with people who understand that occasional quietness or struggle is not about them, and who never begin sentences with you should unless they end with ...come over 'cause I just made soup. You accept, eventually, at least most of the time. Self-pity loosens its clutch, leaving you feeling blessed and content.
But loss, like motherhood, is not finite. He will always be mine. He will always be gone. I will always have this phantom attached to me, not him but the death of him. And I'll never be sure who is holding the leash.