I have been hearing that some people feel my blog has become too dark.  That I sound too depressed, too sad.  They want me to stop my fall before I go too deep.  Pull myself up by my bootstraps.  Move forward for the sake of everyone else.  But, here is the thing about MY blog, YOU can stop reading it whenever you want. There are a few people that I have encountered who have experienced a similar loss or know someone who has.  Those people have written to tell me that they know this phase I am in.  They remember it, in some cases, even if the event was long ago, still experience the phase for a day or two around anniversaries, birthdays, Yarzheits, and other unexpected moments.  Grief is a process, people.  There are stages that people go through.  I am in a particularly dark one.  I hope to come out on the other side but I don't know if that will be in a couple of months or a couple of years.  I don't want to be here anymore than you want me to be here...but again, I JUST GOT HERE!  Just over five weeks ago, I was with Max, loving him, bathing him, singing to him, feeding him, playing with him.  When you get over the death of your child in five weeks, let me know how you did it.
Last night Ted and I received the bill from the PICU for Max's stay.  $126, 215.  The number is staggering.  My father, an ERISA lawyer has assured me that it was not a bill stating what we owed.  It was just a bill stating the costs of everything.  $126,000 to NOT save my baby's life.  To NOT know what happened to him.  Now does someone want to explain to me again why they don't believe in the idea of universal healthcare?  (I don't really want to have a political debate with you.....by the way!)  Seeing that number took Ted and my collective breaths away.  Ted actually looked at me and asked, "Why are we being tested in this way?" and then under his breath "I would give my right arm...."  I couldn't hear the rest.  It was Ted now asking a question that I have been asking myself.  What is the lesson in all of this?
Speaking of right arms, dark places, and handling grief......Ted is dealing with the grief in his own way and it is a day by day process.  Last weekend, we went to Studio City Tattoo and Ted had Maxie's name and birthdate engraved on his right forearm for good.  We talked about it beforehand.  I reminded him that older Jewish people would approach him and tell him how terrible it was that he would get a tattoo and that he wouldn't be able to buried in a Jewish Cemetery (Bullshit, by the way, and there are MANY interpretations of Tattoos in the Jewish tradition: Skin Deep - Hey, Mom, the Rabbi Approved My Tattoo - NYTimes.com).  That strangers would always ask him who Maxie is.  He doesn't care. He wants them to.  (As a side note, I bet it would be a refreshing change of pace from all of the people who DO NOT ask us about Maxie).  I love the tattoo.  It is intense.  It cannot be ignored.  And, it is my son's name.  The most perfect name we could think of for our perfect child.  It isn't just some "STAAM" (Israelis...help me out...there is no English equivalent of this word) or meaningless tattoo of his fraternity letters or a panther or some made up sanskrit lettering meaning "I am a chump".  It is our heart, as Maxie IS our heart.  I will say this though, I caught a glimpse of us on Saturday night and thought for several moments how sad it is who we have become in such a short time.  A grieving father with a new tattoo and beard.  A hopeless mother with no makeup, no smile.  We looked hard.  Only Max has ever unleashed emotions this deep in either of us - the most intense of loves, the most painful sorrow.  Maxie is right next to Ted all of the time now in the only way possible for us.  Ted will be asked about Maxie for the rest of his life and he will tell the story of his little right hand man.  The little boy that was supposed to be sitting on the couch next him, rooting for the Giants with Daddy.

1 comment

Rebecca said...

One thing I have learned is that you can't be selfish in grief. I say that sarcastically. Heck, I even wrote an entire blog entry about it. A lot of people feel uncomfortable with anger and sadness. We live in a culture that respects the strong, silent types. Look at people who are dying of some horrible illness. It will be said about them, "Oh, they're in so much pain...but they NEVER complain! Isn't that something?" And secretly, they respect that.

Well, I say hell, they're in pain and they're dying. Let them complain! You've probably already figured out by now that you spend a lot of your time making others feel comfortable in regards to your own emotions. That can be just as tiring as dealing with your grief.

My husband and I have lost most of our friends since losing our son. People said that we were too negative and too angry. (A week after losing our son my dad had a heart attack, a week after that my mother-in-law died of cancer, a few weeks after that my mom had a stroke, and a month after that our two puppies were poisoned. My husband lost his full time job due to the depression that came from his grief. Darn right we're not as sunshine and roses these days.)

I use my blog to write about my feelings. Sometimes, those feelings aren't very nice. But hey, they don't have to read it.