A Secret

I want to tell you a secret that you aren't going to want to hear.  I am really nervous and feeling anxious (and a little dread) about the weekend for Maxie, just like I felt about the NY Marathon weekend in November.  You see, of course it is AMAZING to know that so many people support us and are giving charitably to help us memorialize our son.  It is a gift to have a venue to celebrate his life.  But, it isn't actually a happy occasion that brings us together.  The occasion is that my son is dead.  And, for that reason, it is very bittersweet and frightening to me.  It is frightening because there will be comics making jokes and people smiling at me and wanting to joke around and "catch up".  I will probably want to do the same.  You won't see (I hope) that I am dying on the inside...as I do every day.  I am scared about the idea of getting up early on Saturday, strapping on my tennis shoes and going out into a crowd of hundreds of people and merrily walking along as if this is the most normal and obvious thing to do.  That our life now is that we have to organize walkers to meet up and memorialize my son is frankly, somewhat sickening to me.  Under the circumstances, it is the most beautiful thing I can think to do - but the circumstances are in fact, sickening.  Honestly, I am playing it by ear.  The idea that we are having "to do something" to memorialize my sweet baby, because he is dead, is paralyzing to me....not entirely something that makes me feel celebratory.  Now, does this mean that I am not thrilled that you are coming to be there with us? No!  I can't wait to see you. Does it mean that I wish we weren't doing it?  Not at all.  I feel so lucky that we have such great support.  But, it does mean that I wish we didn't have a reason to do it and it does mean that it kills a piece of my soul that this is the only way I get to mother my child.  Like I said yesterday, you might see us smiling but on the inside, we are sick with sadness.  We will be happy to see you, but we wish it were under different circumstances.  We are so blessed to have so many friends and family who have contributed so generously to plant a forest in Maxie's memory, but I would burn every forest in Israel (and anywhere else) down to the ground if I thought it would bring my son back.  I am sure you know this intellectually but I know you probably hadn't really thought of it from this perspective.  It is, like everything, not what it should be.  I am still Maxie's mother and my love and devotion to him will not die just because he did.  The Abby you knew died on the day that Maxie died.  A huge part of me is with him and isn't coming back and it is painful to know that during that weekend, I will be doing my best to pretend like everything is wonderful, instead of totally broken.

My friend Jessica sent this to me yesterday and I wanted to share it here:

“Do not judge the bereaved mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.

She smiles, but her heart sobs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.

She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”

–Author Unknown


Amy said...


You have the right to play the whole weekend by ear. It's possible that some of us will be smiling and laughing at points. But we will also feel a deep, desperate sadness and pain for the loss of Max and what you and Ted have to live without.

The poem from Jessica reminds us all of what bereaved parents are on the inside and how we might support them. Thank you for posting it.


dandcsmith said...

Hi...I've been following you for about a month now and all I can say is I'm so sorry for your loss...I'm reading a book right now called Choosing to See: a journey of struggle and hope...written by Mary Beth Chapman...and a quote hit me that I thought I'd share...it's how I would feel of I lost my daughter and I think it's how you've been feeling(not that I know how your feeling but what I get from your words) I'm praying for you and your husband everyday...here's a quote from the book
"I don't even want to breathe right now all I want to do is close my eyes...and I don't want to open them again till I'm standing on the other side...I don't even want to be right now I don't want to think another thought..and I don't want to feel this pain I feel but right now pain is all I've got...Steven Curtis Chapman

Leslie K. said...


That is such an honest post, thank you! I so hope you don't feel any pressure to do/say/be anything you don't feel capable of at any time during the weekend. You're right, the reason for the benefit and walk is tragic, the worst reason in the world, even if there are moments that will feel like a celebration of Maxie's life.


Tamar said...

We will understand if it is too much to bear. You and Ted deal with what is too much to bear every single day. We should be celebrating Max with him here on earth. It's so horribly unfair that all we have is photos and memories. We love you!