That is the pain Mary and I deal with. The child we never knew. There would be some solace even in a stillbirth, yet knowing that there was a life there, a unique person, whose existence was not recognized by society, causes a pain beyond words. I was rather stoic and in control throughout the miscarriage. We tried to save whatever we could discern of the body, since it was a home miscarriage. Then I heard some idiot on CNN talking about “choice,” and I lost it. I cried for at least an hour, and I still cry today.
We don’t even know if we’re correct in our inspiration that Louis Stephen was male. It all ties into faith and Providence, and letting go. We could be angry at God for depriving us of the chance to see or hold our second child, or we can thank Him for the gift of those few weeks and the gift of our “little intercessor in Heaven.” There’s a special kind of detachment there.
Yet there’s still a deep pain, a deep sorrow. “How many kids do you have?” When I have the wherewithal, I’ll say “Four here, and one in Heaven.” Sometimes, I just say “Five.” There are times when I take a quick head count and can swear that I counted five.
One odd sign: ever since the miscarriage, every time we go someplace that gives away helium balloons, they’ve always given us an extra. At first, it was just Allie. She’d get two. The first time it happened, one of her balloons got loose getting into the car. She didn’t cry. “That one’s for my brother,” she said. “He can play with it up in Heaven.”
And ever since, it’s happened. 1 kid; 2 balloons. 2 kids; 3 balloons. 3 kids; 4 balloons. It’s been a while, and we recently had the kids out. It was a Chick Fil A kids’ night, and after eating, I left to run a couple errands Mary sat with the kids at the playground (they also got to do some crafts).
I got back to the restaurant. There were 5 helium balloons at our table. I almost cried.
This time, I intentionally let one go before I got in the car.
“Enjoy your balloon, son,” I said. “I’ll see you soon!”