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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Loneliest Number

They say one is the loneliest number, and so often in this land of grief, the solitary loneliness rears its ugly head. Over the last week, as I thought about the first day of kindergarten, I was reminded how alone I sometimes am. In bed on Wednesday night, my husband asked me what was wrong. I tried so hard not to tell him, didn't want to be upset, even though I'd just been crying in the bathroom.

"Ben would have started kindergarten tomorrow," I told him, and started to cry.

He didn't know what to say. I don't blame him for that; I understand that we are not the same. It is my job to get the children to school, to pack the lunches, sort the clothes, take them to the doctor. They are on my mind every moment of every day; no matter what I am doing, they are part of me. I don't know if it's something biological, or something that happens once we have a child, but it does seem to be common to mothers everywhere, this marking of time in relation to our children, this recognition of where they should be. It's not the same for most, probably all, of the dads I know.

And while I have friends who remember every year on the anniversary of Ben's death, there are moments, like the one I experienced this week, when what would have been a milestone in our lives is unrecognized by others. I don't blame them for that either; before Ben, I wouldn't have thought about those milestones in the life of someone else.

But I'm reminded how lonely this journey is, and I wonder if I make too much of what would have been. Do I need to let go more than I have, of Ben, of the possibilities that no longer exist? Or am I right where I should be?

I don't know. Not every day is like last Thursday, but every day I am aware of what I am missing. I don't want to forget completely, but there are times when I am tired of remembering.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Day, Another Milestone

I've been thinking about this day all year, wondering what I would do when it arrived. Would I stand on the school lawn, a voyeur into the marking of a moment, many moments, staring at others' tears and smiles? Would I enter into the circle, as I so wanted to do, to both welcome and send off, to be a witness for the parents and children starting a new chapter in their lives? What would I do, on this day that would have meant something for my family, if things had worked out differently?

Today, Ben would have started kindergarten. There are milestones on this journey that we mark; in the first year, the holidays, the gatherings missed, the first birthday, the first anniversary of loss. Later, more birthdays, significant moments, like this one. I won't ever have a day to mark when he might have married, had his first child, no certain date for his first day at college. But this day, this day I know.

I watched for a few moments, from the playground, as James played with a friend, as the kindergardeners gathered,some of them crying and hugging their parents, reluctant to take this big step. The parents took photos and wiped away tears, promised to be back soon, that all would be okay. I walked away as they gathered in their circle on the lawn to mark the official start of their formal educations, holding James in my arms.

"Why you stop and look, mama?" he asked me.

"Because I wanted to," I replied, my voice full of tears.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm Back

Hello everyone! I am back from my vacation, which was just wonderful - 2.5 weeks in England and Venice, most of it spent with my in-laws in England, though my hubby and I had 3.5 days in Venice alone. Venice was amazing - romantic, beautiful, wonderful. England was also great - we had amazingly beautiful weather, very little rain, loads of sun, perfect temps - better than we could have hoped for.

I am seriously jet lagged now; we got home Sunday afternoon and I am still trying to recover from the time difference, get through the mail, finish the laundry, get the school supplies, plan for James's belated birthday party on Friday, and everything else. I just wanted to let you all know I am still alive and kicking!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just for Fun

I love this quote, from Bertrand Russell, and thought I'd share it today:

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."