Every year I come to this space on this day, trying to capture the moment of grief and memory and harness it into coherent words.
I think that as the years go by (4 now, if you can believe it), there’s one thing I haven’t managed to truly capture.
It’s lonely here.
A couple of months ago, a co-worker lost her baby girl at 20 weeks. She and I had had “the talk” about a year before – so she knew about Nadav.
I tentatively reached out and asked if I could call.
When we talked, this is what I told her:
This is a horrific loss, because it’s a loss that is abstract to everyone but you. You were the only one that felt her presence physically. To everyone else she was an abstract. At the end of the day, that is the hardest part.
I’ve had more than one person “helpfully” tell me that I should be ok because we have Lili now.
How in the world can I explain to them that having Lili makes the loss all the more complex and hard?
She was born as a result of his absence. She is a miracle. She is a joy.
But she also represents what could have been. It’s hard to explain, but in the darkest moments, every smile of hers could have been his.
Even writing the above sentence leaves me riddled with guilt.
She is perfection, she is love embodied.
But she doesn’t fill the gap he left behind. That’s both impossible to do, and an unfair expectation of her.
She’s not here to fill a gap. She’s her own being – full of rolling laughter and song. But all her own. She doesn’t deserve the burden of making up for an absence. I do all that I can to shield her from that.
Which leaves me here. Another year passed and I feel more alone than ever. The wound in others seems to have healed fully.
But not mine.
He was not an abstract to me. He was real. And physically present.
A few days ago I came to this space and ended up reading posts from my pregnancy with Lili. Amidst all of the anxiety there was also a very clear description of her as a person. Even before she arrived, her presence was felt. Her personality shone through. At least to me.
I felt her. I knew her. I understood her before she was present to anyone but me.
How was he any different? I knew him. I understood him.
But he was present to me and me only. He was a picture and an abstract thought to everyone else.
To me, he was physically present.
As the last few days have gone by I see how everyone around me, though respectful of my grief, is removed from it. Some, it seems, have even forgotten it completely. Or maybe just forgot the date. Which is fine. It’s been 4 years. I’m not even sure I’d want to talk about it if they called.
Even my husband, who felt the loss so immensely when it happened, just doesn’t feel it as strongly as I do anymore. He tries his best, but I know that for him, it’s just not as hard as it is for me.
A few nights ago I went on Facebook and looked for my co-worker – now my friend.
It was 4am and I was crying, and I knew she was the one who would understand. And sure enough, there she was, where nobody else was.
I don’t think that anyone has abandoned me. I’m not upset with any of my friends or family.
Like them, my grief has also waned through these 4 years. But it hasn’t disappeared. It has steadied. It has become measured. Others’ grief has as well – but for them, that measure is just much smaller than mine.
They didn’t know him like I did.
So while they abide and support – they don’t truly understand.
Even though I am surrounded I am utterly alone.
My son Nadav was born and died on February 21st, 2012. He was here. He was loved.
HE WAS HERE.