The day before Will died
we dressed him in white
and promised him to a god I was uncertain existed.
Still, the thought of him leaving this earth unchristened was too much to shoulder
so the nurses dressed him in satin and lace -
a donated gown for occasions such as this.
The beauty of him broke my heart.
I needed him to belong to someone -
if not to me
then someone (anyone, please, don’t let him be alone wherever it is he was going)
so I promised him away to the universe.
He opened his eyes, when the doctors said he wouldn’t.
He stared right at me
straight into me
and for all the world I wanted to pick him up and hold him.
Instead I asked my husband and my friends the impossible.
I asked it of my family too.
I asked them not to give up on him
even though I already had.
I feel so sad when I think of that moment -
hope and heartbreak all rolled into one sliver of time.
The next morning we dressed him in blue denim overalls and a blue striped shirt
and turned off all of the machines that were keeping his tiny, damaged heart beating.
We held him between us, David and I
and for a few moments he was just Will.
Beautiful and whole
but he didn’t open his eyes even though I wanted it more than anything else.
Even though I begged the uncertain god.
Even though I wished it.
I wonder if he felt us,
Surely, a brain functions at a basic level right up until the very last moment
and warmth are so primal,
I tell myself that he knew -
that he didn’t die alone.
When the photos came back to us
every photo of Will that was taken during our mother-father-baby union
had a distinct green – yellow aura.
The colours of healing and freedom,
the colours of release.
My father cussed and rolled his eyes
telling me it was a glitch in the camera
and that I was being illogical
but I knew that was his spirit letting go
and his way of telling me that he felt that we were with him
and that we would all be okay in the end.
October 9th – 15th is remembrance week for all babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.
Lighting a candle, continuing the wave of light, for all of the angels
and remembering my own.