Enough time

photo by  Xin Li

photo by Xin Li

I’ll give you a minute, the doctor said.
A minute to sort through the daze
A minute to take in that the baby was gone
A minute to cry out in pain.

We’ll let you spend some time with your family, the nurses said.
An hour or two to talk about nothing and everything
Mourning the loss in our varying ways
Mourning the loss of the child
Mourning the loss of mind, heart, soul.

Time to go to theatre.
An hour to deliver
Baby arrived without a sound.
Minutes to hold her in private
Minutes to hold the sleeping child for the first time
Minutes to no longer ignore she wasn't alive
Minutes to realize she wouldn't cry
Two more hours and


Time to go to the funeral.
I drove home with a tiny bag of ashes.
You just need to eat and sleep a little, they said.
You'll feel better in the morning.

Six weeks leave from work
To drink in the absence and emptiness
Aimless, powerless
Waiting for the madness to subside.
It didn't.       

Years have passed.
I still see looks of concern
Crossing faces every now and then
Not voiced but there:
It’s not healthy that she’s still sad
It’s so sad she doesn't want to have more
Is this writing about the baby, really helping her?
I see it and say nothing.

I don’t need to.

They think I've had enough time.

Intentionally or unintentionally, those closest to us sometimes place unrealistic time limits on us to move on after the loss of a baby. Have you ever felt pressure from those around you to prematurely move on, very early on or years into your loss? How did you handle it?