I could have held your hand forever, Daddy.
Felt its warmth. Traced its every line. Counted its every freckle.
But then came goodbye…
And I had to let go.
So I kissed your face. Stroked you peppered hair one last time. And whispered something in your ear.
“Take care of my babies, Daddy. Kiss Jesus for me. And know I love you still.”
Walking out of that room, I nearly crumpled under the weight of my hurt.
But I held tightly to my tears until I climbed into bed that night, holding my belly and remembering your hand against mine…
And then I wept.
It would not be the last time…
Hearing a message you left on my phone…
Seeing your handwriting on a pillow case I pulled out of the linen closet…
Folding the blue pajamas you bought me…
All so sacred against the memory of when it was once so mundane.
But even so, I try to find comfort in routine.
Laundry and mothering and cleaning the kitchen floor.
Then I become angry at the routine.
Because it seems somehow that instead, the world should stop. That life should stand still. Because someone so magnificent is no longer in its ebb and flow.
And yet, life moves steadily on, no matter my tantrums, my frustration, my weeping…
It moves to a beat that matches your darling little shuffle.
So forward I go.
Missing you most when I sort baby clothes and go to doctor’s appointments and feel Madeleine kick in a flurried rhythm…
Because I know she will miss those hands…
The warmth. The lines. The freckles.
And the sweet love that would have held her on her first day here.
So I breathe.
In and out. In and out. In and out.
Quietly imagining the joy you felt…
As you took His hand for the first time.
Felt its actual weight against your skin.
And. That. Moment.
Brings me back to hope even in the depth of my weeping.
So go on, Daddy.
Hold His hands.
Hold them tight.
Hold them forever.
But know this, Daddy…
I’ll be here…
Longing for the day when we’ll hold them together.