This deals with the loss of babies. Please take care of yourself.
The middle sibling.
Born between two babies who passed.
My older brother Christopher died of sudden infant death syndrome at six weeks. Thursday, August 10, 1961.
My mom got up that morning and remembers thinking how quiet he was. How well he had slept.
She picked him up. That's where her memory ends.
Several years ago, my dad visited Christopher's grave at the cemetery in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
To remember and tend to it.
I have photos. I know where my older brother is.
My dad told me this story. It left a big impression.
After losing Christopher they both wanted a baby. He’d come home on his motorcycle from a shift at Union Carbide in Welland and my mom would be waiting.
I was wanted.
And then Kathleen. Born February 6, 1964.
We shared a birthday. I was one.
I found the memorial card in my forties. A picture of Jesus with a shepherd's staff and a small flock of sheep at his feet.
I knew about my sister. Just not the date.
What we had in common was shocking.
She came into the world a perfect soft, pink, tiny human smelling yeasty like champagne.
Then they took her to the nursery.
And she never came back.
An autopsy revealed she had a quarter of a heart. The doctor was surprised she survived her long birth.
I like to think she wanted to be held by my mom and dad.
If only once.
My mom was put into a private room. Sheltering the new mothers on the ward from her loss.
My dad went home. Probably to work the next day.
Both alone that first night.
I was with Theo and Harry.
When I was about seven or eight, I remember my parents going off in a hurry one evening to see a couple at a hospital in Burlington.
Another couple told me once how much it meant to them when my father visited the hospital after they lost a child.
Walking with others in the darkness.
My mom picked the music. It's a piece that's always brought her comfort.
I'll soon be 59. My mom's 82. This week we talked and cried about all of it.
Grief. I knew it early.