October is both my favorite month, and the most agonizing one. Faith died October 22nd, 2018, and Elijah was due October 26th, 2019. Today would have been his first birthday if he’d lived. In my head he would’ve been a carbon copy of his beautiful father.
[Something I devoutly hope for all my children, past and present, because friends, there is NO REASON why I got such a handsome guy. None, zip, nada. If this was Big Bang Theory, he’s Penny, only much, much nicer, and I’m Leonard, only much, much dumber.]
As you may have peeped in my bio, right now I’m a college student. As you may have picked up from my past post, I’m a huge nerd. I enjoy history and thinking about people’s motivations for the things they do. I am NOT a genius, or anything close, I just like to understand the past [probably because I’m an Enneagram 6 and I want to be secure and blah blah blah, don’t be a 6 because it’s the most annoying thing ever.]
I also watch a lot [too many, according to my husband and partner in crime] of documentaries. Amazon has a ton of archaeology documentaries, and I have a lot of free time. Amazon Prime + me = forever [even I can do this math]
I was watching a doc on the mummies of the South American coast [these people were mummifying their dead thousands of years before the Egyptians!], and after the discovery of mummified stillborn babies, the scientists/archaeologists began asking themselves why these folks took the trouble to preserve their babies’ bodies.
………………………………………………………. BECAUSE, SHARON.
I think you can identify people who have lost babies, and those who haven’t. Not always, certainly, but….why would these ancient people mummify their babies? Really?
MAYBE BECAUSE YOU WOULD DIE TO HAVE THEM BACK. MAYBE BECAUSE LITERALLY ANYTHING YOU CAN DO FOR THEM NOW IS TOO LITTLE AND WON’T BRING THEM BACK. MAYBE BECAUSE YOUR BABY IS GONE AND YOU WOULD BURN DOWN THE WORLD TO HOLD THEM AGAIN. Screw your questions, sir or ma’am. Somebody took the trouble to honor their stillborn child because they LOVED that baby.
I try not to armchair quarterback archaeologists. They’re smarter than me and have dedicated years to their studies and work, and they know things about stuff. To be fair, the archaeologist did mention love as a driving force for these mummifications, and maybe it’s just that science demands a certain emotional detachment, and I was tired, and the questions rubbed me the wrong way because I don’t do emotional detachment now, at all. But, for real.
These ancient South Americans mummified their lost babies for the same reason I cremated mine. I didn’t let their tiny bodies be destroyed with medical waste at the hospital because I owed their bodies the same respect that we give to the bodies of full-term babies, and our spouses and friends and parents and grandparents. That prehistoric mother laying awake crying, dying inside to have her baby back, felt the same things I feel. My babies have a grave and a headstone, because that’s how my culture honors our dead. She mummified her baby because that’s how her culture honored theirs.
Times change and cultures change, but people don’t. Love, in all its forms, is such a driving force, and I think science and -isms can so easily forget this most basic of human emotions. Archaeologists might squint at an x-ray and ask “why would they do that?” but you and me, the ones who have lost babies, don’t have to wonder.
Love. It’s a life sentence when you’re a parent. You can’t shake it, or stop it. Your children, whether you get to raise them or not, get all your love, forever.
Let the scientists wonder. We know.