Memories in Withdrawal

When they placed him in my arms, he weighed nothing at all

I didn’t even know how to hold him

The moment I looked into his face, I felt something burst and bloom in my heart

Something I had never felt before and never have since

Even today I feel the tug of his existence on mine

Like a rope tied to my heart, pulling right through my ribs and far far far away


“He’s the smallest baby I’ve ever seen”

The priest tried to reassure me

Gentle pats on my arm

I saw his faith was shaken

His voice trembling as he began to speak

Before closing his mouth, half-uttered thoughts he’d said a hundred times before

His eyes never leaving the face of my son

One last tap on my wrist

And he shuffled out of my room

Head hung low, defeated


Sometimes I held him tightly

Sometimes I couldn’t look at him

Rolling to my side, my back towards him

Periodically a nurse would come wrap him in another warm blanket, giving me a false sense of life resting upon my chest

I didn’t know the human body could create so many tears


Tears on the doctor’s face

Tears on the nurse’s

Tears in the eyes of anesthesiologist who held my hand as I drifted into a blissful dreamless sleep

Tears on his blanket

Tears in my hair

Tears in my voice

Tears seven years later as I remember what I had gained and lost in one evening


I remember the annoyance on the face of a man sitting in the ER waiting room as I tried to answer the receptionist’s questions past my screams of pain and fear

I remember how small he was as they placed him in my arms and told me that I should hold him in these his only moments of life

I remember I didn’t know how to hold him

He was so small

He never even fought to live, so I fought for him

“Isn’t there ANYTHING you can do? I’ll do anything, anything at all,” I pleaded


Even still, eventually I placed him in the corner of the bassinet and turned to leave the room, never to return

I stroked his cheek, his chin, I told him I loved him

Walking away from him was the hardest thing I ever did

I still feel like I betrayed him, there in the end


tara caribou | ©️2019

49 thoughts on “Memories in Withdrawal

  1. A heart that has courageously carried such a burden, purposelessly ripped open, bore before the world to share the story of him is far from betrayal, when in fact, it honors his entire life and serves as evidence of his existence. I- feel honored to have come to know it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this broke me on the inside.
    I know words can’t possibly cover even half the pain of such a tragic incident, but allow me to try and comfort you.
    Life is funny at times. Things don’t make sense but we are helpless. All we can possibly do is pick ourselves back up and keep going as far as we can. And you’re doing a really fine job at that, I mean it.
    It probably means nothing to you but I really do look up to you, much more so after reading this and so I wish nothing but the best for you. Remember that you are awesome ❤.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve missed our little conversations too haha. It’s just that these days I’m kinda caught up in finding the ideal post graduation university for myself since I’m almost done with my graduation.
        Besides, I’m also out of superlatives for most your work which is why I simply leave a like on them 😂.
        Also, please don’t friendzone me, Tara 😭😜.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not quite sure if it’s good or bad to stick with you… I am leaning toward good though because we all experience grief in our own ways and to varying levels over our lives. I think it’s good to remember but not dwell there. Life and light to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this post hours ago, and I still carry it with me in my mind. That feeling as a mother as not knowing how to hold your baby……….. oh…. The baby in this poem, is so carefully and perfectly held, with his mother’s love. And continues to be carried, carefully and perfectly, in memory. This post describes I think the most intense feeling that is even possible – grief for someone who feels an inseparable part of ourselves. And the heartbreaking guilt that often goes with it. This post evokes such strong feeling in me, and describes this experience in such a heart wrenching way. My thoughts will stay with this ❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your beautifully kind comment. I will truly cherish it. Grief is something that never leaves. It is a part of the “new me”, so to speak. Instead of fighting it, I have chosen to embrace it. Love and peace to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A real heart-wrenching tale of woe. Not being able to comment on it ,until I thought it through for a while. It was though, really well written, capturing your grief, your emotions at the time and truly amazing that you’ve been able to put it into words after all that you’d experienced. I really feel for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, that killed me inside. Seriously, this is so sad and yet so good. Life can be such a capricious bastard and yet beautiful at the same time. Is it any wonder that the act of living can mess us up as much as it does?

    Liked by 1 person

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