It was our bittersweet privilege to steward Luke’s little body. Kerry felt this responsibility heavily, felt it was his in particular as a father. We have a friend who is a mortician by trade, who without question or fee took care of the details of bringing Luke’s body from the hospital and wrapping him for burial in one of his Daddy’s white t-shirts. We had a small cedar box made years before by Kerry’s dad, Luke’s grandpa, and it became his coffin. We buried him, Kerry and I, one evening after the kids were in bed. Again, sweet sorrow. Sweet because it was an act of parenting; sad that it was one we never wanted to have to do.
In some ways, losing a child in pregnancy is like watching one of those time-travel movies where a character changes something small in the past and things suddenly begin to vanish from the future. For us, October has lost its significance. The cradle in our room seems to have lost something that once filled it. Projected age gaps between siblings have disappeared. The maternity clothes arranged in my closet will go back into boxes. The anticipated new-baby visit from grandparents is cancelled.
But the future doesn’t remain empty. It repopulates farther out. Now we anticipate a joyful reunion with two children. We think of them together in heaven. We imagine our son fully grown and we feel strangely proud, and a little intimidated, that he will be introducing us to his world someday, rather than us introducing him to ours.