August 2, 2011

Oh, my Teddy.

She’s so alive, your sister. So alive and fast and loud and vigorous and thoughtful and funny and here. She grabs every bit of attention in a room for her own, claims us with clutching hands and smiles and, more and more, words.

She spent the weekend running in and out of the wading pool in the yard, saying “Splashing, splashing, splashing” as she splashed away. Today in the car, she said “Hat. Frog,” and then put her hat on her toy frog. I know I’m besotted, but I’m afraid she’s awfully clever, Teddy. I worry sometimes about whether or not we’ll be able to keep up with her clever little brain.

She runs, all the time, and she yells when she runs, which is something of a blessing because it makes it easier to chase her without making wrong turns.

She still wears your Cubs hat. It’s so small that it nearly pops off her head, but your daddy can’t help but to keep putting it on.

It’s August, darling boy. It’s August, and I don’t know how I can be so grateful and so angry all at the same time.

You should be here.

You should be here, damn it.

You should fucking be here fucking, fucking damn it.

Well, I think August will help me progress in my use of profanity.

I cannot let you go, it seems. Do you want me to? I hope not. I hope you stay close, sometimes, even though I cannot feel you around. I like to think of Dot being alone and bored some August afternoon years from now, like to think of her wishing for someone to talk to about the ladybug she found in the flower bed, and then hearing a voice – your voice – saying, “I like ladybugs, too” (though I expect you’d say something much more meaningful and clever, really). And then, out of the ether, out of nowhere, out from behind the wind, you will take her hand and she will take yours, and you’ll spend the summer afternoons together. And maybe I would hear her laughing as I washed dishes or put together dinner and somehow I’d just know your laughter was mixed up in hers. I’d like that.

But that is my daydreaming, my fantasizing mind. It keeps trying to find ways to hold onto you.

It keeps stumbling over the fact of your death. Your death is an awfully big thing for your poor mother’s mind to get around, little huckleberry. My mind isn’t big enough, or strong enough, or clever enough. My mind, like the rest of me, just wants you back.

I am grateful for every screech, shriek, splash, yell, giggle, snore, and word that your sister makes. Fiercely grateful, fearfully grateful. But it’s so strange – isn’t it? – that it comes so easily to her, this being alive business.  It looks so easy and natural, and even while I revel in that, I can’t help but to think of how hard it was for you for even those few hours. I hate that it was so hard for you to be alive.

In August, I feel so far from acceptance. How could it have been so hard for you? How can you be gone? Why can’t you come back? Why can’t I find you and bring you back?

Three years ago we were in Portland, finally close to the hospital we thought would give you the best chance, finally allowing ourselves to focus on hope. Sometimes I wonder if I got stuck there somehow, stuck hoping for you. I’m too stubborn for my own good, and maybe my stubbornness turned into the kind of hubris that can’t recognize death.

Or, maybe, it’s just August again. August, when the memories are so thick it’s hard to see through them.



  1. Oh Erica … August feels like such a heavy month. Although October is my heart wrenching, sad and beautiful month, so many of the mamas, whose blogs I read, and who I care about in this little corner of the internet, lost their babies in August: you, Sally and Catherine. I am holding you all, and Teddy and Hope and Georgina close in my thoughts …

    “My mind isn’t big enough, or strong enough, or clever enough. My mind, like the rest of me, just wants you back.” Always, always but it’s much heavier around their birthdays.

  2. God, this is gorgeous. Pure, utter gorgeousness. Bringing me tears, and nodding, and feeling right there with you. It is so hard. Abiding in August with you. Remembering your little huckleberry.

  3. Memories so thick it’s hard to see through them…yes yes, that’s how July is for me.
    I’m wishing you peace this August. x

  4. Oh. Fuck. There I go as well. This post needed to come with a warning. A specific August warning. Damn you August, you get me every time.
    Holding Teddy so close to my heart this August, as I do every August and as I do with so many other August 2008 babies. There were an awful lot of them who got away from us in that dreaded month.
    *Stamps feet. Shakes fists. Demands universe brings them back*

  5. I read this last night and couldn’t think of anything to say. I just sat there in front of my computer and cried.

    August is upping my swear quotient too. Because if there is ever a time, ever a topic, worthy of it, here it is.

    I hate that it was so hard for you to be alive. Oh that sentence, sent a shiver of recognition running through me. I am so very sorry it was so hard for your boy. It is hard to believe that which comes so easily, to so many, should be so bloody hard. And even harder to watch.

    Remembering your son, Teddy.
    He should be here, I wish he were xo

    • “I hate that it was so hard for you to be alive.”
      I hate that too.

      Thinking of you and Teddy in the full, weightiness of August.

    • And even harder to watch.
      Actually, I’m wrong. That was just a trite turn of phrase. And it’s bothers me that I’ve written it and now I can’t edit my comment. But, for the record, I’m wrong.

      • Oh, Catherine.

        I know what you meant, & I’m grateful for both comments. And you may have been right – I hope so, anyway. The not knowing is hard, too. There are still nights when I lie awake & hope the morphine was as effective as I wanted it to be.


  6. This was a gorgeous post. Anniversaries are so, so heavy. Thinking of you all on these grief-filled days.

  7. I hear you…missing your baby and seeing the sibling say everything you hoped from the other baby too.

    Many hugs.

    Here from CDLC.

  8. Wow…this hurt. But in such a good way because of the way you write and share your story. It really brings to reality the point that no matter what happens or much time has gone by, the pain continues to hurt and sting. There is always someone missing… Thank you for sharing Teddy with us. Sending love.

    Here from CDLC.

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