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Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Dear Josie,

Fondly, lately, I've searched the moon. 

Growing up, I can remember a certain news program.  Every night it would begin with a man's voice:  "It's ten o'clock.  Do you know where your children are?"

Since the day your brother was born, there has not been a minute where I wasn't sure of his location.  Okay, okay, so there was that one time at Kohls when he hid between the racks of clothes and my heart stopped.  I felt my voice growing louder, uncontrolled as I spun circles in the rows of toddler argyle.  Soon enough he stepped out, beaming with pride.

OF course  there was also that day at the Magic House. He began crawling through one of the elevated tunnels and I, roughly 20 weeks pregnant with you, couldn't quite follow.  I yelled for him to wait on the other side, but in his three-year-old excitement he could not be contained.   I watched in horror as he reached the other side and promptly disappeared, down the red twisty slide into a slew of a million other children.

Quickly, I made my way down the steps against the current, dodging the eager children and their annoyed parents, trying not to trip on the multi-colored, bulging carpet.

When I finally reached the bottom of the slide he was nowhere in sight.  I felt my stomach drop. 

My eyes darted from child to crazed child.  There were tunnels and connections to other rooms, parents helping toddlers and parents sitting idly by, watching their children in amazement, parents taking photographs on cellphones and children running, skipping, crawling in all directions.  Had he entered this tunnel? That one?  Was he in the next room in the sand pit?  Was he trapped in some maniac's basement?  Would I ever see him again? Was he cold?  Was he hungry?  Was he scared? 

A mere sixty seconds had passed but to me it was a lifetime.  I ran to the nearest employee, shaking and erratic and I yelled that I couldn't find you.

"It's okay," she assured me.  "This happens.  What is he wearing?" 

By the time I could muster "white t shirt and jeans" I saw him, coming down the slide a second time with a smile and without a care in the world.  And I could breathe again.

It is definitely the worst feeling.  The absolute worst feeling.  The not knowing. 

Maybe that's why I'm still haunted by it, why that first night without you it's all I could think about.  How you weren't inside me anymore, but how you weren't outside me either.  How your body was lying in a freezer somewhere, only you weren't there. Where were you? 

I kept thinking of my greatest responsibility, forever unfulfilled.  How for as long as I'm breathing I'll never have the proof I so desire.  How there's no secret tunnel this time.  No search party.  How every parent who has ever lost a child must always feel slightly neurotic.  Perpetually confused.  Constantly searching, desperate for the evidence that doesn't exist.  How this world seems too small for me now, that I could search every corner and never see your face. 

It's why when people say to me, assure to me that you are here or there, watching over me or in some afterlife or as a part of me forever, I cannot help but question it.  Because I cannot see you there.  Because I am your mother.  Because I need the proof. 

So when it gets hard to breathe  I stare at the moon, and I think of you there.  And if that makes me crazy it's okay, because 240,000 miles is tangible.  It is closer than some vast space I cannot comprehend.    The moon is visible.  Ever-present.  I can see it out my window.  When it hides behind the clouds I never doubt its return.  On my darkest nights, sweet twilight guides me home. 

I think of the words I sang to your brother as a baby, safe in these arms of mine in our rocking chair. 
"I see the moon and the moon sees me
shining through the leaves of the old oak tree.
Oh, let the light that shines on me
shine on the one I love.
Over the mountain, over the sea,
back where my heart is longing to be
Oh, let the light that shines on me
shine on the one I love.
I hear the lark, and the lark hears me
singing from the leaves of the old oak tree
Oh, let the lark that sings to me
sing to the one I love..."

The moon is far away, but that distance is finite.  With the proper transportation I could reach you there.

That's all any parent can ask for. 


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