Sweet Flicker I know deep in my soul that it was your time to pass on from this Earth. Your body had been fighting the good fight for so long, and I know you passed without any pain. For what I now understand to be selfish reasons I wanted to carry you longer; to give you more time to grow; to meet you alive at birth. But I now know those outcomes would have very likely led to your pain and suffering, which of course I would have never wanted. All at once I feel both cheated and relieved. Cheated of the time I so desperately wanted; relieved about the time I was not granted. That’s what hindsight allows, I suppose.
Likewise I sit here and write after taking an afternoon walk with your dad on this sunny day, praising His provision in keeping me safe during your delivery despite so many opportunities for things to go wrong. Our walk was long – nearly three miles – which given I birthed you less than a week ago is nothing short of a miracle. It was nearly guaranteed that I was to have a complicated surgery. I had no surgery. It was assumed my labor would stretch for days. You came within a matter of hours. I like to envision you and God sitting together watching over me during your birth, keeping me safe.
Your dad and I have a great many things for which to be thankful, but I will admit it’s hard to give thanks when our grief over you is still so raw. I know we will get there, but this silence, sweet Flicker, is just haunting me in these early days of missing you.
The silence from the home heart monitor on Wednesday morning.
The silence between your dad and I as we drove to the doctor to confirm our fears.
The silence that followed the wailing as we collected your things from our home – blanket, lovie, much-too-large hat – and drove to the hospital for your birth.
The silence of your arrival when we ached for your cries.
The silence of our drive home on Thursday afternoon, an acute emptiness suffocating all words.
And now, the prolonged silence in our home in place of your noises – cries, coos, grunts, laughs – replaced instead by the heavy weight of your absence.
I know, sweet Flicker, that your dad and I will eventually adjust to this silence. Lord willing, this silence will someday be filled with the sound of family. In the meantime, I can absolutely give thanks for these warm, sunny days, the shade of my front porch, and the sounds of the birds and wind that help break up all this silence.