I have been thinking of my Grandma a lot lately.
When my Dad was about S's age, my Grandma had her fourteenth child, Jeffrey. He never came home from the hospital. My Grandma barely spoke about him and when she did, she was so sad that I never wanted to ask questions and find out more. My Aunts and Uncles and Dad rarely spoke of him either. He is buried a few miles away from where I grew up, in a cemetery by the river that holds several generations of family.
When my Dad had his accident just before Thanksgiving, he talked a lot about his brother and Mom while he was on painkillers. The kids were excited about the baby coming home. When Jeff didn't, my Dad talked about how hard it was on his Mom, how sad she was, how much the other kids were hurting, too. My poor Dad, my son's age, looking forward to a baby that never came. I think about how excited S was about each of his siblings, but especially Iz, and I can't even imagine him having to mourn the way my Dad did.
I sit here beside Iz, ready to hold her hand or comfort her whenever she stirs and I wonder if my Grandma got that opportunity. Did she stay by Jeff's side and cherish those few short days she had him? Or did she have to go home and care for the rest of her children? How my heart breaks for her, losing her baby.
My Dad wasn't sure why Jeff died but after Iz was born, one of his older sisters told him Jeff had heart defects, she couldn't remember which, but they were bad enough that he only lived a week. When I heard, I held Iz close and thanked God that today, fifty-some years later, doctors know how to fix so many things. I think my Grandma would hold Iz close, too, and be grateful that her beautiful great-granddaughter will get the chances Jeff never did. Grandma would have adored Iz.