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I traced his entire face. Felt the bridge of his nose under my finger tips, the silk of his eyebrows, the crease of his lips, the fullness of his cheeks, the curl of eyelashes on delicate lids, hiding his other-worldly brown eyes. I wiped my tears from his still face, laid my palm on the tiny chest that had long since stopped its rise and fall.

I tried not to imagine what would become of his tiny body once they’d taken him from my arms. I thought of all the things about him that would be forever gone, outside of memory and photographs. My hands continued to move over his features for hours, my body instinctively rocking his, my arms aching with the weight of death.

As I sobbed into his ribs, as my dad crouched over me, as my brother held me, as my mom worked to do all I could not, as my husband hyperventilated across the room, as questions were asked of me and answers filtered through my lips without actually having retained a thing. I heard only his silence, and the heart that didn’t beat.

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