Thursday, February 18, 2010


On Sunday morning, the sun streamed into my parents' dining room. There were banana pancakes on the table, with warm maple syrup and butter. The children's laughter floated over the table and steam rose from the coffee. We exchanged valentine cards, and my newly literate son read the rude card my father had given to my mother. We all howled with laughter, more at his delight at having discovered something inappropriate than at the content of the card. Warmth prevailed.

Somewhere, across the country, a baby was born, and no cry split the air.

This happens, we know, all the time. But this time it happened to somebody I know, a dear, dear old friend. I knew him as a young man full of so much sprite, so much love and expectation. He had energy to spare and an aura of anticipation and devotion. He was a good friend, a dear friend at the time, and my greatest gratitude goes to him for setting me up with my dear Greg, and being our relationship's greatest fan when it was in its dawning phase.

And now, I see his face, no longer 22, I see his smile in my minds eye, and I see it wrenched around, twisted in agony, as his son was born lifeless into his arms. And I float back, I float back...

and suddenly I am there again, in that fog of pain and disbelief, because I am a mother, right? I was having a baby, wasn't I? And I think that there is a car seat in my car and some little onesies folded up in the nursery drawer, that's right, I have a nursery at my house... but my baby is gone. As if I'd always known it was too good to be true. I feel that knife in my heart as they took her from me, as I watched her leave me, and I knew, I knew, I would never see her again. I see the blood and the milk on the bathroom floor, and I see the swollen face in front of me in the mirror. I feel the sheet soaked beneath my face. I taste warm milk and soggy Cheerios because I am too bereft to eat my breakfast. I am in the bathroom and I need help in here because my pain has left me physically helpless, I can't even manoeuver myself through my daily chores and it's not from the pain of the birth, I now know, it's the pain, the pain, the unbelievable pain of having lost what might as well have been the only person I've ever truly loved. In that way, at least, in that way.

I am there, discovering love, discovering what it means to really love, and then she is gone, leaving my head echoing with the blank space of what to do, what to do, what to do.

And why, why WHY does it have to keep happening again, and again, and AGAIN?

It just isn't fair. It isn't fair to me, or to you, or to him, and his wife. These sweet, soft, joyful, loving people who wanted nothing more than a son to take home and love.



Cristin said...

your words are so true. so beautifully heartbreakingly true.

Hennifer said...

my dearest condolences... so unfair indeed!

Erika P said...

I'm so sorry, Carol, for your friend's loss and for the way it thrusts you right back to Charlotte's birth.

Yes, it's completely unfair that it keeps happening. Beautifully written but so sad...I need to go find some tissues now...


Lara said...

I know I know. I just finished sending a long email to a women who was on the kukd blog who just gave birth her still born daughter. Wow it brings you back and makes you celebrate your living children every moment!

I imagine though so painful you will be solace to your friends along their grief.

much love,

Cara said...

I know. I have come to a place that I actually look for it. I read the obits with my coffee. I feel like I am looking at a scary movie with my fingers slitted before my eyes praying, "don't let there be one today. please" But there often is. And then, I do my job. Because if it going to happen there has to be someone there to support.

So sorry for your friend, for you and for all of us that have been changed forever by this.

Beth said...

so sorry.. :(