Thursday, November 15, 2012
I heard his first little cries from across the hallway, but when they saw my unexpected wakefulness from anesthesia, they quickly shut the doors. The glimpse I caught was of medical people surrounding my baby. I knew by his cries that he was of my flesh and blood. A mother knows these things.
I didn’t know why they didn’t want me to see him, but when my OB/GYN turned around to see me awake and inquisitive, his surprised look soon turned to a troubled one.
“Oh, I heard my baby’s first cries,” I said excitedly. I was already treasuring him after nine months of loving him in my womb. “What did I have?”
He looked somber. “You had a boy, but there’s a little problem.”
Undeterred and unconcerned, I was young, undaunted by difficulty. And as those with their lives ahead of them often feel, nothing was unfixable.
“Okay, well, we’ll help him, right?” I brightly offered, despite a bit of haziness remaining from the drug that mitigated the pain of childbirth.
Two days later, my son – Kevin James – died. Without having been allowed to see him, hold him, or say goodbye, my sorrow was unfathomable. Little did I know at that moment of his death just how absurd my life would be over my lifetime. I did not have the luxury of a crystal ball to look ahead, as I now have to look back.
A long, bumpy, crazy ride over decades of agony and ecstasy that one dares not try to make sense of, I figured that maybe writing about it would be cathartic. Maybe not. I think it dawned on me at the point when I lost Kevin – at the tender age of 18 – that my life would always be too cold for cacti.