There are some days when words simply fail me, sweet Flicker. I am generally not accused of brevity, but when trying to explain you – to dignify your life beyond your diagnosis – I just don’t know what to say. So many conversations are had in passing – between meetings, at the grocery store, crossing on the bike path – places that seem inappropriate to detail the weight of your abbreviated life. Instead, I mostly find myself going through the motions of vaguely answering the questions that incredibly well-meaning, caring people ask upon seeing my growing belly:
“We’re due in October.”
“It’s our first.”
“Yes, it’s a boy.”
“Physically I’m feeling very well, thanks for asking.”
“We call the baby Flicker, but don’t have a name picked out yet.”
And on and on and on.
But you and I both know that’s all a facade, sweet Flicker. I can’t ever find the right moment to say:
“But we’re likely not going to be bringing him home.”
“He has a very rare condition.”
“His prognosis is very, very poor.”
“We need lots of prayer.”
I feel like I’m being dishonest; of hiding some of the major details of your life in order to protect myself from an uncomfortable conversation and shield others from your tragedy. I apologize for that. Please know that I’m not ashamed of you, sweet Flicker. I am just at a loss for words and timing. So I retreat to this space; a place where the written word can create a degree of separation between us and the rest of the world. This may be a cop out, sweet Flicker, but it is all I can do to get through the days right now.
At the end of these hard days, when the exhaustion of keeping up appearances takes over my brain and body, I lay in bed and listen to you. You don’t yet have a voice, can’t yet form words, lack the capacity to muster out primal cries. But you have this:
The frenetic, galloping beat yours; the slower, steady beat mine. When words to the outside world fail me, sweet Flicker, it gives me comfort to know that my heatbeat is your soundtrack, always with you in your world, saying just the right thing.