Thursday, July 2, 2009


Alexander is fine. More than fine. No sign of recurrence. Absolutely no sign, still, that anyone was ever digging around in his brain for 14 hours straight. He has no deficits of any sort and does not have to return to the neuro-oncologist for another year. And thus, again, I can breathe.

It is impossible though to go into that hospital, into the childhood cancer clinic and not become immersed back in the mental world that we lived in during Joseph's last 18 months of life. A girl with no hair and her head wrapped in a scarf, seeing my longing gaze and looking at me with knowing, soulful eyes. The urge to close my eyes and touch her head because it might, it just might, for one tiny moment feel like him. How lonely my hands are for him. The child in the corner with his head in his mother's lap and her exhausted, worried face staring into the world's chaotic void. The urge as Alex tromps through there like an athlete amoung handicaps to call out "I am one of you! I am one of you too!!", all the while feeling the absurdity of that. Of course I am. We would not be there otherwise. How bizarre that I can miss that club so much, and yet shy so far away from the club that is other grieving parents. I still can only share that in measured doses.

How I can see a woman at a store with a two or three year old towhead scampering all around her shopping cart, listening to her call to him, keeping him close enough for safety but giving him enough space to satisfy his lust for independent motion and feeling a shocking well of absolute, insane jealousy mingling with the bemused tenderness as his hair flopped around with his bouncy run. He kind of looked like him. He kind of moved like him. For a moment I wished that was my cart. My groceries. My boy. I picked up my sliced ham and went home.

It is probably natural for me to feel it at this time. So many changes going on with the new house, the new engagement, Alex leaving grade school, Nick starting high school. I wish Joseph were here for it all. I miss him with an inner desperation. I have not made much time for missing him of late and I have learned the hard way, it will not be put away. The more I look away from it, the more insistent it seems to get. I probably need to just take a little time this weekend, maybe go out to his grave.

Joe gave me my engagement ring a couple of nights ago. It is perfect, brilliant, beautiful and much more ring than I ever would have expected or felt right in asking for. A beautiful nearly colorless 1 ct princess cut solitaire on white gold. I thought I wanted a round stone, but this one just suits my hand beautifully. I love the weight of it there. I love the sensation. I wake in the night and feel it with my fingertips almost subconsciously. He has incredible taste and spoils me so much. I showed the ring to Nick last night, who promptly bent over my hand and kissed it, then went back to his Gameboy. I asked him why he did that, laughing. He just smiled and said "For luck!" Thank you Baby.

1 comment:

Allegra Smith said...

I am so happy Alexander is fine, and he shall continue to be fine. I love the princess cut in your ring (mine is an Asscher cut and do love it as well) and I can only imagine how sweet a kiss for luck must be coming from such a "busy" source ;-)

As far as the triggers, I want you to know that time will not take the pain away, although I am sure you already know that. But there is a palliative nature to time that we only discover after walking through the fire for a while. Joseph is still pretty much alive in time, going to the Hospital is going to trigger each and every one of the memories and the pain, the longing and the loneliness.

But the burn will slowly become softer and the scar less sensitive and although there is always a space in the heart that nothing can fill, there is also the passage of time and the coming of that palliative sense of learning to live with the absence, to hurt a little bit less when the memories come triggered by the unexpected or even by the familiar.

The angel of despair comes calling and on his wake we have little to cling on to, but hope.
Here is to your hope, may you find the way to live with Joseph in your heart without hurt, to remember to be happy, because if the situation was reversed, isn't that what you would wished for him to do?