October 30, 2011

I am (reluctantly!) joining Angie's project, where she asks those of us who have experienced baby loss to read one of our posts. I've loved watching the others who have bravely shared -- thanks for taking the first steps. :)

October 25, 2011

I read this piece in the Milwaukee Journal last week and thought it was worth including here. The piece is written by Laura Schubert, who lost her daughter five years ago, and her words ring so achingly true. In some ways, her piece feels like a summation of all the heartache I have been writing about since Margot died. There are two sides to every lonely day, both the sorrow and joy, and she captures the sorrow part well.

Infant loss is nature's cruelest practical joke. It's investing all of the required time and effort into pregnancy, only to be robbed of the result. It's cradling a body that grew within your own and trying to reconcile the cold, lifeless form in your arms with your memory of the baby who turned double flips in your womb.

It's worrying that you'll forget what your child looked like and snapping an album's worth of photos that no one will ever ask to see. It's sobbing so hard you can't breathe and wondering if it's possible to cry yourself to death.

Infant loss is handing off a Moses basket to the nurse who's drawn the unfortunate duty of delivering your pride and joy to the morgue and walking out of a hospital with empty arms.

It's boxing up brand new baby clothes and buying a 24-inch casket. It's sifting through sympathy cards, willing your foolish body to stop lactating, clutching your baby's blanket to your chest in hopes of soothing the piercing ache in your heart.

It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.

Infant loss is explaining to your 7-year-old that sometimes babies die and being stumped into silence when she asks you why. It's watching other families live out your happy ending and fighting a fresh round of grief with every milestone you miss.

It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.

It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.

Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.

My baby girl would have been 5 years old this month. I don't know what she'd look like, what her favorite food would be. I've never had the privilege of tucking her into bed, taking her to the zoo or kissing her boo-boos. I will never watch her graduate or walk down the aisle.

Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence.

Laura Schubert, The Heartache Of Infant Loss

October 21, 2011

There was a time, a lifetime ago (early 2011), that I posted movie reviews fairly regularly on this blog. Kari and I have been walking to the theater for a strong eight years running now, a love that has only grown with each new film season. We used to joke around and say that if tragedy ever struck us, we figured it would be the movies that would heal our broken hearts. So as Oscar season approaches, we'll head back down the street to the movies, facing the irony, hoping a few good pictures might lift us up, even for a moment.

These are the twelve movies I want to see this fall in preparation for Oscar night 2012, a night which is met in this household with more vigor than we have for most major holidays.

As a side, I should mention that I have already watched Drive (twice), which was so perfectly perfect I can hardly imagine anything better, and Moneyball, an incredible adaption of the stunning book I read in 2009. So here are the rest, and PLEASE let me know if I am missing something.

We Need To Talk About Kevin: Tilda Swinton alone is almost enough to get me into this movie. Adding John C Reilly to the mix is like icing on the cake.

Hugo: A Martin Scorcese film in 3D? I'm in.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: The preview for this film practically gave me goose bumps. Gary Oldman looks freaky good.

The Descendants: One, George Clooney is in it. And this guy always seems to pick films I love. And two, it's directed by Alexander Payne, the famed director of Sideways and Election.

War Horse: Okay, so the story of a man and his horse doesn't exactly pull me in. But Steven Spielberg directing and Richard Curtis writing (he wrote Love Actually) means this could be a nice epic little film.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Finally! The book, by Jonathon Safron Foer, is one of my all time favorites. I have been hearing about this movie for years and it's finally here. What gives me hope for this film is director Stephan Daldry (The Hours). What scares me is Sandra Bullock.

We Bought A Zoo: I'll admit, the only reason I want to see this movie is because Cameron Crowe is directing. I just hope the Cameron Crowe from Jerry McGuire shows up, and not the Cameron Crowe from Elizabethtown. And if Sandra Bullock scares me as an actress, then Scarlett Johansson is like a terrible nightmare. We'll see on this one.

The Ides of March: One, Ryan Gosling is in this film. Two, George Clooney is directing. Three, George Clooney is writing. [Clooney also wrote and directed Good Night and Good Luck, a film I still think about six years later). Four, Paul Giamatti. FIVE, Philip Seymore Hoffman. That's four more reasons than I needed.

The Rum Diary: Johnny Depp and rum and Hunter Thompson seem like a nice concoction.

Young Adult: I honestly don't know how director Jason Reitman has done it. His first three directed films have all been insanely good. He followed up the brilliant Thank-You For Smoking with JUNO. And after Juno, he directed Up In the Air. Can he really pull off a fourth straight great film? I hope so.

A Dangerous Method: A movie about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud? Directed by David Cronenberg? With Viggo Mortenson playing Freud? I'm in.

J. Edgar: L. Dicaprio

October 18, 2011

It’s quiet around here. Unbearably quiet. The silence is getting louder as the months trudge on.

I can practically hear Margot, her hands clapping together in wildly uncoordinated fashion, throwing small objects, yelling here and there. I can almost see her too. She is crawling around the dining table, under and through the chairs, she is pulling her big sister’s hair. She is sitting at her high chair, scooping mashed bananas and scattering cheerios to the four corners without even trying. She is outside, the last of the non-walkers left in the yard, eating grass and dodging kids.

Her car seat faces backwards. Stella pulls at her hand from across the seats and updates us on all her silly faces and unseen gestures. She is there at the beach, in the park, down the street, up the stairs.

She is in my arms, in the middle of every night, gulping down milk and making little faces, just like her sister did. I sing to her, yawning between each little rhyme.

I love you Margot, yes I do,
I love you through and through,
every part of you.
I love you Margot, yes it’s true.
I love you Margot, oh I do.

I can feel the emptiness on little vacations and around meal time and on little jaunts around the neighborhood. I feel it in the happiness of others. I feel it in my own happiness. And I feel it at nighttime, when there is nothing to do but wait for the morning.

Stella is here. Kari is here. I am here. We are here. But our noise isn't enough to overcome the silence of her absence.

She is everywhere and no where to be found.

October 16, 2011

We drove to Wrightwood this morning, an hour into the mountains behind our city, and ate some food and played in the park and browsed a little bookstore and hiked around Jackson Lake. It was a really nice day.

October 10, 2011

The two of us spent some time in South Pas on Saturday, roaming the streets, taking pictures together and of each other. She only smiles for me if I will smile for her (she's slowly perfecting her bargaining skills). She has nearly mastered the iPhone as well. Little tech savvy trickster.

October 6, 2011

The ride on the Metro is familiar now.

"CAVE DADDY!" she says with no less enthusiasm as the ride before, as we enter the first tunnel under Old Town. "HOLD YOUR BREATH!" I hold my breath, she makes awkward faces and little noises in her sincere but failed effort.

At the Memorial Park stop, she yells, "PRETEND CHOO CHOO TRAIN UP THERE!"

At Del Mar she talks about the fountain and somehow, without my prodding, about Santa Clause, who she believes she saw in December of last year. "I see Santa Clause. Big beard! Do you remember Dad? I miss Santa." This girl's memory is something profound, or perhaps completely normal, as this is my first go at living with a two and a half year old.

Before the Mission stop appears, she says matter of factly, "our stop," and then promptly gets ready to disembark.

Normally it's just the two of us, but this past Friday Grandma Gwen came along for the ride.


October 3, 2011

I'm writing for Glow In the Woods today. Feel free to stop by Glow and read my post, ESCAPE!, and join the discussion.