I was already a mama to my own little boy when I met him. I can still remember his little peach fuzz head, perfect little cheeks that I loved kissing. The first born son of one of my dearest friends, we had waited with so much excitement and anticipation to meet him and hold him. I went up to the hospital as soon as the news of his birth came, and I adored his little face from the moment I first saw him, never realizing at that moment how he would change me.
It wasn’t supposed to be like it was. We should’ve been rocking him at home, bringing meals and chocolate to a first time mama struggling with sleep deprivation, not sitting in the neonatal intensive care unit, not rocking him with tubes and machines beeping around us. But even there he was so loved. Peace surrounded him as family and friends never left him alone for a moment. His brave mama smiling and loving every single moment that she had with him.
He went home for a while, not even close to long enough. And then he went to his forever home, and I watched my dear friend, his oh so brave mama, bury her very own heart in the ground. His pooh bear sitting in his crib where he should’ve been. His mama going home to rock in the chair with empty arms.
It’s been many, many Novembers that his life has been remembered in my heart. I have watched as his mama has had more beautiful babies with perfect cheeks for kissing. I have watched her treasure and love her children in a way known to those who have lost. I have watched her go and sit with the other mamas as they said their goodbyes. She sat by my side, comforting me with the thought that our sons were together, grieving with the hope of our reunions.
November and December, as we celebrate the holidays and all that we have to be grateful for, I always think of it also as “his season”, for in these two months, we had him for a short time and then said goodbye. Goodbye for a short time as well. So tonight I remember how he felt in my arms, how honored I was and still am that my friend shared the gift of being able to spend time with him, and I am grateful.