Guest post by Michelle Williams
I was born a writer.
Selling kids in the neighborhood a copy of “The Briarwood Lane News” and always scribbling down my own words and stories. Each letter put together to create words. Words to create sentences…
Of course I ended up going to college to become a writer, and after graduating found myself at home as a freelance journalist for several different publications in my hometown.
I got married and “we” got pregnant. I quit freelancing but never stopped writing. In journals, on my blog – in letters to long-lost but much-loved friends.
I had a lot to write about because I was a new mom! I had an opinion on pretty much everything and I wrote about it. My daughter, Sadie, was my greatest source for inspiration. So much silly, so much fun. Just…life. In words.
Fast-forward a few years and we were once again blessed to be welcoming another baby into our family. It was a boy and we named him Sawyer. I wrote about him and the pregnancy more than I had written about anything else in quite some time. I felt a mysterious, yet strong connection with my unborn son. The things I wrote were often cryptic to what the outcome of his life would be. Looking back, I often say that my heart always knew he wouldn’t live, but it took a while for my head to figure that out.
Sawyer died in my arms just two days after his birth, in a hospital hallway – bathed in sunlight. The only time he would ever feel the warmth of the sun on his tiny body.
Having been completely blindsided by his traumatic birth and short life, I retreated to what I had always known and what has always known me. Except, the thing is – I was suddenly a “new” me. And the letters, and the words, and the sentences – they didn’t come as easily any more. Mostly, all that came to me were nights of gut-wrenching sorrow, followed by the tears. Tears that blurred the blank space meant as an outlet for my pain.
My heart sank, and I thought to myself that if I can’t even do this – the ONE thing that I loved and came naturally to me, how will I ever be able to do anything?
I was a mother without her baby. I was supposed to be busy. I should have been tired from late-night feedings while trying to keep up with the rest of the household duties. But more than anything, I was angry.
I was angry that I had suddenly changed and no one ever asked me if it was okay to do that. I didn’t know who I was and I hated the “new me.” I wanted her to die right along with my broken heart.
One afternoon in the fall, just after Sawyer’s grave had finally been placed. I knelt down next to the stone and ran my fingers over the letters on his headstone.
“Angel You Were Born To Fly”
Letters. Words. My son’s epitaph. And suddenly in my heart awoke a sense of pure love and emotion…
My son’s life – no matter how brief – made me the mother I am today. I knew I’d rather love the “new me” than to have never had my son at all. And for all of the pain and the tears and grief – knowing that I carry such a large part of him within myself each and every day, brings so much peace and love into my life. I still am getting to know myself, even 3 years later. But I know my son would love down on me and be proud of who I’ve become, because of him.