Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Softest hair

A photo of him sits on a magnetic board, above and to the left of my computer screen.  His hair is combed down and to the right, sweeping across his head in the same direction that mine does, naturally.  There are thousands of hairs visible on his perfectly formed head.  Hundreds that make up his eyebrows, which run adorably right into his hairline. 

The texture of Zachary's hair was so soft, so memorable to all of us.  C.T. often tries to recreate it after washing his own hair during bathtime...

Mom!  Feel right here!  Doesn't it sort of feel like Zachary's hair?

B carries Zachary's comb in his pocket every day.  I breathe in and remember my lips and nose pressed against his hair during his days of health.  During his health crisis.  On his last day. 


In that photo in front of my desk, under that beautiful head of hair, inside of his skin and skull, sits his perfectly formed brain.  The promise of full and normal neurological function for my Zachary.  I saw him using that miraculous brain thousands of times through those first nine and a half days of his life, before he was medically paralyzed (because he was fighting his sudden illness, and being intubated, too violently).   

Why, oh why, did it destroy his brain?  His body wanted to recover from the sepsis.  Started to. 

Zachary's brain injury haunts me.  Breaks me again and again.  Chokes my ability to pretend I'm okay, to carry out even the smallest task.  His fully functioning brain - destroyed by an infection. 


  1. Reading your words transported me back to when were told Paul's brain function had ceased. It makes me sick to think of it, it makes me sick to imagine you going through hearing the same diagnostic just a couple of weeks before.

    I am so sorry, Gretchen. I so wish Zachary, with his beautiful brain and his lovely hair, was with you.

    1. Thank you so much, Typhaine. The horror is always mixed in with the beauty, as you know.

  2. The horror and the beauty, yes.