I had a brother. Thirteen years born after me, but he was stillborn. I had a brother for not even an hour. My father went to pick up the body at the hospital and we brought him home and we buried him. All we have on his stone is “B.B. Bova”.
My grandmother was old school, so she said, “You should hold him, because it’s gonna be the first and last time that you’re gonna have a chance to hold him, because we’re gonna have to bury him.”
They made a makeshift coffin for him.
They made him a box, but they made the box too small so they kind of had to fold up his legs a bit from his knees for him to fit into the box. They had a pillow made for him.
When I was holding him, I was very surprised that he was not stiff, that he was just like a doll.
He had on a white gown and white underwear, white diaper, and white booties to match his sweater and bonnet. When I was holding him, I noticed that his nightgown was red. Because it was white, it was obvious that it was red, and I was wondering, “Why is it red?”
I made a mistake of opening the nightgown and opening the t-shirt. He was sewn from under his neck all the way lower than his belly button, because they had done an autopsy on him, a newborn.
I never forgot that experience. I didn’t want them to take him to bury him, because I was holding him already, even though he was cold. Not even really cold, just as if you had him outside on the porch, and he got fresh air, and you brought him back in.
Wake’ken’shén:tahkwe’. Áhsen iawén:re niiohserá:ke kà:ron naontahoién:take’ tsi ní:ioht nì:’i. Iah tehrónhnhehkwe’ tsi wahrennákerate’. Iah ki’k tsohwistà:’e tewake’ken’shén:tahkwe’. Rake’níha wahshakohnónksha’ tsi tehshakotitsèn:tha’ tánon’ tsi tionkwanónhsote tontahshakwaia’ténha’ tánon’ wahshakwaia’táta’. Kwah nek ionkwá:ien raotstenhrà:ke eh tho kahiá:ton “B.B. Bova”.
Iakorihwaká:ion nakhsothkénha, né: ká:ti’ wa’ì:ron’ “Ahtshia’tenháwa’, ase’kén entewatié:renhte’ nok ohna’kénhkha tsi ensate’shennaién:ta’ne’ ahtshia’tenháwa’ né: tsi ó:nen’k tsi enhshakwaia’táta’.”
Wahonwa’nerohkónnien’, nek tsi sótsi ken’ nika’nerohkwà:’a wahonnón:ni’ sok ki’ ó:nen’k tsi ostón:ha wahonwahsinakwe’nón:ni’ rakwitshà:ke nón: oh naiá:wen’ o’neróhkwakon ia’tahaié:ri’ne’. Wahonwatkonserahtsherónnien’.
Shihiia’tenhá:wahkwe’, é:so tsi wakenehrako’òn:ne’ tsi iah teiota’tíhon raoieròn:ta’, kwah nek sha’té:ioht ne kaia’tón:ni.
Rotstòn:ne’ karà:ken ní:ioht iakotà:stha’, nà:kon tié:iens, athwawen’ékstha’, nok wahtahkwarà:ken takontén:rohwe’ raotià:tawi nok raonòn:warore. Shihiia’tenhá:wahkwe’, wa’káttoke’ tsi ne iakotà:stha’ onekwénhtara tsi ní:ioht. Tsi wahsohkwarà:ken, wè:ne tsi kanekwénhtare ne tho, nok wakerihwaié:was, “Oh nontié:ren tsi onekwénhtara tsi ní:ioht?”
Wa’tke’nióhsken’ne’ tsi wa’tektá:kwarihte’ ne iakotà:stha’ nok raotià:tawi’. Rahnia’só:kon tsi niió:re raneri’tstó:kon ka’níkhon, ase’kén wahóntken’se’ ne raoieròn:ta’
Iah nonwén:ton tesewake’nikonhrhèn:’en tsi ne wa’tkatóhetste’. Iah tewaké:ron ahonwaia’ténhawe’ ahonwaia’táta’, né: tsi knà:’a riia’tenhá:wahkwe’, arenhátien tsi roieron’tanóhston. Iah kwah tehoieron’tanóhston, tsi shí:ken ní:ioht átste ahskwen’nà:ke wahtshé’teron tánon’ owerá:se wahowerá:ra’ne’, tánon’ kánonhskon tontahtshia’tínion’te’.
Storyteller: Amelia McGregor, Writer: Simona Rosenfield, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Translator: Sahawisó:ko' Arquette, The Eastern Door