Tyler Clinton Roach was born on November 9, 1994. He died on January 6, 1995.
My Alpha and Omega.
My first and my last.
Ty came and went too quickly.
I try to remember the smell of his warm neck.
I try to recall the feel of his whispy hair on my cheek
Those thing are forever lost to me.
Lost, quite literally, in a heartbeat.
I held him. I felt his heart beating against my chest.
And then it stopped.
His life stopped.
The world stopped.
They say it’s the worst thing that can ever happen to a parent.
They are right. Believe them.
I learn about grief. Things I never wanted to learn.
The way it doubles back on you at the most unexpected moments.
The relentlessness of grief.
I learn about friendship. Things I am grateful to learn.
I belong to a secret society to which no one applies for membership.
When new members join against their will, I know how to welcome them.
I hate that I know this. I don’t want to know this.
But the truth is there. I know. And I must tell them.
I learn about the loss of fear. Like any survivor of something catastrophic,
I believe I will never be afraid again.
I have survived this. What can I fear?
Surely I will never go through worse.
There can be no worse.
Now it has been years.
There are moments, when the grief still can double me over like a kick in the gut
But they are fewer now. I am grateful.
I am grateful to have held Tyler for his lifetime.
I am grateful to have held him as he died.
I am grateful that my children know life and death in such an intimate way.
I am grateful my children are filled with life.
I am grateful for Ty.
He blessed my life, empowered me, took fear away.
My forever baby.
May 4, 2003
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Nearly nine years later, Susan asked,
“Can you hold a newborn baby yet
And not cry?”
Tears fill our eyes at the question.
I tell her I can’t. It’s the truth.
Every touch of baby skin.
Every smell of baby neck.
Every little baby toe.
Every tiny burp.
Every open hungry toothless mouth.
They all bring those feelings back
Into my heart. Into my arms.
With what great love we loved him.
With what great heartbreak we lost him.
I know the time will come when
I will hold another baby – a grandbaby –
Long enough to get past the
Lump in my throat, the
Tears in my eyes, the
Ache in my arms.
I long for that.
I long for the confidence in life it will bring.
I long for the peace in death it will bring.
Mostly, I still long for Tyler.