I don't always know what to say, but I read every one that shows up in my newsfeed. I read your words, and I look closely and with care at your photographs. Your child, red-cheeked and happy. Or snuggling a stuffed alligator. Or side by side with a big brother, daring the sun. I rarely comment, and it's not the sort of post one "likes," and anything I think to say sounds trite or like an oversimplification. Still, I feel compelled to tell you that I read your posts all the time.
I read them because I'm afraid not to read them. An irrational but gripping fear that if I don't honor every grieving mother I will become one. What if it were my child? I ask. Who would read our story? I hug my kids harder, process my dark, unspeakable fears.
But your grief isn't about me or my anxiety or my children who are still here. It is connected only in the flimsy, theoretical way that all mothers are connected. I know this. I want you to know that I also read your posts because your child matters. Whether he was here for a week or a decade or 20 years or is still in the process of letting go, your child matters, and he impacted my life. I want to know what color his eyes were and if he liked stroller walks or watched Bubble Guppies or wanted to be a firefighter or smelled like sleep. I want to know some piece of your child, to memorize it, carry it with me, and add to the beautiful graffiti you etch into the ether: A child was here, and he mattered. And matters still.
Thank you for showing me the shape of your heart, its many fissures, and the light that filters between.
Take care, mama.