The invitation in the mail arrived a few weeks ago. We were invited to a Service of Remembrance at the hospital. It would be a service especially for parents who had lost babies and children as a time to remember their loved ones. Bittersweet. I didn't want to go yet I wanted to go. There is something so comforting really about being in a place where people don't know you, yet you have this unspoken understanding with them, and--most of all--the only truly identifying thing about us is that we're Miles' mommy and daddy. No explaining is needed--we're Miles' mommy and daddy.
Yesterday was the day.
Mitch and I made the walk to the hospital together, noting of course that this was a walk that we had done together many times to go to Miles in the hospital.
As soon as we walked in the hospital chapel, I felt the calm and quiet...and I was overwhelmed with not wanting to be there. Not as in we should have RSVPed "no" to this event. As in, I wish our lives had taken the different path that seemed so close--the one where Miles was here and we had him every day with us and had no need to go to a service of remembrance.
"Oh, Miles," my heart whispered and the tears started as we waited for the service to start. Mitch held my hand and there we were. The two of us, still side-by-side, remembering Miles. "We don't need a service to remember Miles, that's for sure," we had already told each other. Yet it was good to be in the hospital--the place where Miles lived--and to be there just for him. To do this thing for him that, well, was really for us.
The service was special; everything was designed just for us. Surprisingly the part that struck me most was when two women sang "Let It Be" by the Beetles, and I cried through the song. I am not embarrassed about crying (that changed once we lost Miles), but it did strike me as wild (yet somehow appropriate) that I was a hot mess during a Beetles song where at times the two women were accidentally singing different verses of the song, there was the constant hum of the Spanish interpreter, and there were children quietly talking to each other in the back of the room. Yet it was beautiful.
With our grief, the chaplain said, there is often nothing to do...we just have to let it be. Our memories, our joys, our pain, our grief are just there, at times washing over us even stronger than expected, and there it is...just let it be. And that, to me, is so true. With losing Miles, there's no fixing it like with other things in life, there's no putting a positive spin on it, there's no "getting over it" or moving on. I just have to let it be.
So it was good (as good as it could be, I still feel the need to say), in an emotionally draining kind of way. Each family received a paper leaf. An artist had designed a tree with bare branches and all of the families had an opportunity to write messages to their children on the leaves. The leaves were added to the tree, all of our messages filling the tree. Mitch and I wrote our message--the one thing that I pray he knew and knows still--on the leaf: We love you, Miles.