Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day of the Dead

It's the last day of my 31 days of posting for stillbirth awareness. I am both relieved and torn: some days I feel as if I dwell in this land of broken hearts far too much, while on others I simply acknowledge that this is my life. Or part of it, anyway.

Today is also All Saint's Day, tomorrow is the Day of the Dead. I don't know much about the Day of the Dead, but it seems a fitting time to end my month of blogging. I follow no rituals for this day, or tomorrow, other than tonight's trick-or-treating, handing out candy to little goblins, princesses, and skeletons. But I remember the ones I miss, who are no longer here, who have changed me.

I don't have an altar for Ben, though sometimes I wish I did. Other days I think no, it would be too much for me.

Nor do I have a place to go, to pay homage to him, to sit by his grave and offer him food and drink, candles and light. What is left of him is in my bedroom, in a wooden box sealed shut.

We have it all wrong here in America: bury the dead or scatter their ashes and do our best to forget. How do you forget the child you carried inside you, who kicked you and hiccuped and kept you awake at night, then slipped from your body silently, never to take a breath?

Yes, I want an altar, a gravestone, an offering. A way to honor one of the loves of my life.

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