Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last happy New Years Eve

On this day two years ago, we were celebrating your nana's birthday with pizza and family. 

Twenty-two days later, after you lived your entire life and left us throbbing in brokenness, I sat in a department store dressing room, staring blankly at a selection of funeral dresses and layette sets for the display of your body in the casket. 

I still cannot reconcile the before and the after, what happened to you in between those days. 

In between the New Years Eve birthday celebration and the dressing room scene, I lived a whole other life with you.  I think it must have been the most important and meaningful living I've ever done.  And now, it's over and done.

I hope you knew and felt my love, Zachary.  It means everything to me. 

This day will forever punctuate the beginning of so much fear, then pure joy and elation at your birth and health, and finally, a reprehensible series of errors that robbed you of your entire future.  I'm so sorry. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas without you

Last week, I sat shoulder to shoulder beside a mother whose arms were full of curly haired two year old.  The audience had been asked to squeeze in closer together to accommodate more show goers to the school's winter music performance, and somehow I got lodged between her and your dad.  She tried to make small talk with me and, well,... even the most surface chit-chat quickly leads to you, my love.   

My stomach churned to be forced to casually answer the dreaded question aloud, to lump you in with the dead, with your brother B.W.  It is still so wholly absurd, so wrong, that you are not here with us.   

The woman's toddler son bounced in her lap, his excitement bubbling over, when one of his sisters took the stage.  His mother shushed him gently as he pointed and called out her name.  The little boy seemed to be in awe of his sister while his mother beamed with pride.    

We ought to have had moments like that one, Zachary.   

It is our second Christmas since you died, and it is still so disorienting. 

Familiar holiday traditions, the excitement with which we used to approach them, seems to have been shattered right along with your perfect little body, almost two years ago.  Again, I could not bring myself to pull out the old artificial Christmas tree, the lights, the collection of ornaments, the myriad decorations, the playlist of Christmas music - all of the things that used to mean something to us.  Again, I couldn't bear to resurrect the tree in memory of your brother, or even any of his old ornaments; the implication that we add another memorial tree for you, our other dead son.  All of the old accoutrements to Christmas just feel like a sham, like they belong to another family, not ours.  

Participating in the "Christmas spirit" (not to be confused with celebrating the actual meaning and spirit of the historical first Christmas) feels foreign to me now.  I don't recognize it.  I don't understand it.  But, for C.T.'s sake, because he is still influenced by the stuff of Christmas, and by the enthusiasm of his friends and classmates around the holiday, we did buy a small live tree this year.  We delayed and delayed until a little over a week ago when the pickings were slim, so it is truly a sad, needle-dropping, specimen.  The tree is decorated mostly with handmade/hand-painted ornaments in your memory, a few new ones in memory of B.W. and of course, some crafty ornaments made by C.T.  This seems to be the only way I can tolerate a Christmas tree, something remotely festive, in our home. 

Christmas would be so different if you were here, Zachary.  I look at photos of C.T. on his second Christmas, when he was almost two years old, and I'm desperate to know, to concoct, to connect your 14-day life with, who you would have been on this day, in 2015.  

Like a fool, I keep wondering, pining. 

I love you and miss you.  On Christmas.  Every day. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Doing" the holidays

Stay away from me
with your twinkling lights
your jingle bells
your festive decorations.
Tone down your
giddy anticipation that
has virtually nothing to do with
marking the birth of Jesus,
and more to do with a couple days
off of work, the loop of carols
you can't stop humming,
how irresistibly cheerful the house looks
sprinkled with red and green. 

It is certainly not
the most wonderful time of the year. 

Doesn't my once healthy son
writhing in pain,
treated unforgivably late,
bruised - to death - from the inside out,
make any difference?
How can the same old
holiday rituals make sense
ever again?

I can never go back.
I don't know what to do with Christmas.          

He would be twenty-three months old today.
In one month, we would be
celebrating his second birthday.
I should be planning my boy's 
birthday party.