I have been missing Sidney more intensely these past few days. He should be here. He should be toddling around, playing with his brothers. He should be more visible, so that people stop asking Eli what it is like to be a brother, because it will be so obvious that he already was a brother. Wednesday night was the start of the Jewish new year, the year 5778. Because we go by the Jewish calendar, it always falls on slightly different dates. Rosh Hashana two years ago, I remember sitting around and talking to friends, unaware that Sidney was already growing inside of me, but desperately wanting to be pregnant. Rosh Hashana, one year ago, still in the raw early days of trauma and grief. I went to temple, in a fog, unable to make eye contact with most people, terrified to have to interact. Sitting in services, the rabbi pauses to read the names of all the babies born into the community. He gets to the last names starting with ‘T’. No mention of Sidney. Skips over him. Even though he cried with us at the hospital. Even though he presided over the funeral. Even though he sat with us in those early moments of desperate raw grief and shock. Later in the afternoon, went to do tashlich, where you say you are sorry and throw your ‘sins’ in the form of bread into the water as you reflect on the changes you want to make in the new year. Desperately sobbing for allowing Sidney to die, for not knowing he needed me, for not being able to save him. And now it is Rosh Hashana again. I sit in temple this year and everyone smiles and asks about Silas. I stand in the back, wearing him in the moby, and rock when he gets fussy, the singing and prayers lulling him back to sleep. This time when the rabbi reads the list of babies born in the last year, he includes Silas, acknowledged and welcomed into the community. At dinner for Rosh Hashanah, talking about Silas’ birth, I mention that he came out after 1.5 pushes, and she says, yes, but that’s because it is your second. He’s actually my third, I think. And you know that. You met me for the first time just a week before Sidney died and was born. How quickly people forget (or pretend to forget), now that Silas is here. It’s assumed that I am fine. That I am happy. And in some ways, I am happy. I love Silas so completely. But I mourn for Sidney. The other day, my husband pointed out that if Sidney had lived, he would have had some time with my mother in law. Silas won’t. She knew about him, but she died before he was born. For over a year, I went to the cemetery to visit Sidney every week–I think I literally only missed once or twice. But lately, I have been missing more weeks, struggling to find the time, as I juggle parenting Eli and Silas, and trying to work at night, once they are sleeping. My little Sidney. I am sorry. I miss you. I don’t want to move on from you, to be pushed forward by life. I need you. And I can’t have you.
I don’t know what I will do for child care with Silas when I go back to work full time. Eli’s nanny has been with us for over 3 years now. But she is not sure she wants to work full time again (she is only in the afternoons now). And I did not enroll Silas in the daycare at Eli’s school because I couldn’t future plan. They only have one day available right now, not sure if that will change before January. There is a waitlist there anyway, but the director seemed to think she might be able to work something out. So many moving parts. Eli is pre-K this year. It is the only year that he and Silas can be at the school together. Sidney would have had two years. Sending Silas to a different day care seems like a big deal. I want them to see each other on the playground, at shabbat. I want lots of things that can’t happen. We had friends over for Rosh Hashana dinner last night. There were 7 children under age 5. Eli was the oldest, Silas was the youngest. There should have been eight. Missing. Sidney will always be missing. And my heart will always be broken. Even when it is filled with love for Eli and Silas. Even when I can recognize the positive in my life. The missing doesn’t go away.