I don’t know you, but we share a son. I realize it is presumptuous of me to say this, since you never willingly shared him, and since he was never really mine — or for that matter, anyone’s. He came into this world belonging to himself, a little light from God shining through so much darkness. I was his mama for such a short time. But then again, so were you. Except you will be his mama for eternity. He is from you. Of you. There is that.
I don’t know you, but I know what it’s like to grow a person in your body. I know the depth of that connection. I know the crushing weight of that love.
I know what it’s like to be desperate. To be so empty inside that you are simply unable to do what needs doing. To feel your own pain so deeply that you don’t have room for other people’s needs.
D, I don’t know you, but I know what it’s like to lose a child. Your child, as a matter of fact. I won’t claim my loss is the same as yours, because it is impossible to know what all of this feels like for you. But I can tell you what it feels like for me. There is an emptiness, a small space inside that can’t be filled. It aches and it tugs and it searches every moment of every day.
I know what it’s like to face down dread, to do more than you thought you were capable of — for love. The day I met you, you had done just that: conquered fears and demons and risked your own freedom to show up for your — our — son.
That day, I noticed you are left-handed. Like me. Like him. It reminded me that all of his beautiful qualities — his dimples, his perfect skin, his gentleness — came from somewhere. Many of them came from you.
Your sister is our son’s mother now. She is the mama who planned the celebration of his fourth birthday, which, as you well know, was last Thursday. (Maybe you were there?) She is the mama who fixes breakfasts and bandages booboos and schedules appointments and snuggles in for stories. Unlike me, she is a blood relative. Unlike you, she is available.
Your sister doesn’t keep in touch (and maybe that’s for the best), so I don’t know how he’s doing. I also don’t know how you’re doing. Like I said, D, I don’t know you.
But we share a son.