This poem came to me at exactly the right time.

I was at JFK on my birthday, eating alone in between flights, so upset after receiving dozens of well-meaning messages encouraging me to “have a happy birthday”.

Many of those messages came from people who have living children or are pregnant… I never thought that “have a happy birthday” could be an upsetting thing to be told. But it was. Especially on Facebook, where it was accompanied by pictures of the well-wishers with their kids and families. All I could think was, “Why don’t you suffer through your own child’s death, then see if you can ‘have a happy birthday’?”

I was very thankful to be in the air that day, away from the Internet and phone alerts. But I was embarking on a trip that I was supposed to be taking with my son. I was supposed to be introducing him to his grandmother, aunts and cousins. Instead, all I had were his pictures.

I was brutally reminded of this multiple times when the airlines asked “Do you have a lap infant?” And then, of course, when I walked by the airport’s nursing rooms, when babies played and slept near the gate, when adults with small children were boarded first, when I heard cries on the plane. There were reminders of traveling while pregnant (oh my gosh, the radiation exposure…), and of traveling during the “fourth trimester” (for three months, I required an airport wheelchair due to postsurgical complications). And even half a year later, my body itself still acted as its own reminder of the trauma it has been through: sitting in the same position for an extended period caused my (tight, complicated) incision scar to stiffen and become painful.

Then I read this poem in to linger on hot coals. And I sobbed alone over my beer and pizza. I was heartbroken and comforted at the same time (in grief, the comfort so often comes through heartbreak). I’m still struggling with many things, but this poem helped me get a little closer to accepting Sacha’s life for what it was, and welcoming him in the enormous role that he continues to play in my life.

He is the moon. And I love him. I miss him constantly, but he is still there… in a different way than I expected, in a way that neither of us would have chosen. In his own way.