Baby fists

Brief intro:  many of you know I lost my oldest son to cancer in 2014.  I’m still working through my grief about losing him; he died at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, one week before his 31st birthday.  Recently I sketched a baby fist and it led me to this memory of my son’s life.  When I write about him, I feel his memory lives on, and that, in some way, his life is being shared among even more people.  Thank you for reading.


Sketch by Theresa Barker.

You may not believe this, but I can still remember the tiny closed fist of your baby hand, skinny fingers, against the cheek of your newborn face.  Is it thirty-four and some fraction of years since I saw you first, my own son? And still the memory of little fist and cheek sticks to the inside of my brain.  How oblivious you looked then, only intent on getting a few more hours’ sleep while it was possible, to catch up on those five last weeks of being in the womb that you missed out on by coming early.

Never let it be said you did not fight for life.  For now, for now, for now, I hold onto that little fist-on-cheek memory of when you were mine to protect and love.  And, love you, I still.

34 thoughts on “Baby fists

    1. Thank you, Dippy-Dotty Girl! I always hesitate a little before posting something related to a sad memory, asking whether I want others to hear about the sadness in my memory. But the community has been so supportive of my expression, I’m very grateful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Glad u kept it short cos I was tearing up and could not have handled much more – ugh – I am so sorry for your loss and I know that was not the essence of this post – as u noted – It was actually a bit of a celebratory post – to preserve his memory and let us share his existence and as I smiled to think of you remembering his fist – it brought me back to some early days with my babies and the joy that swells and fills your core – ugh – and thanks for stirring that joy up as u shared your sketch !!
    Side note – I met a lady named Amy a few months ago who lost her son to illness – he was under 20 – and she let me interview her!! I’m going to share it sometime on my blog

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful message, Yvette. It was longer in the draft and I had a feeling I wanted to focus on the most important part, so your message helps reinforce that feeling! As I mentioned to someone else, we all seem to remember those little baby-fists, eh? 🙂 Your interview sounds really great. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this Theresa. How poignantly you captured that “baby fist” feeling that fills every mother’s heart to almost bursting. I am so sorry that you have lived through every mother’s worst fears. ((hugs))

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  3. Another moving tribute to your son. His memory indeed lives on. All I have seen are pictures and what you have written and I feel as though I knew him. I am sure he is happy and smiling upon you.😚
    Your sketches are getting more and more amazing. I still can’t believe at one point you felt you couldn’t sketch.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear you feel you knew him. What a nice thought, a very sustaining thought.

      And about my sketches, thank you for noticing; they continue to surprise me! Hands and fingers are “hard,” they say, and I was delighted this one turned out. Hah!

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    1. Oh my gosh, thank you, Dahlia. I just mentioned in another comment that I didn’t use to share my story because it is sad and I didn’t want to spread sadness unduly. But people have been so kind and supportive when I do talk about it, that it has helped me start to heal. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Luanne, that is so helpful to hear! I put a lot of thinking into how long to make it, in fact, I edited out a bit more maudlin part of it. With you as a poet I am honored that you felt the effect of the piece – and thank you for telling me about it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Theresa, this is such an amazing post. It is full of emotions. I feel you. I can’t say I know how it feels but I feel you. Your sketch is great. You are a strong, inspirational and wonderful woman. Much love and hugs to you my dear friend. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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