I made the mistake today of going back to the blog we wrote while Ander was in the NICU. Really, I was just mining it for material I could use on here, as that blog has a lot of personal information about us, and our friends and family, so it will remain protected. I say it was a mistake because I was at work, and I started reading the comments, just to remind myself that people cared and loved us. And the hope in them made me cry, so that I reached for the little compact I keep in my desk drawer to make sure my mascara wasn’t smearing and to make sure there were no visible traces of my grief. “You have such strong family blood in you, Anderson, remember what Grandma told you when she saw you,” my mom wrote. “So you must be a fighter!” I cried because I could just hear her saying that to him, when she visited his incubator with my father. They were in town for four days, and saw him every day. I just wish I had seen them with him – only two people were allowed at his bedside at any time (space limitations), so it was them, then me and K. That is something I would have done differently, if.
“I’m telling Grandma that her great-grandson is having trouble breathing,” my aunt wrote, as my grandmother is hard of seeing and hard of most mental activities, in her late 80s. But my aunt made sure that my grandmother knew that Ander was there, that he was part of our family now and deserved to be thought about.
Why did I want to read them? Now, two months out from his death, I can already feel the threads of memory starting to fray as I realize that we are the only ones cementing his link to the world. Though people love us, they do not live with the grief, and they do not think of him every hour of every day, as I still do. Sometimes I critique myself for this constant remembering, but then I think: if he were my living child, wouldn’t I also be thinking of him and his needs every hour of every day? And I allow myself, then, to indulge in these memories, to taste his name on my tongue and to see him as he was, when he lived.