I don’t think about the next hour. I just think about your next breath and I coil myself up in the moment, my arms all around you as best I can. Your hand, so small and pale curls softly around my thumb. Like a fragile leaf that clings to a tree, you could flutter away in the next breath of air and I know that my darkest hour is yet to come.
The leads and the tubes tangle and twine like accustomed old lovers reacquainted again; a mending braid that connects you to life – to me. A battle scar travels the length of your chest and the warriors have stifled your cries. I hear the gentle purr of machines, those robotic angels that watch over you, and never give up.
I trace the beats of your heart as blimps on a screen. It is my lifeline of hope bobbing about on the dark sea of a monitor screen; your chaotic rhythm of life that will not be calmed by science or prayer. I watch you draw breath and I cling to hope, to you, to whatever it is that keeps me present in the moments we have.
Just before dawn, in those seconds before the warmth of that God coloured part of the day unfolds, and the world kicks slowly to life – you shudder, like your soul is waving goodbye. Quietly, without fanfare or fuss, you flutter away, your tiny hand still curled around my thumb. My arms all around you as best I can. My bleakest hour. My little one. How I miss you already.