August 25, 2011

If Margot Could Talk

Letter #23


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.


My kids.

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.



Molly said...

"Some days I wish you could have talked to me for a few minutes before you died."

That is a thought/wish I never considered, but when I read it, it made me cry instantly wishing it had been possible.

Mrs. G said...

"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."

I love that you "hope she's okay with that." almost as if asking Margot's permission to feel that way. Though people often attribute wishes or feelings to our children, it doesn't bother me that you did that. Maybe because you know this life, and others do not. You are her father, though you didn't get to know her in the traditional sense, you know she is the perfect combination of you and her mother. And who do you know better than yourself and your soulmate? So you are entitled to believe that your daughter would want you to be happy. You would have raised her to feel that way anyhow. Much love and peace to you, K, Stella and Margot.

Missy said...

I too wish I could have had a conversation with him. Maybe that is why I talk to him so much inside my head. Just so I can tell him the things that I would have if he were here today. I admit I used to feel crazy saying that I do that, but now I feel sad because I don't do it near as often as I used to. Thank you for sharing your words with Margot. Love and strength~

Hope's Mama said...

This was beautiful. Moved to tears.
I'm so sorry, Josh.

Unknown said...

Thank you Josh, for being so open. Well written, beautiful sentiments.

Fireflyforever said...

What a beautiful letter to your baby girl, Josh. "I miss you something fierce" - what a perfect expression. That's exactly how I missed Emma in the early days (and still do, albeit more gently mostly) - fiercely.

JoyAndSorrow said...

She WOULD want you to be happy. *hugs* ~Lindsay

still life angie said...

I just have to tell you, finally coming back after reading this in the car during hurricane preparations, then losing internet intermittently all weekend, this post is one of the most gorgeous pieces of writing I have read. I sighed loudly, leaned back and just cried. And I needed the cry. Thank you.

Much love.
(I love the Royal Tennenbaums too.)

Mary Beth said...

I love this. One conversation, so simple yet wouldn't it have been perfect? Margot does want you to be happy. Missing that sweet little girl with you.

Fiona Leonard said...

Saw your note on Chris Guillebeau's blog. 1 Sept is always a poignant day for me as was the day my girlfriend's nine month old son died. I held him the night before then had to fly back home to my daughter. I had to pick up my daughter from school and I got out of the car and held her so tightly. On the way home we got the call. Life is short and all babies are special, right now, today. Not tomorrow. I love it that there is still a space in every day for Margot. Sometimes people don't need a lifetime to change our lives - nine months is enough.

Anonymous said...

Hello Josh.. just coming over to read your story form another blog. My heart aches for you and your family.. for the loss and the love of sweet Margot.
Life has certainly been altered since the stillbirth of our fourth child, Cullen, and the shitstorm called secondary infertility (on top of a sad medical diagnosis) that has also come into being since his life and death.
Wishing you peace as you continue your travels.. it is a such a winding path that we walk.

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