Laying flat on my back on the couch surrounded by the darkness in my heart is how I have spent many bright days and long cold nights over the last three years since Silas died. I was not new to the idea of sadness and loss and hardship, but it was a revelation to be consumed by it so completely.
After all, there is nothing as completely devastating as the loss of your son or daughter. We know our parents and grandparents are not immortal, but it seems like a given that our children will outlive us long and strong, healthy and true.
But now I know.
Silas's death transformed my guts. I used to shit perfectly. Once in the morning, once at night. Solid, honest craps each of them. But now I'm erratic. Sometimes the toilet sucks, and I know I'm not good when I'm not looking forward to that daily event.
Do you know the gurgles? When laying flat on said back completely annihilated by how painful it is to miss my son I feel the slow crawl of tension mixed with terror sleazing through my innards in the dreadful, lonely night. Lu is next to me so I'm not alone but the loss is endless. Like the night will never end. Like the gurgle slip-slithering through my insides will never end in a solid shit.
It is the gut-pit we all know.
It seems clear to me that all the sorrows of all that is known can fall endlessly into the despair that parents feel for the loss of our little ones.
Based upon my own experience, it really is that fucking bad. You can't hyperbole the shitiness of this shit.
Our arms are made to hold them close, even when they are not here.
Here he is, though. Absolutely present in my life. My son Silas. He exists more concretely in the typing of his name than in his physical existence. I held him briefly hooked up to tubes and then later when it was only us, but I've held him even closer in the way I think about him, the way I write about my life without him.
I've learned to think in a certain way that seemed invaluable to survival. Music was my first refuge. I fell in love with music that made me feel Silas's absence with crystalline clarity. After music it was laughter. My brothers helped to remind me that bitter laughter is better than none at all. And if I could find my way to open my mouth to speak or yell or maybe even laugh, then food and drink would surely find it's way in.
Look at me! I'm a normally fuckitioning human. Yeah that's right. Fuck you functioning. Good as fucking new.
Slowly I re-learned how to present a relatively normal facade, but always at the center of our focus was creating Silas's sibling.
I write to you now from the other side. Stop reading if you are angry about not having a child, or if your loss is so fresh everything is enraging. Read that top part again, and keep fighting. Don't let anyone stop you from being exactly who and how you need to be. Do not stop. Do not stop. Get up, stand up, throw those fucking hands up. Push out the night. Hide from the daylight. Embrace your endless, enraging tears for your child, your daughter, your son, your big sticky stinky shitting fucking life.
It's true, it really does suck this much, and it always will. Always always always. It will always suck exactly this much that you and me and my wife and your grandparents and our siblings lost a life that was going to be amazing.
Stop reading if you're not pregnant yet with your next child, of if you're in your pregnancy and are freaking out all the time like we were. Stop reading if you're me a year ago and I couldn't stand to read about the next, bright part of people's lives.
I'm on a futon in the living room and Puck is digging his furry, feline head under the folds of my sleeping bag. The detritus of baby surrounds me. In what used to be my bedroom: my wife, the other cats, my second son Zephyr, all sleeping & feeding & crying & pooping as babies do, and sometimes moms and kitties, too.
I stopped believing in hope and now it's my full-time fucking job. I hope he's okay. I hope that rash is no big deal. I hope he's not crying because he's deathly ill. I hope I get to see him more tomorrow.
I have to hope, and I've trained myself to stop that silliness and deal instead with exactly is right in front of me. Except now, what is right in front of me, in my arms, is a son I feared to hope for.
The gurgle is in my heart, now. The gurgle is in my brain when I see Zeph's little-old-man-new face staring back at me, absurdly alive and utterly clueless to how powerful he is. He has annihilated time. It reminds me of when we first lost Silas and day or night meant nothing at all.
It is so much better now.
I didn't want to write this part. Lu thought it was necessary, though. She wanted people to know that there is still always hope of some kind. We were the worst kind of unlucky to lose our son Silas, but we are profoundly fortunate to have Zeph with us now. She never let go of that possibility while I continued to prepare for exactly what was, every day, over and over again, no matter how shitty.
She's in there right now using her breasts to feed and grow our son. I'm out here on the futon writing about our insanely brutal and beautiful and sad and hilarious lives as Airbag blasts from little speakers, my toes tucked into the sleeping bag and Chumby our cat curled up on the couch. I will sleep tonight completely enraptured by the endless darkness of Silas's absence and the now-ever-present force that is my other son Zephyr who is brilliantly alive and utterly confounding. How do we do this now? How does anyone?
Okay, I hear tears. Maybe time for a diaper change or midnight dance-party. Different day, better shit.
What physical aspects of your life changed when you lost your child? What have you reclaimed since then, what is forever altered? Has the lack of physical connection with your lost child forced you to find other routes to feeling close to them? What are they? What else do you want and how will you get it?