People Leave Holes

“When people die, they cannot be replaced.  They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate – the genetic and neural fate – of every human to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”  -Oliver Sacks

This morning, I was looking for information on Iris’s birth stats, from one year ago today.  I knew that I had them, but I could not find them.  I took items out of the box that I have sitting on a tray in the master bedroom and could not find it.  I was positive the information had been written on a little card that the hospital had sent home with me.

So I went into another box.  I have one box that holds items for both of my girls – the items most meaningful to me – and then individual boxes from the hospital, so I thought that maybe it was in her individual box.  Still nothing.

I looked at the death certificate.  Nothing listed.

I knew I could look at the autopsy report, but I really, really did not want to do that, in all of its clinical, unfeeling language.

Finally, I looked in the joint box again.  I took out every, single item individually.  It had been stuck between two cards, and when I pulled them apart, it fell out.  Iris Madeline Hnub Yang.  Born at 7:42 a.m. (after about 16 hours of labor).  5.5 inches, 2.3 ounces.  I never saw her, because I couldn’t bring myself to do so.

I put everything back in her box.  On top were all of the ultrasound photos from this pregnancy.  I have been putting them in the box with my other girls, apparently already planning for a loss.

Happy birthday, baby girl.  I gave a donation to the International Rescue Committee to pay for school for a girl in another country for a year.  And paid for the person behind me in line at Starbucks today.  It’s the best I could do.