I've been sitting in this chair a lot lately, the glider rocker that was intended for the nursery. We moved it to the living room after we brought Henry home on oxygen and were afraid to bring him upstairs for fear one of us would trip on the tubing. I fed him and rocked him and sang to him in that chair during a sweaty summer of 2007. Now I sit in this chair to nurse Kathleen and rock her and sing her her own song in this chilly winter.
Last January, I spent hours in this chair, clutching a yellow blanket. My grandmother knit the blanket for Henry, and when we headed to the hospital for the last time, I grabbed it. I did not want to, could not admit that Henry might die, but I grabbed it, knowing without admitting why I was bringing it. But when he died, when the monitors stopped beeping and they unhooked all the machines, it was that yellow blanket we wrapped him in, that yellow blanket he was in as family took last turns holding him. I clung to that blanket for a year, but in January last year, I was clinging hard. Last January, I sat with tear swollen eyes, staring dully at the pictures of Henry all around. I had a baby and he's gone.
I sat in that chair in a home that felt strange and alien. I had been gone three months with Henry in the hospital, not even home two full days before he got sick again. I live here. I had a baby and he's gone. It didn't seem real. I had mixed feelings about going to his grave. There were times I felt compelled to go, but I wasn't quite sure what to do when I was there. But at home, I sat in the chair, the chair where I had held him. Somehow it seemed like a better place to visit him.
This January, I sit in this chair and hold my baby girl. I look at her with wonder that she is here, that she is okay. And from my chair, I still look at the pictures of Henry, my eyes bleary with sleeplessness rather than swollen with tears, though the tears still come. I had a a baby and he's gone. It still doesn't seem real. I still miss him, still long to hold him. But I'm thankful that this January I'm holding more than a blanket. Kathleen, I love you so much, and I'm so glad you are here.