Child of Mine
You who I cradle in my arms,
Asking as little as you canů
You will be who you want to be,
You can choose whatever heaven grants.
As long as you can have a chance,
I swear I'd give my life for you.
("I'd Give My Life For You", from Miss Saigon)
I am dying.
I knew that this might happen, but it is still hard to
accept. It is one thing to know that death is approaching, but quite another to
feel the life leaking out of you. Every frantic beat of my heart seems to pour
away more of my fading energy, and I can still feel the blood spilling out of
me. My only consolation, as I lie here in agony, is knowing that my life is
given for the sake of my son.
My dear little boy. I never thought that it was possible for
one person to hold as much love as I feel for him now. You could tear out my
bleeding heart, crush it up into the finest powder, then sieve away the parts
that belong to him, and all that was left would fit into a thimble, so little
there would be left of it. You could do all that, and more, and still my flesh
could not possibly ache any more than it does for him at this moment.
My body clings to him still, even as the last of my strength
is slipping away from me. I feel as though I am guarding him against Death
himself- and perhaps this is true, in a way. I wish I could be sure that he
will live. He has a fair chance, true, with my own life offered in place of
his, but can anything in this world be truly certain? Can I really let him go
If only his father could have been here, in these last few
minutes. He is a good man- not without his faults, of course, for I will never
forgive what he has put me through. But for all he is lacking, he is the father
of my child, and I love him dearly.
I am so tired- so very, very tired. My body is so exhausted,
as is my mind, even my very soul. I am so weak that I cannot help it; my eyes
begin to slide shut. This is not death, I know, not quite yet, but it is so
very hard to fight itů I drift in and out of consciousness, struggling to keep
my focus on the boy, but at the same time some deep part of me is willing the
darkness to claim me as its own. I have done all I can for him now, it says-
now you can be free! Leave this pain behind, you have no need to stay any
Somewhere underneath my weariness, I begin to panic.
Please, I think. Let me wake. I have so few seconds left with my
son, don't let me spend them drifting away through the silence of eternity. I
need to wake; I must wake- for his sake if not for my own. There is still so
much I need to do for him.
It is so dark now. I can almost see Death standing over me,
his wand raised to claim my soul as soon as I stumble. That in itself is enough
horror to be held by one mind, but it is followed by another terrible shock-
what if he is here for my son, as well?
The painful thought is almost enough to startle me awake-
almost, but not quite. I am very near the end now, and I fear I do not have
enough strength left to protect my little one much longer. I do not have the
power to open my eyes, let alone ward off this deadly apparition.
He hovers ever closer, moving like a Dementor, sliding
across my thoughts and leaving not a ripple to mark his passing. He does want
my child- I can feel it, taste it, smell his desires in his intolerable scent
of rot and decay. He reaches out a filthy hand towards us, and although I
cannot see his face I can somehow sense his grim smile.
Give me the boy.
The realisation hits me suddenly, and runs through my dying
body on veins of lightning. He will not have my son. I have already sacrificed
myself, and I will not let all my labours have been in vain. I clench my fists
with effort and I-
-I wake up.
It is over.
The doctor is standing over me, holding a tiny figure
stained with much blood. My blood, I recognise dazedly. Still only
semi-conscious, still panting in an attempt to regain what little breath I have
left, I look my first upon my son.
The attending nurse must have noticed my eyes opening, for
she gasps and tells me in a hushed whisper, "We thought we'd lost
you!" She smiles, although it is a smile that does not quite reach her
eyes. "Would you like to hold him?"
I try to speak, but my throat is too clogged with emotion,
and all I can do is nod weakly. The doctor hands me the struggling form and my
eyes begin to leak tears that I did not know I had left in me.
I cradle my son to my chest, clutching him with a grip
tighter than any Grindylow could ever manage. No one will take you away from
me, darling, no one. They will have to pry you from my lifeless fingers when I
am gone, because until then I will not let you out of my grasp.
I hold him too tightly; he struggles, and starts to cry.
Shh, my child, don't be sad. We have only moments longer, and I do not wish for
my last sight to be your first tears. There will be time enough for tears
afterwards, should you still feel the need to shed them.
The doctor is watching me sadly. I don't have much time
left, he tells me. The birth was long and difficult, and the blood loss was too
He sounds so straightforward, so matter of fact. It is hard
to accept that he can be so calm as he tells me of my own impending demise, yet
it makes sense- he has been through this many, many times before.
The doctor is still watching me. He wants to know what the
boy is to be called, and I need only moments to think. My child will be named
after his father, of course, and I tell the doctor just that. He nods quite
serenely, jots it down on a loose sheet of paper, and then leaves me to die
with my son.
I had never quite believed that this could happen to me. It
seems such an old-fashioned death, to die in childbirth, almost medieval. I
remember hearing stories as a child, and dismissing them almost immediately-
stupid, pointless deaths, I thought, caused by ignorance and poor medical
treatment. I had never really imagined that I could suffer the same fate.
But now, as the darkness gathers around me, I think I
finally understand. All those women, torn apart in the creation of their own
offspring- their deaths were not at all stupid or meaningless. They were
beautiful. Women throughout the ages have offered their own lives so that their
children might have a chance to breathe the free air. They died not because of
ignorance and neglect, but because of love. They died for their children.
And as I go to join them, I am proud to be counted among
their numbers. It is no shame for my own life to be forfeit so early on, not
when I have a beautiful child to carry on for me. He will be great. I know it.
I can see it in his half-closed eyes.
I love you, my son. My dear little boy, named for a father
he may never see.
May you live happily ever after, dear child. My dear Tom