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Gwen Auld
Lake Charles, LA
The body remembers forst

I keep this window open because it speaks to me so intimately. I love the acknowledgement of how the coexistence of mother and baby is both miraculous and feels like the only ones in the universe. And that ache is real, conscious or not. Yesterday I wrote July 15, 2021 down on numerous assignment pages for my students. July 15, 1993 was the due date for my own miracle baby before he slipped away in the too early prior April. Born premature due to incompetent cervix (a term I hate, as I take it personally—another whole essay’s topic), he had a brain bleed that was not recoverable, and lived a total of 5 days. Even 28 years later, his birthday of March 31, and the ensuing 5 days till April 5, is disruptive, distracting, and terribly emotional when I finally realize that my body is remembering before I am. Yes, I eventually return to the normal daily round, until another such date seeps into it, equally unexpectedly. Like the proper due date that might have meant instead a healthy thriving son, born into a perfect world of love and treasuring and long life as was hoped for, and too often taken for granted. Ellen Mecholsky’s words here put a name on that remembering, far beyond the French “souvenir,” and gives it the importance that (I wonder if) only the bereaved can feel. I can’t speak for others, but I am so grateful for it’s open discussion in this piece.

July 2021

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