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1 May 2012

I don’t know a great deal about life. I know there’s more grief in the world than I’d prefer. I know that sadness is visited upon good people who have earned better. I know that nature cannot make our bodies perfect. And that sometimes, because of a senseless fault in a spiral of atoms I’ll never understand, a baby cannot live outside the womb. And cannot be kept there.

Gabriel was to be the blessing to a family already beset by grief too terrible to bear. The first child. The new life bubbling up in spring after the long winter of mourning for his uncle Philip, a marine killed in action and not yet twenty. Only a few days ago, Corey and Rebekah’s grandfather passed. Rebekah’s labor prevented their attendance at his funeral. But we had known for months that Gabriel would not survive. Whatever tests physicians do and expectant mothers have had revealed this irremediable defect.

Gabriel lived for two hours and twenty-four minutes.

We are all not more than streaks of light across the sky. Celestial matter burning a path through time and space, short-lived and of questionable purpose. Most of us hope to be of account to someone. To make an impression on a heart that will make an impression on another, and on. To leave this place having imprinted something unique upon it, something of our own.

It is astonishing to me, the depth of heartbreak I can feel about a child I can never meet. The sorrow I feel for his parents, my cousins and friends. His grandparents, my aunt and uncle. For this family – suffering so much loss in so short a time. I think, maybe I should be angry; I have nowhere to put that.

Gabriel’s trajectory was short. Unfairly, randomly, unjustifiably. But it was no less bright for being so. And I’ll remember. He was here. Sometimes, the imprint is a scar.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. inbabyattachmode permalink
    1 May 2012 14:26

    Beautifully written. My thoughts go out to you and your family.

  2. 1 May 2012 21:19

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of Gabriel. So sad that he didn’t live long enough to be aware–but maybe in that short time, he was. But the sadness I felt while reading this leaves me questioning how some of us live to be very old and some of us burn out in such a brief time and are gone.

  3. 2 May 2012 21:42

    I’m sorry to hear about your nephew.

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