Cold, overcast, rain—a gray morning. In a small corner in the cemetery, there were perhaps thirty of us brought together by loss clustered around a single headstone with the thought Sometimes life is a moment engraved into the granite. The short memorial was hosted by a bereavement organization for families who had participated in a reproductive medicine clinic and lost a pregnancy prior to twenty weeks during the preceding year.
These were families who wanted a child.We huddled against the cold listening to poems, to sentiment, until finally, there was the reading of the names: Baby L _____, Twin babies R______, Baby S_____, so many names, one after the other, children conceived, loved and desired who would never lie in the circles of their mothers’ arms.
Someone read a poem by Wendy Roberts, You Mattered:
You only shone for a moment before you were gone,
A bright light in the darkness, a unique, special song.
Just gone, not forgotten, you weren’t meant to be.
But little treasure, O how much you mattered to me.
But little treasure—I couldn’t detour my thoughts that went immediately to the innumerable pregnancies intentionally ended during the same year. How many? A million?
It was a bitter irony.