I don’t want to be writing this.

My skin tingles and it feels like I have cotton in my ears. The tears are coating my eyes, threatening to spill over. I don’t want to be a bereaved mother.

People are kind. They acknowledged I am a mother, even when I had no living children. On Mother’s Day, I received messages and a gift or two. Each gesture heartfelt, thoughtful, and generous. Validating my role as a mother, validating my relationship to my baby boy.

But none of that takes away from how wrong it all feels.

I am a mother, that has been true for me since I saw that positive pregnancy test. It was still true when Oberon died. It is still true today. I am his mother, he is my child. But this motherhood, this isn’t right.

Elegant cards met with a quiet house. Holding on to my memories because we can’t make new ones.

I want him in my arms, wriggling to get free. I want the hurried steps, trying to find a favorite toy. I want the unintelligible demands and the mystery of figuring out new phrases. I want the randomly mispronounced words. I want the giddy laughter that scrunches up eyes. I want the silly faces for pictures, or the refusal to take any at all. I want to read the same book over and over again. I want to go to him in the middle of the night to comfort and cuddle. I want to order random things off Amazon because he is into that sort of thing these days. I want to have a never-ending pile of miniature laundry. Boogers on fingers. Leaky diapers. Sticky tables. Toys underfoot.

I am a mother, but I want to be his mommy.

Elizabeth with Oberon in hospice care

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