Note: extremely serious topic today. Pregnant women and women with infants should consider reading elsewhere.
Today is Nicholas day.
Fourteen years ago, a young woman very close to Herself's heart delivered her firstborn, Nicholas. Nicholas was stillborn: an umbilical cord accident -- a knot -- took him from this world before he was ever able to draw breath. Herself, five months pregnant with Offspring the Third at the time, remembers that day with a vividness that will never dissipate. She was exhausted from several weeks of medical care and related travel for Offspring the First, who had required surgery to correct a congenital problem, and had been trying to nap in the afternoon. The phone rang; her Beloved Husband answered and spoke briefly, and then came to the bedroom. He said: something wrong with the baby, they had been told. A crisis in the night, they had said. And Nicholas was gone, and Herself's heart-sister had to deliver his silent tiny form and say goodbye. Unimaginable sorrow.
Nicholas' birthdate is still in Herself's calendar, and every year, she speaks with her friend about him. She calls him by name and pays her respects to the memory of him. His time was a blink of an eye, but his presence is forever, for he is a reminder of the fragility of life, of the inscrubability of why terrible things sometimes happen, of our own inevitable mortality.
He is also more.
When Herself was in labor with Offspring the Third and he was in distress (we have mentioned his fraught delivery before, here and here), Herself thought of Nicholas. She asked in her heart for Nicholas to look after Offspring the Third, whatever might happen. And when Offspring the Third arrived well, Herself knew that his guardian angel would evermore be Nicholas.
Once, when Offspring the Third was a tiny tot, Herself tucked him in at bedtime and he looked at her and -- without context or any previous similar conversation -- said, "When we die, are we born again and see through someone else's eyes?" Ah, child. The Universe has always spoken to you in mysterious ways. Herself likes to think that perhaps Offspring the Third and Nicholas have already met, somewhere, somehow. It's possible. And perhaps, someday, they will meet again once more.
Thank you, Nicholas. We remember you always.
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