like his sisters

I sat on one of my favorite couches with one of my favorite people and looked at pictures.
A new mom showing off photos of her baby.
We compared noses and eyes and talked about who he favored most.
And it was normal and good.
Just another Tuesday with a friend.
A mom showing me pictures of her newborn.

Except hers was stillborn.
And he wasn’t just sleeping sweetly in these photos.
And somehow I looked.
I nodded.
I agreed.
And oohed and ahhed just like you do with most baby pictures.
Because you can’t help it.
I compared them to his sister’s newborn photos.
And it was normal and okay and good.
And he did look like his sister.
And have amazingly sweet blond hair.
And wrinkled little feet.
I wasn’t pretending or trying.
I meant it.
I wanted to see.

But later in the car.
It hit me.
And I shook with grief.
I had to pull over more than once and gather myself together enough to get home.
To stop crying long enough to see the road.
And when I tried to go to sleep that night.
And for many nights after those pictures haunted me.
Everytime I closed my eyes I saw him.
I saw greif.

But for a few moments on my friend’s couch,
I saw her son.
And his cute little nose.
And tiny fingers.
And he was beautiful.
And that is what I close my eyes and see now.

(participating in Momalom's 5 for's topic: pictures.


Sarah said...

You are a good, dear friend to have done that with her. To have looked at the pictures. To have oohed and aahed. I don't know that everyone could have done that. It was selfless and graceful.

What a lovely way to pay tribute to your friend, to yourself, and to that sweet, little boy.


Heather Caliri said...

I agree with Sarah. I have looked through the memories of a mom who lost her baby after a few days, and it is terrifying. And yet it honors that loss, that child.

Kelly Quinones Miller said...

I am inspired the love and strength that mother had ... has ... for her child. Not that it's there, but that she could find it in a moment that would swallow others whole. That you could be there with her and present in the strength, is a blessing.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

Wow. This is so powerful. Thank you for making me feel. It feels good to feel. Really feel.

Adrienne said...

So much power here. Power in photos, power in your words. You found power to serve and grieve with your friend - so difficult. I'm inspired to remember that we can so often do more than we think we brave and full of love to not pull back from this, but to be IN IT with her. This is very moving.

Justine said...

I'm at a loss for words. Holding it together like that until you're by yourself had to be tough.

I'm amazed at your strength, for being there for your friend, and for your support in what must have been a terrible time.

Stacia said...

Oh, my heart is broken. And also buoyed, by your strength and your friend's.

Kate said...

Powerful, frightening and wonderful.

I remember sitting with a new friend at her house and seeing two pictures on the mantle. But she has only one son, I thought. And as the story unfolded about her twins who struggled so to survive and how this one, our angel here, died. My breath caught. I looked away. I didn't know how to see. A few months later, after more time to know this strong lady, I could see. But it haunts me still - the love-grief, the joy-sorrow.

You have a gift for friendship, the deep and meaningful kind. It shows through so often here.

Rudri said...

Oh this post makes you sink into your friend's grief. What a way to honor his memory.

Melissa said...

So good of you to sit with her, and so brave of her to share her pain. I am sure he was a beautiful baby.

Margie said...

Oh, my goodness. I'm speechless.