Hey buddy. I miss you something fierce.
Did you know that we were second guessing your name the night before you died? We stood in the kitchen with our housemates and laughed and drank wine and talked about calling you Vivian. It’s funny to think about now, too, because you were Margot from the very start. Your Mama picked your middle name and as soon as she said June, I was in. I told her it was perfect because I could call you MJ, and she said that June was out if I was going to call you MJ. For the rest of the pregnancy, as you were growing limbs and developing lungs, I would call you MJ just to give her a hard time. She always kind of laughed and kind of gave me that certain beautiful eye, like she’s gonna kick my ass if I ever utter MJ after you were born.
You weren’t named after anyone in particular, but we did get your name from our favorite movie, The Royal Tenenbaums. Margot in the movie is a depressed chain smoker, living a complicated adopted life in the middle of a complex family. I secretly hoped there wouldn’t be any irony in this one day.
Did you know that being a dad is my favorite thing in the world? I knew it long before your sister was even born. I felt it on a ferry in Norway and wrote it down on a piece of paper, alongside one other little tidbit.
WHAT I REALLY CARE ABOUT IN LIFE:
I’m still trying to figure out how to be a parent to you. And I’m so sad I couldn’t parent you in the flesh.
I think your big sister, if she knew what she was missing, would probably miss you as much as we do. I wonder if she’ll grieve this one day later, when she understands death and sisterhood. Perhaps she’ll have another little sister or brother, and it will make the grief lighter. It’s hard to say what she’ll take from all of this one day. I wonder if these will be her first solid memories. Your Mom in the hospital, all swollen with tubes coming in this way and out that way. Our daily sobs and blank faces over the reality of your death and our new life filled with sorrow. I hope she can see the gifts you’ve given us, even though I don’t even know what those gifts are yet. I hope she will be better equipped to face a complicated world, where death and life go hand in hand.
Some days I wish you could have talked to me for a few minutes before you died. And I don’t mean little infant sounds. I mean a real conversation that takes place a few minutes before we both know you’re going to die. I hear stories of folks talking with their loved ones on death beds and get a little envious. These people talk about how their loved ones told them to be happy in life, to move on, or whatever little gushy and beautiful thing they said just before dying. I wish we could have this kind of moment. It would have been nice to hear you say that everything was going to be okay. Or that you were content with your pending death, or that you wanted us to be happy, or that we will see the light again one day. Things like that.
Sometimes I just tell myself that Margot would have wanted me to be happy. It gives me a little hope amid the darkness. I hope you’re okay with that.