My mother is lying in bed dying while my newborn son and I are next to her breastfeeding. Sounds pretty made for TV movie epic doesn’t it?
What is remarkable to me is how identical the two processes are.
Birth and death.
And not in the ways you think, not like transformation and beginning and endings and circle of life stuff.
More like the day-to-day tasks of caring for the dying and the newborn are identical.
Wiping dirty bums.
Changing clothes 3 times a day from spills.
And all done with such love.
I only want her to be comfortable. I want him to feel good.
And everything goes into their mouths and textures make them blissed out happy. And the giggling…and the forehead stroking…we could go on for days.
I watched my son discover his hands this early morning. Holy shit! these weird wavy things in front of him were his!
And as I lay beside my mom that night she raised her arms and hallucinated on her own fingertips and the shadows they made. Stroking her own arms, up and down, rediscovering sensation again and again for the first time.
They both babble and I pretend to understand.
They both keep me up all night with their fussing.
They are frustrated about their inabilty to communicate and they both collect sweat in their neck creases.
They love a bath, warm water trickling on their faces.
They love being soft and feeling comfy.
They nap a lot and like the lights low and voices quiet.
I feel guilty that I’m not giving him enough attention right now.
I feel equally gutted that I wasn’t the daughter I wish I could be.
You know the old adage “when you have your own kids you will finally know what your parents went through and be thankful to them.”
Well I am.
But I didn’t expect to find out “if you bring a child into the world you will bless them with a broken heart.”
So while grieving my own mother, I watch my boy and I want to apologize to him. “I’m sorry” I whisper “one day, you will lose the thing that made you the amazing being you are- and if I get motherhood right, it will crack you in half. Forgive me my son, for loving you that well.”
A mothers love. I feel it pulsing on all sides of me right now. A force, if harnessed, quite possibly the most potent energy in the world.
At night I watch them both breathing. Seeing their chests raise and fall and I am aware of the seconds.
Relived, it’s not time yet, not just yet. We are safe. We are still all together discovering things.