If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.
-- C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Life will never be the same. Our pastor said this at Ewan's funeral. It didn't require any analysis on my part to be convinced it was true. Everything has changed.
This makes me want to scream sometimes. On those occasions where we go out for coffee or go to the gym, I want to tell everyone I see that I am a mother, that there should be a baby with me but there is not, and how they too should notice how very off balance the universe is as a result. It seems that it should be more obvious what is missing. But unless they know me, there is nothing that will indicate to them that I am an amputee, a mother who has been unmothered, a woman whose heart limps along in its lub-dubbing, aching as it does for her dead child.
I miss Ewan terribly. While my faith provides me the comfort and assurance that he now enjoys the highest possible good, I still live with his conspicuous absence. He has gained, and I have lost all that I hoped for when he was born: the chance to experience motherhood and family. And while I will always be a mother, for now I am one in name only. I never brought him home. I never got a chance to feed him or change his diaper. I never bathed him or fell asleep beside him. I can count on one hand the number of times I held him. I could not do anything to alleviate what he suffered for the sixteen days he was with us.
Whenever I contemplated the notion of motherhood before Ewan came along, I was always fascinated with the notion that an entirely new person was formed out of the parts of two: someone with his own specific personality, a unique soul and identity. I always wondered about who that child of ours would be. As familiar as I was with his in utero antics, I was particularly excited to meet Ewan and to discover him. I desperately wanted to know who he was and to nurture those things that were uniquely him. It is impossible to describe just how much it saddens me to know I'm missing out on this now, and for the rest of my earthly life.
Even I try to offer myself the comfort of "someday," looking forward to the hope of eternity, but there is a bittersweet pang even to this. Ewan does not need me, and I can no longer care for him, even as I still carry around in my body the maternal desires and instincts that drive me to do just that. As C. S. Lewis says, that "specifically maternal happiness must be written off."
And so I learn to walk with a limp.