I’m Running Away From Home Today
I’m running away from home today. Three years ago today I gave birth to my son, Sammy. It was an unexpected home birth. I was alone. And Sammy was stillborn. I can still remember the feeling of stunned disbelief as I realized he was coming NOW. I had no time to call anyone or prepare anything. He was just suddenly there, in my arms.
I had known that he couldn’t survive outside of my womb from the minute the words “incompatible with life” entered my world. But I had chosen to give him every moment of life within me that I could, to savor every kick and tumble, to share my life and body with him until it was time for him to leave me. The movements had stilled, though, some hours before he came into and out of the world, and I knew that he was gone. But this, this unexpected, solitary moment of birth and death, this silent entry into heaven, this I could not have anticipated.
I remember the soft warmth of his body as I held him, waiting for the afterbirth to deliver. I had no scissors to finalize the separation between my son and my body which had given birth and brought death all in the same moment.
I remember staring at his tiny profile and being scared to turn his face fully to mine, afraid of seeing my other children’s features reflected in his still, small face. I remember my husband finally coming and the look of shock and grief on his face as he realized what had happened. I remember the gush of blood, the tiny box, the rush to the hospital, the emergency surgery. I remember the surreal feeling of returning home, to the place of family, of ordinary days, of life and love, and feeling both wrapped in the warm comfort of familiarity and struck by the stark reality of loss.
And so on this day, as the memories crowd close, I will take my earthside children and run away. We will go somewhere that is not here and we will stand beside swaying reeds and feed toddling ducklings. We will ride our bikes under tall trees and marvel at the newly hatched turtles tumbling over each other on the banks of shining waters. We will stop at a little pizzeria and get a market street pepperoni pie and sit outdoors in the sunshine and eat and talk and laugh. We will celebrate each other and life and love, and then we’ll come home and it will be home again. And I’ll be okay…until next year.