The course had been set, and I'm not sure when. Maybe it was that day that Ben sat down next to me at Shooters, or maybe it was the day Gabriel's neural tube failed to close. But I think I had been on this path for a long time, since I was a kid watching that "Not my Richie!" scene in "La Bamba" and tears would sting my young eyes as though I knew that someday I would experience that grief.
Now here I am, a grieving mother, learning every day how to live when my baby boy does not. It's a daily struggle that never really becomes easier, just more familiar.
My life right now is perfect. It's perfect, even though Eden frustrates me and Marcos drives me crazy and Gideon busted out of the yard last night and made me chase him down the street. My life is perfect, and full of color. I'm living in a rainbow.
When I pull into my driveway, the blueberry bush from three years ago greets me. The bush was purchased during my pregnancy with Gabriel, and I had given up on the brown, dried out plant when my sister discovered a green shoot at the bottom. I decided to give the bush a chance. I trimmed back its dead leaves and watered it and fed it Miracle Gro. And now, I have blueberries.
In the last few years there were so many times when I could have given up and changed the course that had been set for me. I could have terminated my pregnancy with Gabriel. I could have walked away from my marriage the moment Ben walked away from me, or maybe I even could have just listened to my instincts which gave me hesitation before I got married in the first place. Then maybe I would have shared my experience with Gabriel with someone who would still be around to share it with me today. Or maybe I never would have had Gabriel at all.
I could have ignored that first e-mail in my Match.com inbox, the one from Marcos that changed both our lives. But then what would I be missing.
The journey that has brought me to this point in my life has been bittersweet, but when I look around there's really nothing more that I could ask for. I could say that I wish my son were here now, but such a wish is fruitless. He's not here. He can't be here. No amount of wishing can bring him back to me, can undo our path and make him whole. Gabriel is who he is, was what he was, is and was everything he was supposed to be.
My son had anencephaly. He lived for ten days, against all odds. He died in my arms and I miss him dearly every day of my life and I feel it in the deepest part of myself. Still my life is perfect, and I might never have known that it is perfect if I had never known the color blue.