Tis that time of year again

Countdown. D – less than three months to the three year anniversary of Natan’s death.

Who is Natan? I don’t know. He’s my son. He’s buried up north. I didn’t visit his grave on the second anniversary because we had to be half a country away for interviews, and I won’t visit his grave on the third anniversary because we’ll have to be half a continent away again for the same reason. How do I feel about that? Honestly I don’t know. I don’t know if it matters. Maybe it’s all that matters. I don’t know.

I’m completely useless at this, this prolonged death and grief thing. Is Natan still dead? Am I just a self-absorbed, under-developed human being myself for still thinking about it? I’m not berating myself, I just wonder, what does it matter? Is this such a great place to be anyway? I was so certain when he died that he had a neshama, a soul. These days, to be completely honest, I’m not sure any of us do. In those moments when I was closer to death, I was much more certain about life.

In the days and months after, I was more certain, for example, that I’d rather Natan had lived, no matter his condition and health. I don’t know anymore and I might deserve to be told to fuck off for that. In terms of mundane lived experience, however, my life is a whole hell of a lot easier with my full-term son than it would have been with my micro-preemie.

I’d by lying if I said it never occurs to me that I’m better off with Baby Man. Seriously rail at me if you disagree and that’s disrespectful of life. I don’t care. I don’t know. It makes me crazy, at times, that I think it, but I’ve never said I’m perfect.

Don’t tell me it’s “normal,” because I don’t need comfort. I think I’m coming to peace with it, and am able to be honest.

My pregnancy with Baby Man was the luckiest period of my life–I had no reason to expect I would go to my due date. And (right now, maybe it will change) I can’t really summon the energy to wish anything had been different. But it’s not like I can do anything about it, so do my wishes even matter?

9 responses to “Tis that time of year again

  1. When my daughter had her stroke, they declared her brain dead by the end of the day. The hole I felt in my solar plexus I was certain would never go away. I believe that would have been true, had my daughter really died then…maybe a bit of what you feel still. Instead, she lives on with multiple disabilities. I have no qualms in saying that although I am better because of what I have learned…and a hard road it is…SHE is not necessarily so. Would she be better off dead? I don’t know…it looks that way for sure, many times…but since she is NOT dead, I assume she is better off alive and I must be here to help her along. The honesty with which you write is appreciated. Genuine feeling is always refreshing to find in this world.

  2. Of course wishes matter, sometimes that’s all hashem leaves us with. As for Natan’s neshama, there are arguments both ways, but I say that Baby Man might just have a part of it.

    Keep posting, I learn from your posts.

  3. Thank you Claire and Single Dad. Your words have really comforted me. We in this club often reject the idea that our dead children might share anything more with our living ones, but actually, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Baby Man has a part of Natan’s neshama.

  4. Very interesting. Thanks for your honesty. I don’t know what to believe in anymore myself. I think that as time goes on, I ask myself difficult questions too and I don’t always like the answers I come up with. I am feeling like I have entered a season of grief as well. It’s still so hard to digest, even everything (including the good stuff) that has happened since.

  5. In the darkest hours of my existence, when I was told that my daughter will be severely disabled and then when she was lingering between life and death on the oscillator, I wondered if she would be better off dead. Maybe I deserve to be told to eff off for that. If so, I can only take it from the mouth of someone who’s been there. Those people, however, are much slower to pass judgement on the dark thoughts of others. I stopped wondering the what if’s along with the why me’s though, because even if there was an answer, it doesn’t really matter.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. While I’m sure you learn to live with it and grow a shell around your pain, I can’t imagine ever ‘getting over’ the loss of a child. But of course, I don’t know.

  6. Erika, So true. All of what you said, even your description of learning to live with it and growing a shell. You just keep going. Thank you.

  7. CLC, I keep thinking I’ll stop noticing the season changes, but I don’t. Much love to you.

  8. Well I termin.ated a pregnancy. Now I think I sadly believe that my marriage wouldn’t have been strong enough to cope and I don’t think I would have been strong enough to cope on my own. But who knows. We can never know how that other life that didn’t come to be would have turned out. Maybe I would have surprised myself with inner strength. Maybe all would have crumbled. Maybe the holes in his heart would have closed and his tri.somy would have been very mild. Maybe they would have all been very severe.

    I am slowly coming to believe that Beanie is connected with my father somehow. My connection with V is so tenuous these days.

  9. Thinking of you, J and Natan today.

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