You try to hold them, not with your hands of course, because though they are part of you, as close to you as anyone has ever been, they might as well be on the moon. You try to hold them with the good food you put in your body, the vitamin you take each morning, the Dr. visits, and the half-hour walks after dinner. You attempt to hold them by imagining them in your future, by inviting them into your dreams, and by sweeping out the dusty spaces in your heart to make room for something new, something so big and yet so tiny you don’t quite know how to prepare.
Despite all of this, sometimes they go. You don’t know why and you don’t know how exactly, but one morning you roll over to discover your breasts are no longer sore. That day your breakfast stays down too easily and there is a slight yet clawing emptiness where just yesterday fullness had been.
And you know. You know because, if only for a short time, you were a mother.
And so you let the dust settle back into those eager places and you draw the shades on the newly opened space in your heart. You stop taking the vitamins. There is no more need to see the doctor.
And you mourn. Of course you mourn. You flood your pillow, drip tears into the soup you are stirring, sit in the middle of the living room floor and weep while the phone rings, cars drive by, and the radio continues to play music. You marvel at the amount of tears your body can offer up. For a while, everything is gray, and the weight on your chest is so much larger than the little body you cry for.
But eventually the trees seem mysteriously greener, the song of the robin on your porch somehow clearer, and the legs beneath you walking feel curiously stronger. And you know that strength doesn’t come from the easy times. And that sometimes the world can be made more beautiful because of the things we held, if only for a moment, and lost.
Stacy Boe Miller is a metal smith, jewelry artist, writer, mother, and wife who lives in Moscow, ID.