November 14, 2008

I used to put my hand on my belly and sing, mostly in the shower but sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes while sitting in the comfy, stuffed reading chair in our living room.  My mother sang us lullabies when we were little, and during those first happy months of pregnancy it never occurred to me that I might not get to spend several sleepless nights trying to sing my baby to sleep.

The day after Teddy was born, when we were holding him and knowing we had to let him go, I managed to keep my voice from quavering into sobs for a few verses of “Hush, Little Baby.”  I wanted him to have at least one lullaby.  He wasn’t responsive to us when we held him; I think his little body was putting all of its energies into just breathing.  But I like to think that he heard me.

A few nights ago, N and I were channel surfing and caught the end of the James Taylor: One Man Band concert on PBS.  The last song, “You Can Close Your Eyes,” hit me straight in the heart.  It’s such a beautiful and simple lullaby, exactly the kind of thing I used to imagine myself singing to Teddy, and the last verse is full of what we wanted for our son but don’t get to have.

(This isn’t the version from the concert we saw, but I have a thing for Iris DeMent.)

It wont be long before another day
We gonna have a good time
And no ones gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like

If there is a heaven, it’s the place where that last verse is true.



  1. You know what I loved about this song? That when it started, it was my words to Liam… but by the time it ended, it was his words to me.

    Thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. Thanks, Kate. That’s a lovely way of looking at it, and a though I’ll hang on to.

  3. […] still fresh and raw, when grief dripped bright red and steaming from my fingertips, I wrote about a lullaby that made my breath catch.  I still think of Teddy whenever I sing it, and I sing it almost every night to Dot as she drifts […]

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