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.