Alternate reality

If someone had told me last year that  my baby would die at the end of a healthy pregnancy and Donald Trump would be elected president of the United States, I would not have believed it.  This just confirms the sense that I have had since May that I am living in an alternate reality.  Except that I know there is no going back to my other ‘reality’.  And that is scary.

I volunteered at an elementary school this morning, helping with the 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 5th grade art classes.  In each class, the children told me they were sad and scared, but here is what surprised me.  They asked if Donald Trump was really going to send them back to Africa, and told me he did not like black people.  One even asked, “He can’t bring back slavery, can he?”

This alternative reality sucks.


Six months

Dearest Sidney,

I miss you.  I cannot believe it’s been six months since I gave birth to you.  You were perfect to me then, and you are perfect to me now, except that you are not here in my arms. I love you unconditionally.  Yesterday, your daddy and I went and ordered your tombstone.  We put a tree of life on it, and it will have your full name, your birth date, and then it will say, ‘Beloved son and brother, always and forever.’ Your daddy tells Eli that he loves him always and forever, and whenever I visit you in the cemetery, I tell you I love you always and forever, and so we wanted that message to be written clearly across the stone that marks your grave.

I spent my birthday without you.  It was a sad day for me.  In the evening, I opened some presents from Eli and daddy.  One of them had a picture of a necklace that daddy is getting for me.  It is a locket with a tree on it.  It hasn’t come but once it comes, I want to engrave the line from the E.E. Cummings poem on the back, “I carry your heart.  I carry it in my heart.’ And then I want to put your picture inside so that I always have a physical reminder of you close to me.  You are so beautiful to me.  I ache to kiss your soft cheeks again, to hold you tightly in my arms.  You cannot know how much I long for you.  I still somehow cannot grasp how the world can go on without you here in it.

To mark six months without you, we will donate a small amount of money to a children’s organization in your name.  Something positive that comes from you having existed.  It is not a lot, but it is something.

Tonight, we will have shabbat dinner at friends’, and I will feel your absence.  I always feel your absence.  I am always aware that something is not as it should be.  Time may go on, but my longing and love for you will never change.

Please know how much you mean to me.  Please know how much I love you.  Please know how much I miss you.  And please know that you will always be a part of this family, my dear second son.

I love you always and forever.


your mama


Stupid Halloween

I took Eli trick or treating tonight.  At the beginning, most of the people that came to the door were the age of grandparents, or the parents who had opted to be the ones handing out candy while their children went out trick or treating.  And I somehow managed not to see any babies.  But then we rang the bell of one of our neighbors, a woman who I don’t know well, but I occasionally would see out with her son in his stroller.  Trick or treat, Eli said.  Trick or treat, she said.  How are you?  Is your second son at home? she asked.  No, he died, I say.  Horrified look.  I am so sorry, she says.  Avoids eye contact for the next minute while Eli selects his candy and talks to her son.  Awkward.  Stupid Halloween.  We go home.  Home where my second son is not.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I am not looking forward to it.  Nothing to celebrate.  A year older.  A year gone.  Sidney gone.  I will spend the am in meetings with students.  In the afternoon, I will go to therapy, come home, eat dinner.  This is not how it should be.

This weekend, my husband was out walking with Eli and they met an elderly woman who lives down the street.  She asked Eli if he had any brothers or sisters.  No, he said.  Then a second later.  I had baby Sidney, but he died.  Yes, my husband said, confirming that what Eli said was true.  I had wondered how he would answer that question when it arose.  He did a good job.  But I don’t want his answer to be true.  I don’t want this to be his reality any more than I want it to be mine.

The past few days Eli has been mentioning Sidney more, saying he is sad and that he wants him to come back.  Me too, my lovely little boy, me too.

I got an email from a student.  I hope you are enjoying your maternity leave, it read.  No, I am not.

I want a puppy.  I want its companionship.  I think it would be therapeutic.  It would give me something positive to focus on.  And it would guarantee that I was active, since I would have to walk it for a decent amount of time everyday.  My husband does not want one. 😦

My dad is obsessed with genealogy.  He has traced his family back hundreds of years, and often contacts or is contacted by other ‘relatives’ who are also obsessed with genealogy.  He put baby Sidney in our family tree.  That means other people will know he existed.  It means a lot to me.  His name in a permanent record.  At least there is that.