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The boy I never knew

Tags: child, loss

The day I found out about you was one full of mixed emotions. You were unexpected, unplanned but never unwanted yet I couldn’t shift the feelings of foreboding that I had. Uncertainty, fear, dread even, and the feeling that things were no longer within my control.

I barely spoke of you since that day I said goodbye, I set your spirit free. You had been with me and a part of me for 28 weeks, but now it was time to let you fly.

I don’t remember much of the days prior to that. Everything had become a blur, days merged into night into day again. People came and went, I know not who or when.

I had felt your presence in my body, long before the doctor told me so. I had also known something wasn’t right, maybe that was why I had become detached. I had kept quiet about your existence, very few people knew.

That morning I woke up, I knew something was wrong. I had stirred briefly in the night, aware of something, someone... I don’t know what but I had felt odd, strange. I can’t describe it. I had dozed off and woken a few hours later. I put my hands on my stomach, feeling the roundness and knew that something was different. You used to move around in the early hours of the morning, but this morning you hadn’t woken me with a kick to the ribs, I hadn’t felt you moving at all and I didn’t feel your presence. I sensed you were gone. As the doctor later confirmed what I already knew, I was numb, the room was very cold, I was cold. I felt very alone.

When they induced me, I just lay there, going through the motions, but not feeling anything except numbness, I felt empty and a little lost. I saw your hair, your tiny body, you were so perfect. You were not of this world, and you were never really mine. God got to have you, not me and I resented him for that. I knew your name, I remember saying it. I hope they call you by it. I always do.

I learnt about real raw emotion that day. I was hurting the kind of hurt that can never be fixed. It took time for it to sink in. For so long it just seemed like a bad dream.

The duty nurse had patted my arm, telling me not to worry, I was young, there was time for more. I wanted to claw her eyes out, how dare she make you seem insignificant, how dare she speak of you like you were a thing, not a little boy, my little boy.

When we said goodbye, I remember hearing the guinea fowls squabbling in the grass and a male impala calling his herd. It was a beautiful day. The morning rain had washed the dust from the bushes and trees, the lake shore had that earthy smell of wet soil. A breeze had picked up, blowing through the long grass and as we sent you on your way I closed my eyes and took an unsteady breath. When I opened them the clouds had parted, and a shaft of sunlight came through, bathing where we stood in a golden light.

I think about you more and more these days. I told some people about you, people who never knew me then. I even smile now, when I think of you, and I know that when I die, we will finally get to meet, and you will be just as handsome as I imagine you to be.

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