I began to feel my son blooming within me, the moment I conceived him. At first he was just a thought, but quickly, and with increasing momentum, he became my entire reality. I tried to connect with him every moment, or at least as often as I could. I would listen to hypno-birthing cd’s. They told me through a hushed, melodic voice, to relax and imagine picking flowers named for patience, courage, and love, or to imagine my body filled with rainbow colors swirling around my rainbow of a son. That last one was my favorite. I loved thinking of him curled up inside me, filled with luminescent shades of swirling mama-love. I meditated on that every day. I felt closest to him in that private, yet shared, space. After he died, I tried a handful of times through the years to feel him again in that precious, close reverie, residing in myself and I still can’t do it. Just thinking of it makes my lungs tighten, and I unconsciously hold my breath, so skilled I am now at holding back those inopportune tears. But he is there. I think. One day I might be able to go back to my inner-rainbow, I’m just so afraid that I’ll find him gone, with nothing but the dark inside.
But I have new space now, one that is safe, and lets me continue breathing. It was always there actually, I just rarely used it while he was growing in me: Dancing.
I grew up dancing and it runs in the very core of my being. It was there before everything happened in my life, before travelling, before marriage, before children, before death. When the music is loud enough it pushes me out of my brain, filled with thoughts, and into my heart, filled with feelings. My son’s essence beats strong and undying there within my own blood. I lose myself in the melody and feel the closeness envelope my senses. I notice only my clothes brushing against my skin, my hair pulled back tight keeping it from my face, and that my heart is still miraculously beating. I am warm and strong in that place of bright lights and anonymity within the crowd.
It has been long enough that I can think of my son and cry secret, silent tears, over my false, glittery lashes. But the tears are full of sweetness. I feel him with me there and it makes me feel beautiful and as complete as I can.
I’m fairly confident that no one around me has any clue what I’m thinking and feeling. On the outside, I look just like a pretty lady, dressed to the nines and like someone who spends way too much time in craft stores with sparkles and ribbon in my wake. Dancing is the loveliest way I glue the tiny pieces of myself back together, making it beautiful within the cracks. I am building something within me that can’t get sick or die—ever. I get to keep it, as long as I want, that un-named emotion that is connection with ourselves. Brona exists in that space with me, and when I get there, I feel the closest to him that I ever do and it always makes me cry.
I might try again someday to close my eyes in silence and rainbows. But for now I’ll wipe the tears from my cheek, picking up some glitter from under my eyes along the way and enjoy the revelry, the music, and the connection to my son that is within me always, but feels so amplified when standing next to speakers.
Where are your moments, your places? Where do you feel closest?
Mara Hill is a mother, wife, and author of Brona: a memoir a story chronicling her story of the short but sacred life of her son. It can be purchased at http://missfoundation.org/book/brona. Fifty percent of proceeds go to the MISS Foundation and twenty-five percent go to NILMDTS.