I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say.  I have been missing Sidney more intensely this weekend, crying again at random times, longing to hold him in my arms, and thinking about his last few days.  He was kicking inside of me, and then somehow, slowly, he was not.  Eli has also been talking about Sidney more again.  We were driving to the grocery store, and he said, “We were very excited that baby Sidney was going to come.  But then one night, something bad happened….he died!” He says this in an overly dramatic voice (these lines are basically from the book “Something happened.”) He also kept telling me, “the happiest day of your life is when you got to meet me.  The saddest day of your life is when baby Sidney died.  At least one of your babies got to come.” Correct.  But that will never be okay.

People at work are bothering me.  I took a walk this morning in the hopes it would help me start off my work week in a better mood.  My Monday am walks usually calm me down, but today, for some reason, I just got more and more riled up.  I am tired of being judged, criticized, watched, ignored, and misunderstood (I understand that there are some contradictions in here).  We are interviewing for a new assistant professor, and my ‘mentor’ sent me an email after he looked at the schedule commenting that I had only signed up for a fifteen minute session with one of the candidates, and he doesn’t understand why, and I should have taken a 30 minute or a 45 minute session.  I responded that I chosen the fifteen minute one because I had also signed up to take the candidate to dinner (not to mention I will be at their one hour job talk, and the one hour discussion that followed).  But of course he didn’t notice that but instead was quick to judge.  he’s not my boss, and it’s not his job to stand over me, not to mention that if he is also going to tell me that I should be publishing more, then maybe he should be supportive of helping me make time to do that.  And then I sent out notes from the faculty senate meeting, and the chair said, btw, you should make sure you date your notes.  I know.  This is a very small thing, and he is right, I should, but how about they also comment on some of the positive things I am doing, instead of telling me everything I am doing wrong.  How about they comment about the suicidal student who told me that it meant a lot to her that I had noticed that she changed her hair, and she appreciated how supportive I was, and how open she could be with me, or the graduate students that I make extra time for as they try to process the scariness that is our world right now.  Those things don’t count, aren’t noticed, aren’t valued.  We are also interviewing potential post-doc candidates and in the write up on why we should hire one, the chair talked about all the potential collaborations he would have with people in the department, as an urban geographer.  But he didn’t mention me, even though I was hired as the urban geographer.  I am forgotten, replaceable, not worth anything, except when I forget to put the date on something.  I know I am being whiny, and I know that this is not really how things are, but I am just angry at everyone.  I am angry that Sidney is not here.  I am angry that this is how things turned out.  And I am angry at myself.  Angry at wasted opportunities, inability to get things done, inability to get to the hospital in time to save Sidney.  I think that I am particularly angry because I am afraid what they are saying is true.   I wish that I had a small pouch of poison darts and I could just throw a dart at anyone bothering me.  It wouldn’t kill them, just momentarily stun them, and get them to leave me alone (don’t worry.  I am not actually a violent person).  I am just tired of a lot of things, and clearly also have some issues with male authority figures.

I wish I had a new picture of Sidney to post, or could talk about something he was doing, but there is nothing new, no updates on him, his achievements, personality or funny things he should be doing.  Because to be as blunt as Eli, Sidney is dead.  And yes, even though it’s been 9.5 months, my heart is still broken.


Nine months

Dearest Sidney,

Nine months.  Almost the amount of time I carried you inside of me.  And now you are gone.  There are many days that the horror of losing you almost seems like a nightmare, something that could not have happened in real life.  Yet, you are not here in my arms, crawling, laughing and playing.

Your brother turned 4 on Monday.  It was a hard day for me.  I showed him a picture from the hospital, with me and papa holding him, so he could see what he used to look like.  Then I took a walk on a path through woods near our house.  I started crying as I walked.  I will never get to show you pictures of what you used to look like.  I will never get anymore pictures of you at all.  On your birthday, perhaps the only new picture I will have to share will be of your grave.  And that will never be okay with me.

Tomorrow is Eli’s birthday party with friends from school.  We have always done his parties at our house, more like a play date style, with homemade cake and snacks.   But this year we are doing it at a MyGym, and I ordered a Paw Patrol cake.  I don’t want to have multiple families at our house all day.  I don’t want to remember Eli’s birthday last year, when you were inside of me, happily kicking.  Some of the friends hadn’t known about you, and I proudly showed off my bulging stomach, taking for granted that you would be alive and playing at Eli’s next birthday.  And now you are gone.

I started teaching again last week, my beautiful little boy.  It felt good to be in the classroom.  I mostly have new students, so no one has asked about you.  But I already canceled classes for your birthday, writing on the syllabus that students should use the free time to do something kind for themselves or others.  I know I don’t want to teach on your birthday.  I was teaching the day you died.  I don’t know what we will do.  But I  know I can’t teach.

I also had a meeting with my mentor.  It did not go as well.  He started off the conversation with, “I am very concerned about your lack of progress. You don’t seem intellectually engaged.  Have you been writing articles?”  I started crying.  I said I have not been writing (I was on emergency family leave).  But I said I have made progress.  I no longer wake up every single morning with intense physical heart ache.  I know I need to publish articles to keep my job.  But I also want to find out a way to use my time, and be the type of person that will make you proud.  And write articles for academic journals that only a few people read doesn’t quite seem right.  I have been working with kids, my beautiful Sidney, volunteering and also doing a project with some middle school children about how they feel in various public spaces, the concerns they have living in the neighborhoods in Baltimore in which they live.  And that work seems more meaningful to me, as does being back in the classroom, where I am teaching a seminar on global poverty, and a class on urban geography.  But this stuff does not matter as much to tenure committees, and especially not to my ‘mentor.’ And I don’t like that talking with him made me anxious, made me cry.  I need to figure out who I am, and who I want to be, and how to make my life have meaning now that you are gone.  And how I can write to an audience in a language that expresses what is important to me.

I miss you so much my beautiful boy.  I look at the pictures I have of you every night.  I think of you every day.  I wear my necklace that has an E and an S on it, for my two boys.

I will always love you Sidney Louis.  Not a day goes by that I don’t long for you.

Always and forever.

Your mama