to Notre Dame

i’ve been trying to post something for days now, but the words just haven’t been flowing.  Tuesday was little sun’s three-month birthday, and yesterday…yesterday marked three months of his being gone.  every month on those two days, Froggy and i become distracted and fragile.  we’re both bombarded by images of every moment we lived with our little boy, and it overwhelms us make us both shut down emotionally.

Monday i went to Notre Dame again, and this time the line was almost nonexistent, so i went inside.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

i also took my new camera, the one i’d gotten to document little sun’s life….the one that never captured even one image of him.

i’m a bit embarrassed to admit that the last time i’d been inside of that masterpiece of architecture was nearly thirty years ago.  my father was stationed in Germany at the time, and he brought me to Paris for a three-day father-daughter weekend.  i don’t remember walking around inside the cathedral, but i’d retained a few striking images of Notre Dame in my mental scrapbook: the brooding gargoyles, the flying buttresses stretching out along the Seine and a huge, luminous rose window floating high above me.

this time around, i found myself surrounded by throngs of people whispering in a multitude of tongues, but i could barely see them, because my eyes were being pulled away….

up, down and all around…everywhere something to seduce the eyes.  i didn’t take too many pictures, though, because i was on a mission.  i let myself be carried by the stream of visitors, and i passed section after section of candles and statues.  as a non-Catholic, i lack the vocabulary to describe these areas of the cathedral.  each one seemed to be dedicated to a particular saint, though, and none of them felt quite right.  when i’d nearly completed my circuit, i found myself here:

and when i looked up, i saw the image that i knew would speak to every other babylost mother:

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i stopped there and looked for the candles.  they had boxes of tea candles for a recommended donation of 2€ each and then a bit further away i saw these:

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they would have been perfect, but i need five candles, and 5€ for each one was just a bit too expensive.  i returned to the statue of Mary/Marie/Maria and the infant Jesus and began to pick out the tea candles.  while i was doing it, a woman asked me if i had change for a ten euro bill.  i didn’t, but i tried to give her a two euro piece.  “please take it,” i told her, as the beginnings of a sob strangled my voice.  she shook her head, thanked me and said she’d get change.

my hands (and the rest of me) were pretty shaky as i tried to arrange each little candle.  first, i lit one for Hunter:

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and then for Nathaniel:

Nathaniel's candle

and for Alice:

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and then i lit a candle for baby May, but as i was trying to get my camera into position, the little paper with her name on it went up in flame.  i was too flustered to make another one, but i promise her mamas that i’ll light another one for her next time around.

as i lit each candle, i spoke each baby’s name and told each one of them how much their mamas and daddies miss them.

finally, i lit a candle for my little sun.  and then i sagged against the woodwork and sobbed and sobbed as i looked at all those little candles flickering under the serene gaze of another mother who lost her son.  i don’t know how long i was there, but at one point i felt a gentle hand on my shoulder, and i turned to find the woman who’d asked me for change before.  she had tears in her eyes and a knowing look on her face.  there are just too many of us….too many brokenhearted mothers, too many lost babies.

when i walked out in to the sunny afternoon, i was exhausted…completely emotionally spent. i wandered back to the Indian restaurant i’d gotten food from last week was greeted by the smiling face of my new friend, Nishanth.  he’d emailed me a few days before to tell me he’d found someone to do a ceremony for little sun, and just being in his presence had a calming effect on me.  i was able to talk about little sun and the candles without crying or even choking up.  and afterwards, i came home to Froggy and the two of us let our tastebuds be dazzled.

there’s been some news about my visa and our payments from the CAF, but i’ll write about all of that another time.  for now i leave you with a few more pictures from Notre Dame.

 

rose window

gargoyles

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7 thoughts on “to Notre Dame

  1. Suzanne

    Beautiful!! <3 Thank you!! <3 The photos are really stunning. I'm so sorry that you're not documenting sun's beautiful life, piece by piece, day by day. I'm sorry you're documenting your grief instead, but the pictures you have here are beautiful.

    Reply
  2. Songs and Sonnets

    Thank you so much for lighting a candle for May. You chose the perfect place, and it means so much to us. And don’t worry about the mishap, I think she’s mischievous! ;) I’m going to be in Durham on Tuesday so I’ll light a candle for Little Sun then. x

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Candles | Songs & Sonnets

  4. CarrieJ

    Thank you for lighting such a beautiful candle for Alice. What a lovely post. We miss her so much and I’m so grateful to think that someone else out there remembers her. I hope your trip to England is going well. Best.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: little lights | following my sun

  6. Pingback: mon sacré cœur | following my sun

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