Sitting around the tree decorated with beautiful ornaments, old and new, I glimpse the one I gave your grandparents last year in memory of you. A carved wooden angel holding a baby. Cradled in ephemeral arms in a place I can’t reach you. Just another reminder you’re gone, and this is my second Christmas without you.
With your brother here now, it’s hard to imagine I gave birth to you in the same way he was brought into the world. I held you, my firstborn. It’s hard to believe you were flesh and bone, and that you left us so quickly. Your life was a brief whirlwind that tossled our lives and left us with the aftermath of your absence. Losing you stings badly, and I’m left wondering what this Christmas would have been like with you here instead.
I only have my imagination to gauge what our memories would have felt like. A bouncing baby Henry, dressed in the clothes Corin wears now, sleeping in the bed your brother has claimed. Your shadows dancing on the wall, your eyes gazing up at the ceiling fan. Your cries on the change table, your coos and burps on my shoulder. Your body I hover over dozens of times per day to check, again, that you’re alright. In a way, Henry, you gave us Corin by ceding your spot in our family. But you will always have a placeholder in my heart that is unreachable by anyone alive today. No one but you can be my first child.
Do I have to wipe the grit from my knees from the times I collapse, literally or figuratively, at how unfair life is, that you would not be here with us, and worst of all, that others might not remember you and how important you are to me? My one Christmas wish is that you know how much I love you, Henry, and that I would carve and paint myself like that angel in the tree if it means I would get to hold you.