Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Cult of Celebrity

So. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died today.

Do you think I care? No, I do not. Sad for their families, but it matters not a bit to me.

I don't get the "cult of celebrity" thing. Why are we so wrapped up in the lives of people we will never meet, people we only see on television, or on stages hundreds of feet away? Do we know them? No, I don't think we do.

I was in England on the day Diana died. Living there with my husband. It was my 28th birthday, and we, Luddites at the time, watched TV on a very limited basis (once a week, maybe) and hadn't turned on the radio that day. We were having a lovely day, out and about, seeing beautiful things, having tea, enjoying ourselves. I remember that we saw a church with the flag flying at half mast, and figured someone had died.

Indeed, someone had.

At the time, I worked in London, and spent 3 hours a day on trains from our little village, into London, where I switched to the Underground. All that week, people sat on those trains, some of them holding flowers, many of them weeping. And I thought, why? Did you know her? How did she improve your life? I may sound callous, but, really--who was she to you, other than some woman who married a prince and happened to be reasonably attractive? I think Diana, like any other celebrity, knew how to work the media, knew how to make herself more appealing, knew how to, perhaps, use the public for her own goals.

And yes, she was the mother of two young boys, and I do believe she loved them with all her heart. I'm not disputing that. But we didn't know her, none of us. Didn't know her faults (for surely she had them), didn't know her weaknesses, didn't know who she genuinely was. Anymore than we know who Farrah and Michael were. I suspect that the passing of Michael Jackson will elicit something of the cult-like devotion and hysteria that followed Diana's death, and once again, I will be amazed by it.

Do you remember when Ronald Reagan died? I remember the day of his funeral, turning on PBS for Charlotte to watch one of the children's programs, and instead there was his funeral procession. Thousands of people standing in the streets, newscasters from all over commentating on the spectacle of the hearse going by, the funeral aired on TV.

And all I could think was, weeks past Ben's death--why did the world not stop in this way for my son?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

It's summer...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What Not to Say to a Parent Who's Lost a Baby

1. You'll have another baby.

2. It wasn't meant to be.

3. It was God's will.

4. God needed another angel in heaven, or, the variant, God needed your baby in heaven more than you needed your baby here. (You really think God is that freakin' cruel? That's not a God I want any part of.)

5. Your baby couldn't have survived if he'd been born.

6. I know just how you feel. (Hint: Unless your baby died too, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. None whatsoever.)

7. It happened for a reason. (There is no good reason for my child to have died. He was not meant to have died. But he did anyway.)

I hope someone comes here, someone who is in danger of saying some of these horrible phrases to newly bereaved parents, and learns something. The best thing anyone can say is simply this: "I'm sorry."

Readers, do you have anything to add to my list? I'm sure you do, so please, help me enlighten the rest of the world.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

(I Forgot to Give This Post a Title and Realized it Days Later)

I have been tagged by Debbie of Loving Rylie, Missing Sophie, Expecting Finn.

THE RULES: Mention who tagged you. Complete the list of 8’s. Tag 8 other people.


Going to Venice in August.

Having a morning out with my girl on Friday.

Sleeping in on Monday morning.

A date with my husband in July. (Yep, had to plan that far ahead.)

Eating ice cream on Friday night.

Eating chocolate. In, oh, the next few minutes.

Meeting a friend in Chicago in September. (Right, B?)

Puttering in my garden this weekend.


Drank a latte.


Made cookies.

Ran errands.

Read with my kids.

Talked on the phone.

Supervised a playdate.

Read my e-mails.



Play the guitar.

Get organized.

Live someplace with less snow and more sunshine.

Stop volunteering for everything.

Find the perfect job.

Buy new slipcovers for the sofa.

Rip out the big ugly bushes at the front of my house.


What Not to Wear

How Clean is Your House?

Spongebob Squarepants (thanks, kids)

The Daily Show

The Colbert Report

(No, it's not 8 shows, but I don't watch much TV.)



Ice cream



Apple pie


French bread












Umm, everybody I would tag has already been tagged. If you haven't been tagged and feel I've overlooked you, come yell at me in the comments and consider yourself tagged.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What Will Matter in the End

I was at a women's retreat a few months ago, enjoying a lovely weekend close to home (no overnight, unfortunately, but that's ok) with good people, doing fun and insightful things. One of the retreat leaders recommended a book by Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.

Now, I've been through some difficult times, so I was intrigued by what this woman might have to say to a deadbabymama like me. Could she really have any insight into what life's truly shitty stuff does to a person? Could she have any clue how to go on living your life after you've lost the best thing in the world? (Do you detect cynicism on my part? Hmm.)

I was a bit afraid the book would be very touchy-feely, New Age flaky. Not so. After reserving the book from the library and enduring a long wait for it, I brought it home, read it, and went out and bought a copy. I want to read it again, and I also want to share pieces of it with you. I know this book isn't for everyone, and it's certainly not geared to deadbabymamas, it's simply geared to anyone who has lost and wants to go on after, to learn what they can and maybe even (and I hesitate to write this, but I can't think of another way to phrase it) be better for it.

In one passage, she writes about Sept. 11, and gathering with friends for a dinner shortly after. Everyone at the table was full of different emotions and thoughts about America, war, and terrorism, arguing about then-President Bush and politics. Trying to find compassion for the world, no matter politics or religion, Elizabeth sits at the table crying, as their waitress comes over to tell them that she worked in the World Trade Center, and lost 50 friends that day. "The only thing you should be talking about tonight is how precious your life is," she tells them. "How lucky you are to be alive."

Later, driving home, Elizabeth writes, "I found my thoughts returning to the people on the airplanes, and to that moment when they realized they were speeding through space toward their death. I let my grip on life loosen, until I was with those people, sharing the awe, finally understanding the secret--the same secret we will all know when death is just a breath away: In the end, what will matter is how much we loved--our children, our mates, our families, our friends, everyone we know, everyone who traveled with us during our brief visit to this unbearably lovely place. What will matter is the good we did, not the good we expected others to do."

I'm trying to absorb those words in my days of fear: fear of my own death, fear of my children or husband dying, fear of some catastrophe. I fear so much, and at times it keeps me from truly living my life. And life is too short to let it be ruled by fear. So today, right now, I will love what I have, love this life.

And every day, I will keep waking up, opening up my arms to embrace whatever lies before me, and love.