1. Sometimes I can’t believe how much time has passed.

The southeast corner of August's garden. Some of his ashes are buried at the roots of the Eve's Necklace tree.

A year ago today, on a cloudy-bright, warm, early April Saturday in 2010, fifty-two of our friends and family came to our house to help us build a memorial garden for our son, August. It was an all-day thing with barbecue and beer, sweat and laughter, and of course tears as well. Together, we transformed a shamefully neglected, waist-high, fence-to-fence crop of weeds that was a poor excuse for a back yard into an elegant, intimate, sweet garden with mulched beds and crushed granite paths. All the plants we put in were drought-tolerant and freeze-resistant, and many were Texas natives. We spread a bit of August’s ashes at the base of two new trees — a sweet, lacy Eve’s Necklace in the southeast corner and a Mountain Laurel, cousin to Eve’s Necklace, in the northwest bed.

Before burying the first spoonful of ashes, I tried to think of a few meaningful words to say, but everyone was looking at me, grimacing and frowning in their effort to — what? not cry? wrap their, our, minds around this awful, unfair thing that had happened? Tears were choking me, words weren’t coming, and finally I fumbled out something or other that I can’t remember now. I think it was okay. I wasn’t the only confused, tongue-tied one; none of us knew what to say. August’s birth, on January 12, 2010, was the best thing that had ever happened to us. His death, the same night, was the very, very worst — the unimaginable worst.

I intend to tell our story of the past fifteen months and counting since August died. After he died, I searched the Internet for stories of other parents with children with the same problem, but encephaloceles are so very rare — one in 5,000 to 10,000 births. I didn’t find much. I hope that writing our story might help someone else who needs connection and information like I did.

Although I fervently hope that no one else ever needs this type of information. I hope and wish no one else ever has another baby who dies from an encephalocele. I send that wish up to the stars, though I know they are as cold and dispassionate as the Great Void.

With love to sweet August,
August’s mama


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Lee Bradford
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 09:29:04

    Just another thought about the stars. They are hot and explosive. They burn so brightly that after millions of years, we still see them today. They hold so much energy potential still unknown to us. Well, that is my philosophical moment for today.


  2. Catherine Avril Morris
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 14:12:38

    Linda, it’s a beautiful philosophical moment. The analogy is so clear — our children who burn so brightly in our lives, forever, even if they were here only for a short time.


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