This Sunday was the one that falls closest to the commemoration of Jesus' being presented at the Temple. I don't know how they calculate that, exactly, but I know it came earlier this year than it did last year. I know because on this day, at our parish, they bless all the parents who have had a child die. Last year I stood and gripped the pew and cried helpless tears during the blessing. Finally I excused myself and went to the bathroom, where I closed myself in a stall and sat, folded over, hugging my legs, and weeping like I would break.
And I would. I would break, because that was February 5, and the next day I would see Eva on the ultrasound screen, perfect...and perfectly still.
But that Sunday I already knew. I woke up that morning and pressed my fingers into my belly, feeling for the taut roundness of my uterus. There it was, just a bit below my belly button. Nothing seemed to have changed, but I felt a growing dread. Ever since she'd begun, her presence felt like a song I could just barely hear, even before I knew she was there. But I got distracted by life, and in an unattended moment, I failed to notice the quietness that meant death.
But by then, I knew.
And now, almost a year later, when the priest invited the parents up for our blessing, I froze. I didn't want to go. We'd had something of a bumptous morning. Sophia was being awfully squirrely, and Raphael'd spent the night at a friend's house, during which they'd failed to sleep. At all. So throughout the whole service I was perpetually giving Clay the hairy eyeball, because Sophia was sneaking off to his deaf side to commit acts of mayhem. And Raphael kept falling asleep against my shoulder and drooling on my arm. It was not the most contemplative Mass I'd ever attended, but it was okay. Busy and real and here and now.
I'm better. I'm so much better that I'm afraid of getting lost again.
But I went up with Clay and held his hand and we received our blessing. And I leaked tears, as I always do, as I always will. I did not fall apart. I cried, because the tears are always there for her, but then I turned and walked back to my seat, to here and now.