The other eight months

April 16, 2009

Gal, of Growing Inside, has a beautiful post up at glow in the woods.  In that post, she writes, “I have felt pangs – my eyes have moistened – thinking about how incompatible with life Tikva’s beautiful body was.”

That’s one of the most difficult things for me to accept, that he was here, so beautiful and so nearly perfect, that so small a thing as a hole in a diaphragm could mean that all that beauty and perfection couldn’t equal life.  “His brain was perfect,” I want to yell, “And his face, fingers, toes and ears were all perfect!  He had round cheeks and baby-fuzz hair, he had a good and brave heart.  He knew his father’s voice as soon as he heard it!”  I want these things weighed and measured, taken into account, because aren’t all of these things more important than diaphragms and lungs?   Shouldn’t all of these things matter more?

Eight months ago today, I first held Teddy in my arms, stared so hard at his serious, sweet and stubborn face, trying to memorize it.  I counted his eyelashes and marveled at his barely-existent eyebrows, and prayed for a miracle I knew I wouldn’t get and wished that time would stop for us (or at least slow down, just a little).  Eight months ago today we said goodbye in spite of the fact that none of us wanted to.

I’ve gone through the monthly swelling of grief often enough now to know that it will ease after today; it will wane and fade, and though the grief will still be with me I’ll feel less like howling than I do now.  Today, though, I am overflowing with anger and sorrow and Grief Girl is at her most powerful.  Today I want to turn my back on the world and ignore all the good in it.  Eight months later, and I am still back where I was when I first lost him, broken and wailing:  I want him back, I want him back.  He was beautiful and ours, N & I loved him more than anything, and this stupid birth defect with no known cause, this birth defect that seems like nothing more than a fluke, took him away from us.

I recognize that I still want to hurt someone for what happened.  I know this wouldn’t help, wouldn’t bring my boy back, and I know it’s not good that so often the person I want to hurt is me.  I work on not hurting myself or N.  I work on recognizing my anger and trying to let go of it (Hello, Anger. How are you this fine morning? Care to go for a long walk off a short pier?).  But it’s companionable, my anger.  It’s hard to shoo away and it wants revenge on a cosmic scale.  If I could walk up to God and kick him (in this scenario, God is a him, okay?) where it hurts, I would do so.  With gusto and a steel-toed boot.

Yesterday, Mom told me about how Dad cried when he opened up the envelope I sent with our tax information, how his shoulders hunched over with sobs when he sealed up the envelope with our return in it and walked it to the mail box.  I’m sad and angry about that, too.  So much pain, not only mine, has come from this loss.  We will always be missing our oldest child, and Mom and Dad will always be missing their first grandchild.  I keep hoping that eventually, the missing and the grief will weigh less heavily on us, that while they’ll still be a part of daily life, they’ll become easier to live with.  It could happen – eight months is such a short time, compared to the rest of our lives.



  1. Oh yes, the anger. I know it well and I still don’t really feel like I have anywhere healthy to direct it.
    I am thinking of you today Erica, and wishing Teddy were here in your arms.
    I’m not sure why life had to be so cruel to us.

  2. Your words are so beautiful, and like so many others you have written, take the thoughts and emotions right out of my mouth and heart. I hear you so deeply.

  3. All such truths Erica, love to you.

  4. That was a beautiful post. I struggle with the anger too- I’ve come to realize that it just distracts me from my sadness, but that doesn’t stop it from rearing.

    So, so sad. I wish Teddy was here with you.

  5. oh, Erica…. this is heartachingly beautiful.
    I am tearing..

    holding you fiercely in my heart… and I wish I could give your dad a big hug too.

    hang in there, mama. sending you lots of love and strength. xoxo

  6. Thanks for this post. Your statement that your anger is companionable resonates strongly with me. I don’t believe in burying the “negative” emotions, we learn from them as importantly as we learn from all our emotions. They help us make sense of all this death that makes no sense. Thinking of your family and a special hug to your father—My DH does our taxes, I can’t handle it.


  7. Eight months. Wow. I remember that timeframe — 8 and 9 months as probably the worst for me. I understand the deep, deep sadness and anger. And the ache to have him back. Now, 2 and 1/2 years from our son’s death, the anger is still there, but much less heavy. I am not sure the ache ever lessens, but perhaps I’ve learned to live with it better. I also remember at that time frame that it seemed as if EVERYONE except my husband and me had completely moved on and forgotten.

    I am so sorry Teddy is not here with you. Stay close to N.

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