I keep waiting to feel better. Waiting for the wound to feel less fresh, more healed. The other day my i*pod ran through to music I had loaded into it after Caleb died. I let it play to see if maybe now, listening to the songs would rest a little easier on my ears. Bring comfort, not pain.They didn't. This wound is a stubborn thing. No matter the time that passes, it will not scar over. I check it to see if maybe I only scratch at it lightly it won't bleed. But it still does. I don't even think a scab has taken up temporary residence over the gash. It's more like I have a tourniquet on it and if I let go of it, no matter how quickly, the freshness of the injury will be unveiled.
It's stubborn in its permanence. Tenacious in its grip. No matter how many days I put between myself and its arrival all I can do is grow accustomed to its vice like squeeze, learn to take shallower breaths, ignore its shadow as it lingers on the walls around me. Reminding me, sometimes quietly other times forcefully, that it is here to stay.
I can go about my days now with this unrelenting force hanging about and I am fairly adept at quieting it's almost melodic hmmmmm in the background. But eventually it will grow impatient with me and feel the need to shake me into recognition of its presence. A few days ago as I sat watching Cason in his jumpy seat he scrunched up his face, wrinkled his forehead and squinted his eyes, one eye drooping down as the other furrowed into his brow line. And he was the mirror image of one of the few actual pictures I have of Caleb after he was born. It took my breath away. As we, the husband and kids and I, laughed at the face Cason was making I wanted to say, I started to say, he looks just like Caleb in the picture I have. But the words stopped short in my throat. Caught by the lump that suddenly appeared and the rapid fire succession of thoughts that flew through my mind. If I mention the picture, the kids may want to see it. I don't want them to see it. Not being a full or even near full term baby, Caleb's pictures are not images I want my children to have of their lost brother. While I can see the baby I saw after delivery and his resemblance to his older sister, they will see a dead baby, who does not look peaceful and beautiful. Not to them. He looks unfinished and dead. Now in their minds he is a complete baby, a dead baby yes, but a baby that looks more like other babies do when they sleep. And if they have to have an image of their dead baby brother, that is the one I want them to have, not the other more real one that shows the horror of death, the rawness of life choked away too soon from an innocent baby.
I turned away to hide my eyes, to give myself the moments I needed to re-wrap the tourniquet, bind it more tightly, stop the fresh flow. One more time. Again.
And then I rejoined the living.