When it rains…it pours. This has never been more true.
I am a woman who was pregnant, and does not have the child to show that. So, at first glance…or second glance for that matter, one could never know that. It is only when I tell someone do I get that look.
The day was August 21, at 1:40 am that I gave birth to him. And he lived for two beautiful hours. Then he passed. We weren’t at full term. I was five months pregnant when he came. I remember I didn’t want to see him because they told me he would not be alive. He was. And I watched his heartbeat until it beat no more. I kissed him and told him I was sorry. That I loved him so much. He smiled at me three times. I cried. This cry is a cry that is becoming familiar. It is a hot cry. It is a crippling cry. It is this pain that is slowly becoming my friend. I was wheeled to my room, which was at the end of the hallway on the floor with other new mothers and their babies. The nurse checked on me, as I was holding a dead baby. He passed at 3:40, so I was in my room at like 4:30, close to 5am. I stayed up until 7 with his body by my face smelling him. That smell, I’ll never forget, is a sweet smell, a fresh newborn smell. He smelled like me. He came from me. I talked to family members far and wide, they found my number in the hospital. My cell phone was dead. I listened. They told me I’ll be fine. I listened. My mother came into my room at like 7 something in the morning. I had slept for like a 1/2 hour. I awoke and told her to look at him, I was smiling because she was there. Her face…will always be indescribable, forever, she had never been so scared. And I so brave. For the both of us. We sat until 11am or so.
“You have to give him up now boop,” she says
“I know.” I say
“Its time now Kisha, he’s not there…” she says
“I know ma…” I say
At that time I called the nurse to call the mortician of the hospital and come up to my room so I can sign off on my baby boy. So that he can be prepared to be released and be cremated.
When he came to my room to explain their procedures, and to offer assistance from the hospital, he talked to my mother. And I can remember, several times we told him to talk to me. That I was his mother. That she was mines. He got it. Looking him in his eyes, I became a new woman, holding the corpse which had life hours earlier. I signed papers, and he left. The nurse came in my room and asked me was I ready, and I looked at my mother…………and I gave him to her and she left my room with my baby. At this time, I cried and hurt so bad, the same tears that are falling now feel like the tears that fell that day. Hot, heavy, unnecessary, welcoming, comforting, confusing. Grief.
My friend, Thalia, my boo, came to the hospital. Through my pregnancy, she was my sister. Helping and handling me in a manner of love. Becoming a single mothers’ baby daddy. When she walked in my room, I smiled. She sat on the other bed. I had on my gown, and a hair net. I tried to comprehend as best I could at that moment in time. I was ready to get out of there. To go to my mothers house. To rest. Disbelief creeping up into my brain, settling. Making a new home in a new vessel. Somewhere I figured this was all of my karma…people I have hurt, appointments I had missed, performances I had missed, the lies I had told, the men I had abused and allowed to abuse me, the alcohol I had drank, the coke I had sniffed, the pills I had swallowed, the family I had let down, the grandmother I had cussed out, the grandfather I disrespected, the mother I had disregarded repeatedly, the friends I had snaked. My karma had came back that day.
Immediately after he passed, and it was time to go to my room, before I got in the wheelchair, they gave me a box. In this box, is pictures of him, his footprints, with a little of blood in the molding, and small papers, his arm band, had he lived…this is called a memory box. And a brown teddy bear. He was wrapped in a knitted light blue and yellow blanket, and a knitted hat in the same colors.
When it was time to leave the hospital, my mother went into my bathroom, and wailed……..at this moment I hear it and it breaks my heart to hear. And my boo and I looked at each other and then I couldn’t…look at her. My eyes were blurry with water. As we walked down the hallway, my mother to my left, my Thalia to my right, I remember saying “I’m walking out with a box, I don’t have my baby, I get a box.” The pity that those nurses had for me was an illumination on their faces. If they could produce a baby and give him to me, they would have. It was written all over their faces. Thank you was on mines.
On the elevator, going down, walking to the entrance where she parked her truck, Clementine, I waited, my mother and I, and I cried…..
On our way to my mothers house, as we were driving, the downcast in Cleveland produced rain, as it was wet. Because I hadn’t looked outside, I did not notice the rain.
When I got settled in the house, and Thalia left, my mother and I sat at her kitchen table. I didn’t know what to do. It was summer, so the front and back door was open…and it rained….and rained…and my mother told me to go in her room. I did. And I wailed, for the life of me and Elijah Henry, I wailed to the heavens and to God. I was mad. I still get mad. I am a mad lady living behind a Mona Lisa smile and eyes. Sorrow is no longer a mask, it is my face. The light was dimmed at its lowest that day. For all of my years, I had a twinkle in my eyes. That day, it stopped.
When it rains outside nowadays, almost two years after his delivery, I cramp up, emotionally, I become a twisted knot. This grief is a twisted knot of rope, I dangle and cannot sleep. I cry and reach for something to hold onto to stop me from swinging fiercely, wildly…
When it rains, that late night/ early morning becomes real. And I become an empty vessel.
My mother, is the best mother because she has always been tough. And for a daughter/person like me…I needed that. The next phase of grief has hit me and I realize that I am broken. For a year I did not leave my mothers house. I got on stages to perform, yet it wasn’t the same. Nothing is the same. This new normalcy is my everyday.
I did not know, until yesterday, that when it rains I do this. The connection never was made back at home, in Cleveland. I would not probably have admitted it, as I am a Capricorn and stubborn is second nature. So to admit anything, is too much. Naturally.
Being in New Jersey and balancing a new is good for me. The vices I leaned on back home are not here. Clean of all substances, my new vices had become men, sleep, food, marijuana, anger, sadness. Here, I am entering phases that I did not, rather would not have done at home. Too proud maybe. To comfortable actually.
When it rains, it pours. And I must learn to splash in the puddles I guess. I never liked the rain, since a child, I just didn’t; it was wet…and cold…I like to be warm…and dry…the things we want and like aren’t always what we need.
I am healing. That is the most important thing. I am taking time out for myself in ways I didn’t know I needed. Ever. The blessing here is that I produced someone great. Elijah. His name and spirit, his story in history, is priceless, is powerful, is my baby. And that is my good news. A little rain ain’t never killed anyone anyway. I ain’t gonna melt like I always thought I was. I can take it. That…I’m sure of.