All day long, there was bleeding. The nurse smiled warmly whenever our eyes met. Her name was Mary. My name. The name of my aunts and my grandmother. She smiled, and I felt safe with her, but when she looked away from me, there was worry in the lines of her forehead. I noticed it. I noticed how her brows pulled together like magnets every time she examined me. I noticed that my nurses seemed more interested than the last time I stayed here, quietly fluttering in and out of the room like butterflies. I noticed, but I didn’t really care, because I was holding the tiny, warm ball of you in my arms.
Yes, I feel fine. Yes, I’m tired, but I didn’t sleep well last night. My body felt heavy, and I was uncomfortable, and maybe my chart mentions that I just gave birth to a child this morning. No, I really don’t need anything. Unless you can stretch time – can you do that? I only want more time today. Could you make this day the longest one? I need time to soak up every detail of these moments, to absorb them into my memory. Time to properly welcome this newest human to our family and our planet. Time for my skin to speak promises to him. Promises of safety and of love.
Yes, I can take a break, if you think I need to. Here, you take the baby. Yes, I can sit up straight and stand and walk to the restroom by myself, but thank you. I’ve done this before and everything was simple and maybe we’ll go home tomorrow. I have a new baby, and everything is good. It’s SO good. Really. I’m just fine.
Except – why is this room spinning? And everything inside of me just washed to the bottom. Where did the lines go? Where are all the corners? Walls or floors or ceilings, a blur of colors, and that loud sound, don’t you hear it? I need to lie down.
There. That’s better. I’m fine.
Please give me my baby.
That was the beginning of a very slow and a very fast day, a day that felt so long and so short and so high and so low and that almost ended in tragedy. But here’s what I want you to know, Son. Even if that day a dozen years ago had ended differently, even if I had been given only one day to know you, only one day to love you, even if I had held you close for just a single day, it would have been worth it. If I had lost all of the special moments we have shared since you were born (a painful thought that ripples through my heart like a shock), I would have no regrets.
Because . . . YOU.
I remember those hours, from the welcoming beams of dawn until the last gleams at dusk, so vividly. I remember your first cries and the warm wave of relief and the explosive joy that felt like tears when I first held you. I remember loving you all day long. I remember the lights in my room suddenly turning black and I remember the quick strings of urgent words as we rushed into surgery through sleepy hospital halls and I remember the fear that smoldered in loving eyes and the heavy air that hovered low around my bed.
And I remember the overwhelming peace, the comfort that embraced me. The quiet contentment in my mind. I remember that this normally anxious spirit was not afraid of what would happen despite an outcome that was still unclear.
What I remember most is that March 31 was one of the very best days of my life.
Because . . . YOU.
You were not a gift made for me, not someone to be owned, but a beautiful spirit entrusted to our care, to be loved and taught and shared with the world, and then returned to the God who designed you. I didn’t know, on that day, if I would see you in the morning, if you would ever really know who I had been. But I have been given so many more days to enjoy you, and my heart swells with gratitude and with the hope of so many more. Your light stood out in my darkness, and the little spirit that I welcomed grows bigger and brighter and bolder each year.
Love you always,
2 thoughts on “I Remember When the Lights Turned Black”
Thank you, Karen! 🙂