If my first child had been born on his due date, he would be ten years old today. He would have dark hair and light eyes – blue like Steven’s, or hazel like mine. He would be ten – full of boyish charm and sweat and dirt and ten – almost a teenager, almost a middle schooler (my favorite awkward age to teach), almost… What kind of big brother would he have been? I’m sure he would have been tall like my husband, with the same magical, mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
It seems wrong not to acknowledge his loss today, but I am at a loss to appropriately mark his passing. There was no body to bury, no headstone to lay flowers on, no record of his life at all except for in my medical history, as the first of many “recurrent spontaneous abortions.” My body is the only place he lived. And died. Am I a walking graveyard? Somedays it feels that way.
Today, my body is weary of marking the passage of these lost children; my soul dark and void and chaotic in the face of their memory.
I named him Baruch, Hebrew for “blessing,” because I intended to wrestle like Jacob until God blessed me in spite of this horrific loss. I wrestled through loss after loss after loss, and I have been blessed, though in none of the ways I intended in the early days after Baruch’s death.
I wonder what God’s name for my child is. I wonder what his name for me is. Is it a name I’ve grown into, the way a tiny child saddled with an enormous name or a chain of forefathers will? Is it a name earned by what I’ve endured? A name reflective of the magnitude of grace and love that allowed me to endure? Some days I’m ready to trade in my earth-name for my God-given heaven-name. I long to know as I am known, to see God’s face, to see the faces I’ve lost.
But I still have work to do here – to love as I am loved, to know God and to make him known, to carry the memories of children I never met, to endure and thrive and encourage as many people as I can to run with me across the finish line. That is how I will mark the passing of my Baruch. My blessing.