How to exist after a child’s death

I could have ripped the sheets off of my hospital bed that overlooked I95, State Road 7 and the 826 Expressway on the north side of Miami.

I was expected to nap, but I could not find a spot in my bed that was suitable for me at the moment. I sat right up.

“Where is my baby?” I asked my mother as she tried to comfort me.

I waited for an hour before the nurse brought my 7-pound 13-ounce infant to me. I had just heard him cry for the first time a little more than an hour ago.

The nurse had spent that time clothing the newborn boy, brushing his hair and feeding him.

“I had a good time with him, Mommy,” she said.

I huffed. He was my son. I held him tight.

Nine months before I hastily made an appointment for an ultrasound to confirm what I saw on a urine stick. I fell in love instantly.

The endless possibilities for the one whose heart was beating inside of me were what I fantasized about days on end.

I had just started college, and his father had the opposite challenge. My mother thought it would be best to end the pregnancy. What she did not know then is that this evolutionary miracle had already become a part of me— an echo in the pit of my uterus that reigned over my soul and ruled my brain.

Dakari Dwayne Daniels was born on August 16, 2004.

I was induced two days after my due date. Within five months, his father was home again.

Dakari’s father’s adornment for me made it easy for me to mother. Things were good, but never perfect until there was nothing at all.

His father became a statistic.

A black man under 21.

Cold.

Bloodied.

Riddled in bullets.

He was found under a truck— the battleground for his last breath.

I held mine. I was told I had to carry on.

I drudged on with the revision of my life.

But before a headstone could be carved out for Dwayne Daniels, The Love of my Life, the father of Dakari and now Nyla, I found myself in the waiting room in a hospital that overlooked I95, State Road 7 and the 826 Expressway on the north side of Miami—again.

I waited for an hour before the snakebit doctor pulled me into a warp of gloom.

“We tried everything we could, but your son is gone,” she said.

Her voice was like a hacksaw cutting through me, ear to ear.

I refused to believe her poisonous lips that were toxic to my sense of reality. She guided me to his bed. He was frozen with dozens of cords sprouting from him like trees.

There was not even a shadow of a heartbeat.

Dakari Dwayne Daniels died May 16, 2006.

GOD’S GRACE

How do you recover from a child’s death? You don’t.

You exist after, but you have to believe in something. You have to believe that there is hope for relief somewhere, someday.

I held on to that hope. I call that hope God’s grace. That’s all it could be. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Fifteen years from the day he was born, I keel over in pain. I believe I am so good at masking it. 

I decided yesterday. It is time to heal.

My first son would always be a part of me, but through hard work, and grief therapy I want to breathe his name without feeling like my heart will fall out onto my feet.

In Memoriam with unconditional love.

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