I found you once in the darkness. There, in the space inside of me where only you have been. You were so small at first. Like the seed of an idea, in the back of my mind, poking at me gently and then more fervently, hoping I would notice it. And when I finally took notice that you were there, I couldn’t imagine a time when you hadn’t been. It seemed you had always existed somewhere there inside of me, waiting. Waiting for me to notice and make room for you.
You were just a tiny blip on the screen at first. So small, I couldn’t feel you. I had to imagine what you looked like, floating there like plankton in a vast blue sea. But you were there. Growing slowly, day by day. Soon, you were big enough to notice, bubbling out from the safety of your watery room. Even strangers took notice of you and grew curious.
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What would you be like when you were done in there? What would you look like? Or sound like? And what would we call you?
It was so dark in there, where you were, we could only imagine these things about you. The color of your hair, the shape of your eyes, and the sound of your laughter.
You grew there, in the darkness inside of me. And with each day that passed, you became my light. You sparked a flame inside me that illuminated places I hadn’t known were there. Parts of me I had forgotten. My fears, my dreams, my best side, my worst side. And all the while, you were there, kicking around inside me, pushing against the walls that contained you.
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Soon, you outgrew the darkness and I thought for sure you would join us out here in the light.
Out in this bright, big world waiting for you. But when that day came, when that space inside of me where only you have ever been begun to push and prod you, telling you it was time to leave, to trade the safety and comfort of the dark for a life out here in the light, the darkness decided to take you back.
I’ll never understand why or how it happened. How that universe inside of me created you and then swallowed you up again. How darkness became light and then turned to darkness again. Like the wheel of the year spinning and turning from winter to summer and then to winter.
On solstice, we are meant to celebrate the rebirth of the sun after the long winter’s darkness. But you, my girl, were not born in a glorious display of light from the darkness of my body. Our winter did not turn to summer that year. And the years since have shown me that life and death are not as predictable as the seasons. But still, on my longest, darkest nights, the memory of your light fills me with a silent and profound kind of gratitude for your existence.
Feature Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
Robynne Knight is a writer, educator, and acupuncturist who lost her daughter, Zoë, to stillbirth in 2011. She is passionate about sharing her experience with grief and loss, and helping others find growth and healing through her writing, private practice, and sharing support and resources through The Zoë Project.