If I had been kinder to myself, to my body, if I had better timing, if I made different choices, if I were biologically inclined, if I were emotionally capable, if I were not betrayed this time or that time, if I had been with someone else, someone who cared, if I had then a partner, if I were not as appealing to those who would take advantage of me, if I were not infinitely looking to be taken advantage of, if I were not so determined in my destiny or not as impulsive or possibly more impulsive – truthfully – if I were not afraid of loving someone so much – I might have a child now, about aged 5 or 6, or maybe even 10, even 20, older or younger – anyway, I might.
A little boy or a little girl learning how to read, jumbled letters suddenly turning into words before their brand new eyes, an infant growing in me – cell by cell, tiny fingers closing into a fist, a tween pestering me for the iPhone 5 and One Direction concert tickets, a confused and frustrated young adult unsure of where to turn. These possibilities, these people who never were might haunt me at times, but they leave no bitterness or cold spots in empty rooms. They don’t slam doors in the house of my heart. My own choices held them at bay. My life is my fault. All my fault.
I think about the events on this terrible day, and I think of all things that have been taken from me or that I have carelessly tossed away, cups I chose not to drink from, trays never offered, life rushing past me like a river and the stones that I threw across the surface that skipped and those that sank and the stones I never picked up, all those small decisions that make up a life, and just this terrible, terrible day, I think myself lucky, I suppose.
I have never had a child, and I know nothing of what being a parent might feel like. My heart has never nearly exploded at the sight of another so precious that their existence would be unbearable if it were not also inevitably perfect and essential as air and light and water and food and God and life and more. More. I have never loved anyone to the point it was both endlessly fulfilling and constantly terrifying. My happiness is never at risk in the rapidly growing and ceaselessly delightful body of one I have created.
Loss to me is trivial. Loss to me might be material, spiritual, whatever, but I can afford it. I can recover from anything, as I have little to gamble. I am just me. I’m always going to be ok.
For all the parents who lost so grievously today, I cannot even comprehend your pain. I suffer and try to empathize, but it’s a hollow gift, an empty box underneath the paltry dry evergreen of a fake plastic tree.
But for what it is worth, I give you all of my love. I give you my silence in honor of your suffering. I tear out my heart to put into your chest to let it beat alongside so for a moment you might not feel alone. I breathe in your unimaginable grief and breathe out peace so that you might finally close your eyes and rest. I give you all I can, realizing it isn’t much, because I cannot know the love you know, I cannot understand the love you lost. But I give you all mine. Take it. Please.