Hugo’s mom wrote today about her fear of hearing someone call his name out to a child who would have been Hugo’s age.

This poem captures that anticipated feeling of disorientation and heart-sink.

Stillbirth
Laure-Anne Bosselaar

On a platform, I heard someone call out your name:
No, Laetitia, no.
It wasn’t my train–the doors were closing,
but I rushed in, searching for your face.

But no Laetitia. No.
No one in that car could have been you,
but I rushed in, searching for your face:
no longer an infant. A woman now, blond, thirty-two.

No one in that car could have been you.
Laetitia-Marie was the name I had chosen.
No longer an infant. A woman now, blond, thirty-two:
I sometimes go months without remembering you.

Laetitia-Marie was the name I had chosen:
I was told not to look. Not to get attached–
I sometimes go months without remembering you.
Some griefs bless us that way, not asking much space.

I was told not to look. Not to get attached.
It wasn’t my train–the doors were closing.
Some griefs bless us that way, not asking much space.
On a platform, I heard someone calling your name.

To me, this poem is also a reminder of all that I’ve learned (and all that Western society is slowly slowly learning) about the importance of validating and mourning different types of loss. In my reading, the repetitive bewilderment beautifully evokes the overwhelming nature of “stuck” traumatic memory, unprocessed and unintegrated even 32 years on, thanks to a stark lack of recognition and support. Any parent will mourn their child for the rest of their life, 32 years and longer. But that homeless confusion – that’s something that doesn’t need to persist, and that time alone will not heal.

It takes an enormous amount of work, and an enormous amount of support, to process and integrate something so unthinkable and unspeakable. Her grief was not given much space, and she didn’t ask for it to have more space. In my mind and based on my experience, that doesn’t mean she didn’t need it.

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