I held you in my lap on Monday. I was in the passenger seat and I clenched you, the brown boxes of you, as we wound along the roads from there to here. How I’ve wanted to hold you this past month, all those days in the hospital and all the days since. Even after you died, when I was allowed to climb onto the mattress next to you, to stroke your hair and whisper those last times into your ear, I wanted to pull you in, squeeze you like I always have. Not holding you, not touching your skin feels impossible. Yet here we are.
|An everyday hug|
And now I’ve held this new version of you, these two weighted boxes with your name on them. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we arrived to claim your ashes. But you are not you at all. You are like a parcel waiting to be shipped. And when your dad takes his parcel version of you to his house, well, I cannot understand how can you be in two different places at the same time. Someone measured and made equal the ashes you left behind. It’s not like having some of your clothes here and some of them there.
All those days, and even now, I yearn to wrap my arms around your body as I have done all the days that I can remember being your mother. Even before you were born, I would fold my arms around your curled up body as it rolled inside of me. Why didn’t I hug you longer each time I kissed you goodnight? Why didn’t I hug you when you came in from school every day? How did I let you slip into your dad’s house without more fanfare? Did I really believe there would always be more? That the opportunities stretched beyond any given goodbye?
Only now do I realize that more than my wants to hold you, to feel the way your elbows bend and the points of your shoulder blades, is my desire to feel you hugging me back, your small hands squeezing mine. To feel the weight of your limbs around my body or sitting on my lap just like all the other days. To press my nose into your hair and breathe you in, the warm wisps of love.