Dear Lucian Elliott, my precious baby boy,
I was four months along when we lost you in July. As your name implies, you returned to the “light”; to the warmth of The Creator and into the deep loving heart of the Universe.
It’s amazing how much I can love something I never got to hold, smell, or kiss. But we saw you and you were perfect. You didn’t have any of the typical laundry list of problems that come with babies of Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome). Your tiny hands weren’t clenched, your kicking feet were not clubbed, your heart beat strongly, and all of your organs were intact. Except for one: your brain. You didn’t have a cerebellum and the amount of fluid in your head was excessive.
I knew early on that something was wrong, but I pushed it away. Mostly, I remember just how quiet you were. It was as if your body was there, but your soul wasn’t. It’s really hard to put into words.
We have your ashes. Where would you like to be scattered? I was thinking about sprinkling you under a tree, because I love trees. Daddy might want to scatter you in the ocean, because he loves the water. Maybe both? What I wouldn’t do to hear your voice so you can tell Mommy and Daddy what you prefer.
I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet your big brother. You would’ve loved him. He’s the sweetest, funniest, most laid-back person who loves cars and anything with wheels. Apple Sauce would’ve enjoyed a constant friend to play cars with. I know he would’ve loved you, too. He would’ve been an excellent big brother to you.
And I’m sorry you couldn’t experience all of our love. We have so much to give. What I wouldn’t do to have been given the chance to hold you and watch you grow up. But even if you had made it into our arms, you would’ve returned to the light eventually. There was no life here for you, even if we had put you on machines. That would’ve been your “life” and what kind of a life is that? So I know you’re in a better place. You’re at peace and will never know suffering. Instead, I hold you close in my heart.
My grief for you runs deep. I can tuck in the sadness for just long enough, but if I gently pull out even a strand of it, the sadness can’t help itself and sometimes tumbles out altogether. One time it got too much for me, so I went on a spur-of-the-moment weekend Yoga Retreat. It didn’t make the pain go away, but it eased it and I left feeling refreshed.
Please know that Mommy and Daddy will be OK, because we are positive people. Not once have I thought that we wouldn’t try again. Nor have I tossed around all of the “whys” of it all. I would go crazy, and it’s lonely and crazy enough. I try not to wish for things that will never be, but I have been angry. Angry at people for not knowing how to comfort me and angry for feeling as if I can’t talk about you. I try to be compassionate, because I truly do get it. I know people are afraid they’ll upset me or they don’t know what to say. It just would’ve made it less lonely if I had gotten a nice note, email, or text from the few who knew of your passing and who ignored the subject altogether.
Maybe I can teach people how to comfort others who may be grieving. And that’s why I tell you this: to teach you that even in the worst of times, something good can come out. And to forgive others, especially when perhaps they weren’t taught how and they don’t know any better, because I, too, was once in their shoes.
This is how I grieve for you. Especially in groups and around other babies. I don’t want to be in groups or around babies. It’s too hard. It’s the small-talk and the fake smile I feel I have to put on, when really, sometimes I just want to talk about you. But now I do speak of you, no matter how uncomfortable it makes others, because it’s healing for me. Plus, why would I keep my son a secret? Why does your death have to be so hush-hush? I won’t let your small existence be ignored. Because we wanted you and we loved you and I don’t feel I honor you by staying toxically silent.
Lucian, I know where you are. You are with-IN me and with-OUT me. I will always be with-IN and with-OUT you. My heart softens knowing you are safely nestled in Creation’s warm light. I know you are back where you came from-where all souls come from. Please wait for me and Daddy and Apple Sauce (and any other sibling we hope to have), but wait in happiness and joy. We are in no hurry to finish this Earth-bound life; at the same time I can’t wait to meet you one day. We will see you when it’s Mommy and Daddy’s turn to enter Death’s embrace, where we can kiss and cuddle and you can tell us all about your time there.
We love you. Always and forever.