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

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Story of Ben

I make the mistake, all too frequently, of thinking that Ben's story belongs only to me. Yes, I cling to it, to him, possessively, a mother bear ready to fight for her cub. I think that he is solely mine because I carried him in my womb, because he spent all of his life, his living, within me. I want him to be all mine because I have so little to show he was ever here.

There are other stories of his life and death that I forget. His father's story. His grandparents' and aunts', uncles', cousins' stories. His brother's and sister's stories.

All of these stories are incomplete, just like mine, but no less valid, no less real. I was reminded this morning of that reality by James, who cried in bed as I prodded him to get up, get ready for school. "I miss my brother," he said, as a tear rolled down his cheek. And while I don't think he was crying because he misses the brother who lived and died before he came to be, I could only think of how different our lives would be had Ben lived. That James and Charlotte will have their own stories to tell one day of how they think their lives changed because one of us is gone.

I want Ben's story to be mine only, because I am selfish, because I miss him, because I am his mother. But all of us lost something the day he died. All of us, whether we acknowledge it or not.


Hope's Mama said...

You're so right. It is very easy to do this, and I certainly do it all the the time.

Catherine W said...

Oh your dear little James. I understand that want for Ben's story to belong solely to you. I have felt it myself but, perhaps as G was a twin, I'm never too sure if the loss is 'mine' or her surviving sister's. Her sister was really the person who knew her best and, whilst she may have other siblings and I may have other children but these will not replace G and J will never grow up with her twin, a bond that might have lasted her whole life. Or perhaps that romanticizing, perhaps twins are no different from other siblings? I just don't know.