I recently drove with a friend to Virginia Beach to visit the gravesite of her son. Her son lived for four and a half hours. He was born and died on December 27th, 2002. We arrived Friday night at her in-laws to home-made chicken soup and fresh biscuits. Saturday morning we drove to the cemetery before sunrise. We arrived there as the sun was coming up. We found his stone next to the empty plot for his great-grandmother, Granna, who lives a few miles away, on the same street she raised her four children. Her husband died five years ago and is in the ground waiting for her.
I read Psalm 5 as the sun came up. My friend and I prayed for each other. Then I read Green Eggs and Ham as we sat beside the grave of her son Aidan. We pulled the grass from around the stone that had grown over the name. We wiped it clean of dust with water from our water bottles and a bandana we had in the car.
I have had four miscarriages. I have cried over the loss of a life that stopped growing at eight weeks. I have never held a dying child in my arms. I have never carried a child to term that died after it took its first breath. I will never know the depth of pain that my friend has experienced. I met my friend a year ago when I moved to Pennsylvania. I can not stop my friends grief, but I can visit her first child’s grave and wash his gravestone and read him Green Eggs and Ham.