Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorrow and Anger

Well. It’s been a while. I had some stuff happen in my personal life that scared me off blogging for a bit (and I may at some point change my blog from public to private because of some of it), and after that I got really, really busy (more on that later). Some of the stuff I won’t get into here, some I will:

I met my friend eas through, of all things, a wedding planning website years & years ago. I attended her wedding and met her husband, and we’ve visited a few times over the years. She is a beautiful person who is wry, determined, practical, sensitive, and great to hang out with over margaritas. Her husband is a stand-up guy who is sweet, funny as hell, respectful and kind. Just about a month ago the worst thing that could happen, happened to them. Eas was 20 weeks pregnant and went into premature labor. Their son, Gabriel Ross, was born alive and died in their arms.

Many of our friends have written their support, and I have lagged behind. Every time I sit to try to write, my chest gets tight and tears start to well up in my eyes. I can’t write what is in my heart because it just seems so selfish and inappropriate. You see, this is how my little sister Emily died. All these years, all the childhood therapy and it just comes flooding back like it happened yesterday.

It wasn’t exactly the same, but I won’t go into too many details, for the sake of eas’ and my family’s privacy. Emily had hair. Hair! Thick, black hair, like mine. She looked like me. The picture of the sister I named but never got to meet is seared in my retinas. Her head was still conical from the birth. Some say it was a blessing – upon necropsy (they don’t call it autopsy on a stillbirth), they found that she had a hole in her heart that would have made her life difficult if not short. My parents told me we couldn’t have the remains, the hospital wouldn’t let us have them. Instead we planted a poplar tree in our back yard. The tree is still there, so tall and strong, like she never got to be.

And when I think of eas, this is all I can think of. So I waited to write. Got advice from a friend. Because this is her time of mourning, not mine. This is not about me. But it is something I have to get out of my system, something I need to talk about. I’ve been afraid of what to say to eas out of worry of imposing my feelings into the situation; I worry that my cautiousness has made me seem distant.

And I’m mad. As a sister, I’m sure that my pain does not compare to that of a mother losing her child. But I know the pain that I feel, and I’m mad that my friends have to feel the pain that my parents did. I’m mad that we as a species know so little about pregnancy and childbirth, and that we do so fucking little to expand our knowledge. I’m filled with rage at the completely inhuman way my friend was treated by the hospital staff when she was in the biggest crisis of her life, which was similar to the way my parents were treated. I’m mad that a quarter of a century later my parents still can’t bring themselves to talk about what happened in more than fragments, that I had to tell my little brother that he had not one, but two older sisters, that my mom could say nothing more but to confirm it. I’m mad that I still don’t tell people that I had two younger siblings, when they know only one is alive, because I don’t want to have to go into details. Only my husband knows everything about her life that I do. And I want to pour all this energy and love into eas, but I want to give her the space to mourn, too, without being burdened by my baggage. Because I love her and I want her to make it through this dark night and I know that she can because she is strong. So maybe I’ll just pray that Emily and Gabriel can find each other and play together and be at peace, wherever they are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hugs. My heart breaks for these tiny babies and those whom they've left behind.

Thinking of you and your sweet little sister Emily today.