I was told by many people when I was pregnant with Mo, that Max was coming back to me - that he'd be reincarnated in a next child. It was finally an explanation that made sense. Finally a way to soothe my aching heart. He'd be back - in this next child, or another. I hoped it would be sooner rather than later.
When I found out that we were having another boy, I looked for signs that it was Max inside of me. At our first 3-D sonogram, the doctor showed us that the baby's hand was up by his head. Ted and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Maybe it was Max, who was born with his hand by his head. I knew that the first thing I had to look for when this baby was born was the birthmark on the back of his head - just like Maxie had - just like Ted has. When Mo was born, I saw it! He has the same birthmark!!! I swear.

I knew that I would KNOW if Mo was Max. That's how well I know my Max. I would see his soul shining through, even if his brother didn't look just like him. I knew I would know.

I read every book I could find about reincarnation. I asked rabbis if Jews believe in it. I also asked everyone else I met of every other religion. I wanted to believe in reincarnation. Maxie coming back is the only way I could make sense of his death. It had to be so!!!

But I don't know if Mo is Max. I am tempted to say he isn't because I don't know if I believe in reincarnation. I mean, I never did before. It's true that they look so much alike, they've slept so similarly, they like similar foods, have similar temperaments and love all of the same books. But Mo does that thing with his fingers and his favorite book isn't Goodnight Moon, it's Trashy Town.

Whether Mo and Max share a soul doesn't really matter because I still love them separately. I love them each differently for their differentness. I love the Max I see in Mo but I love Mo for the Mo I see in him. His unique specialness that makes him my angel. Max redefined my life! Mo saved it!

Thinking Mo is Max feels like a disservice to both of my boys. It doesn't honor Maxie's memory for me to easily replace him with his brother. It doesn't honor Mos uniqueness for me to think he is Max. So I have chosen to let that go. I choose to believe the package that doesn't wrap up quite so easily....I choose what seems like the simpler explanation but is actually the more complicated one for me. But I still choose to believe we will be together again - just not in this life.

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