I was watching The Fault in Our Stars during that awful smattering of days when I knew I was losing you. Following Gus’s death, Hazel is inconsolable. Her father finds her crying, wraps an arm around her shoulders and says,
But it sure was a privilege to love him, huh?
It was a privilege to love you, my star-crossed boy. You were exactly as we had imagined – spunky, difficult, a devil-may-care terror waiting to make a playground of his world, just like your uncle. You were the product of a high-stakes pilgrimage to the Rocky Mountains, conceived and frozen by world-class doctors, flown two thousand miles home to us and lovingly received into a warm place we meticulously cultivated for you. And oh how we fretted over your life, the beta, the heartbeat, the bleeding. I gushed apocalyptic pools of blood that nearly stopped my heart with panic four separate times in those early months, and you remained unfazed in your little amniotic bubble, churning out powerful waves of hormones that left me crouched over the toilet most nights, but I was so happy to suffer for you. We survived a major car accident together, spinning, rolling, scrambling out of the moon-roof, riding in the ambulance like VIPs. Your watery acrobatics frustrated the endeavors of nearly every ultrasound and MRI tech in your path. You were so charming on the screen, sucking your thumb, holding those little feet, kicking away at the corners of my pelvic bone, mugging for profile shots to show off your perfect nose, even in the early days when babies still tend to look like alien lifeforms. Some of the sweetest moments were in the quiet minutes after waking, lingering in the soft blankets and twilight, feeling you knock on my belly from the inside as if to say, “Good morning, Mama.”
I’m sorry that your body, my body (the mysteries of the universe) failed you. You were our miracle, a bright light of happiness stumbled upon at long last “in the middle of the journey of our [lives]…in a dark wood.” You were wanted and loved beyond measure. Dakota – the Sioux word for ‘friend’ or ‘ally,’ an honorable name that resonated with so many of the virtues we wanted to engender in you, strength, loyalty – it was my privilege to feed and protect you, to watch you grow, to share this symbiosis, your cells with my cells in an ancient dance. I just wish I could have loved you from the outside.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)
Forevermore, my sweet baby boy.