August 5, 2009

August.  I’ve had a couple of days to accept that fact that it’s really here, this month of hope, loss, and disbelief.  And I thought about struggling.  For a while I thought about it.  But for now I’ve decided to let the month have it’s way with me, as though I’m some to-be-ravaged heroine in an old romance novel.  I realize that this is indulgent wallowing, but I also remember hearing that, if caught in a current, your best chance of survival may be to swim with the current, and I cling to the metaphor of that.

It drapes me like a leaden blanket, each thread weighing me down.  The leaves shiver in warm summer breezes and people walk by, laughing, in shorts and sandals, but I don’t move at all.  On days like this I’m burdened to stillness, caught in inertia like a terrified rabbit, afraid that if I move, It will see me.

But I can’t escape from August, or from the person I am in August.  I’m already caught.  I move through these days, slowly, as I must, but I keep moving.  One foot in front of the other, one word following another on the page.  I cry more often.  I see his face when I close my eyes, his sweet and stubborn expression, and I wonder if he was just hanging on so that we could say goodbye, if that’s what the stubbornness was all about.  I remember the heft and small heaviness of him in my arms, the way he fit there so perfectly, as though my arms were his home and his safe place.  He wore nothing but a diaper and a blue blanket sprinkled with white stars.

I love that blanket.  It’s the only thing I have that has any baby smell on it at all, and I love that some kind-hearted nurse picked it out for him and chose exactly right.

The enormity of loss caused by the lack of a little lung tissue still seems horrifyingly unfair – such a small-seeming thing to go wrong and such a total loss.

Teddy, know that, wherever you are, you are loved fiercely and desperately.  I’d snatch you back, if I could, if there was any way.  I’d walk the world in iron shoes until the soles wore out.  I’d steal dragon-guarded apples, give up my voice, cut off my hands, if there was any possibility that any of this would lead me to you.

I wear these memories and thoughts like jewelry, like leg irons, like a heavy wool overcoat, like layers of rust and snow.  They’re more solid every day now.  And part of me welcomes this; the tangibility of grief and memory that has slipped away so much over the past few months has come back.  Part of me positively craves it and revels in it.  I can still feel him, see him.  If I close my eyes I can almost smell him.  His cheek was so damned soft.

The tears have come back, too, like a slow tide.  I give myself permission to cry again – out of nowhere crying, silent tears in the dark crying, howling like a wounded animal crying.  I want the world to stop, or at least to slow down so that I can huddle with my memories and my crying and howl until I’m spent, drained, and tearless. Until I’m strong enough to take long strides again, to walk briskly – and if not fearlessly then with a good semblance of fearlessness – back into my life again.

But the world doesn’t slow down just because I have.  In a few more weeks, I imagine I’ll agree that this is a good thing.



  1. Swimming with the current with you, Erica. Beautiful. You captured my thoughts on the month better than I ever could. In a way, I am glad it is winter here. More reason to stay inside and away from all that is going on in the world.
    Holding you and Teddy close through these days.

  2. I can’t slow down the world for you, but I can find a space, a pause in my life here to think of your sweet boy, to hold Teddy in this world in thought. I suppose memori is not right to say, but I hold him and you in my heart in this especially heavy month.

  3. I can too Erica. If I close my eyes I can remember my son very clearly. The smell of him, the touch of him. It’s just there … but just beyond my reach. I’ll be thinking of you and Teddy.

  4. August.
    Thank you for sharing about Teddy, I love your description of his stubborn expression. I thought that my girl had the same look to her, a look of determination.
    It is unfair. That the lack of something so small as a little bit of tissue, should lead to such consequences. Not fair at all.
    I wish that there was a bit of truth in the fairy tales. That we could fulfil three seemingly impossible tasks and snatch them back. I’m sure we would all try.
    I wish the world would stop or at least slow down. Just for a month. xo

  5. Thinking of you and Teddy. These anniversaries are so very hard. This was an absolutely beautifully written post.

  6. Oh Erica, what a breathtakingly beautiful post. I am quite, quite sure that Teddy knows how fiercely and completely he is loved.

  7. the world won’t slow down, but we can, and we can remember Teddy, bobbing in the current with you.


  8. oh, Erica…. so heartbreakingly beautiful.
    I am wrapping you and Teddy up in fierce love in my heart. xoxo

  9. I am sorry that August has come. Swim with the current, Erica. That is all you can do.

    You and Teddy are in my thoughts…

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