“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Many of you who have read my blog in the past have met Julian, my now ten-year-old son who was only three when this picture was taken, right before his first brother, Gabriel, passed away.
Julian was a joyful and beautiful child, even during Gabriel’s passing, not understanding — at that tender age — what “death” even meant. Possibly he believed that death meant “Mommy is crying,” but other than that subtle recognition, life was still defined by toys and teddy bears, and swing sets and rainbows. Rightly so…his life was only just beginning.
Now, several years later, I’d like you to meet Gabriel.
These are his feet. His tiny feet. The feet that kicked and moved, and did everything that they were supposed to do, for the brief forty-eight minutes that he was alive.
No one goes into pregnancy expecting to lose a baby. I know I didn’t. It was a complete surprise, and after it happened, I would look around at other women who had several children and wonder...what did I do wrong? Why is God punishing me?
These questions led to a journal, and that journal led to a book, a book I just recently self-published called Pitter-Pat: A Mother’s Journey from Loss to New Life. I used the book to work through feelings, to voice my sorrows, to scream my pain. All at a world that felt alien and foreign from me.
Over time, the colors of the world grew brighter again, the sounds…nurturing, and I could see, taste and feel a new beginning. I owe a lot of this to Gabriel, my angel who listened to my every word and who allowed me to tell my story within the pages of my nightmare. And I owe a good portion of my recovery to my firstborn son, Julian, as well. When I would cry, he would wipe my tears. When I would grow numb, he would rub my arms. And on days when I didn’t want to respond to either of those maneuvers, he would throw his arms around me and remind me of the beautiful world I still lived in.
Someone once asked me a few months after Gabriel’s death, “What did he look like? You know, since he was born so early.” Her eyes were nervous with the question, her movements…jittery. I could tell by her behavior that she was envisioning a “monster” in her head.
And I cried.
And I smiled.
And I said, “He was beautiful. Just like his big brother.”
We all have a story to tell, and I’d like to share mine.
Pitter-Pat: A Mother’s Journey from Loss to New Life, by Amy Erickson, is now available at awakeningwildflowerbooks.com, as well as several online retailers.