Monday, October 11, 2021

88 weeks

Dear Sonzee, 

Another week has come and gone, marking 88 weeks since you left.  This last week was my fall break and despite being off of work for a week I still feel like I didn't get all I wanted to be accomplished.  I did finally manage to get over to auntie a's new place and organize Mo and Ziva's playroom, bedroom, and kitchen.  I still need to tackle her closet, but you know how Auntie A is, she has to be coaxed into allowing me to do my thing...eventually she always comes around.

Corrinne's mommy and I finally got our nails done.  It has been since summer since we have gone so that was nice we were able to catch up and to do some self-care.  I am trying to be better in general in that department.

Bear Pines has been doing really well. We have been pleasantly surprised at how full we have been.  We initially thought with it being off-season we would hardly have guests, but it is quite the opposite.  Someone wrote on the comment card they were sorry for your death.  It makes me smile that people actually read the wind chime that has your birth and death dates and or the information we put in the binder about you.

Yesterday was the first relaxed Sunday we have had in a while. It was nice to not have anywhere to really be besides Tzvi going to hockey.  Starting next week begins the craziness of games.  I can't wait to go and watch him, but also, nurse Paige is going to come and watch since we will be in her neck of the woods.  I cannot wait to start seeing her on a more consistent basis, or at least whenever she will be able to join us.  I have gotten used to her not coming in the house at 7am and not being there when I get home.  It helps we aren't at our house.

We had grief group Thursday night and the last photographer to take pictures of us as a complete family was taking pictures for hospice of the valley.  I mentioned how he took our pictures and we chatted about it for a bit.  I haven't fully looked at those images, but I have taken a quick peek now and then.  I wish we had dressed up, although at the time I wanted it to be real.  

Anyway baby girl.  

I miss you! Hope you are doing well!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Monday, October 4, 2021

87 weeks

Dear Sonzee, 

 Today closed out 87 weeks of your absence. This last week we finished the last days of Sukkot and your siblings finished their fall break. Ema's started today (wahoo!), but more on that next week. We spent our first full holiday at a different shul in a different community. To say we have been having a wonderful time here would be an understatement.  It brings me such joy to have your siblings' friends walk over to either play at the house or pick up the one they came for. To add to that, ema is also thoroughly enjoying being within walking distance of her closest friends. It has been most challenging for aba, but he is not the biggest fan of any type of change.

 We celebrated our first Simchas Torah without you. That was a bit tough, at least for aba and me. Some of your siblings reflected on your absence. I remember when aba was afraid to take you to the party the first time. He said you would not like it. I asked him how he could know if he did not try, and he humored me and took you with your siblings. The main difference between anyone humoring me when it came to you, was that it always resulted in my being right. (I will give myself that shameless brag). It makes me smile ear to ear to think about you in your wheelchair with your father pushing you around during hakafot dancing with everyone. There was even a year a friend of Meena's broke your wheelchair sitting on it with you. Small price to pay for us to make sure you were not slighted any experiences. You LOVED this holiday. You LOVED to be out there with everyone. You LOVED the attention. Last year, because of corona aba and I were relieved to not have to experience our first Simchas Torah without you because it did not happen in the same way it had while you were alive. This year...for me, I was able to avoid the first night because only aba went back to our usual stomping grounds. It was not easy for him. For me, the change made the blow softer. I teared up myself on the second night watching when aba put Meena and Noam on his shoulders, and when I watched him walk around empty-handed, no wheelchair within his grip.

 Being in this new environment has led us to new experiences.  I am sure that was your intention in whatever hand you played in flooding out the only home you ever knew. It is an amazing opportunity for us to give your siblings, for them to be near their school friends, and within walking distance of their school. It is a step in moving forward for sure, but there are times when I feel like I am a heavy weight stuck mid-step. Like when people who do not know us because even though we have lived in Phoenix for 13 years, we have not lived here, where we are, for 13 years, and I have to answer basic "how many children do you have?" questions.  There are conversations that occur in passing about our 13 years here in Phoenix, I will admit with an apology, I sometimes leave you out of the story. There have been times where I have met some amazing new to me people and I talk about you non-stop and let them know about "Sonya's Story" and how my blogging began because of you. I am still finding my way through this mirky grief water that is for certain, and another week under my belt has not changed that.

 Anyway, baby girl. I miss you, love you, and hope you are having fun, playing hard, and staying safe.

 Until next time.

 Love always, 

Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Sunday, October 3, 2021

1 year 8 months




Dear Sonzee,

Today, in 18 minutes it will have been one year and 8 months, an entire 20 months without you.  How ironic that 18 represents life and I am writing this letter to you, and as each minute passes by your life only gets further from me.  Today, for the first time in exactly 2 months I am sitting at your grave.  I am sorry it took this long for me to be able to muster the ability to get in the car and drive to “see you”, to see your stone, to be able to see your name clearly etched staring back at me while I sit on your “hooray for Sonzee” bench. 

I painted you some rocks today baby girl.  I also got to see some new ones I haven’t seen from others who visit you.  My heart hurts looking at the rocks that have begun to fade and the ones with wording scratched off. There’s a part of me that wants to fix them, and there’s a part of me that says I shouldn’t. They represent the time that continues to pass, the weather that presents itself, the life that is continuing to go on without you here.  But it really breaks my heart. 

Thank you for the wind.  It made me smile through the tears I allowed myself to shed in front of you, the ones that I have tried to not have, the ones that make this all so real. 

This month has had its fair share of ups and downs when it comes to my grief.  I still haven’t figured out how to live with it as much as I thought I might at this point.  I still sometimes pause and remind myself you really did exist.  There are times when I am asked how many kids I have and with an unnoticeable twitch I say 5 and then if they ask if they are all at the same school I say yes.  It isn’t a lie, it just doesn’t hold the entire truth. 

This month I realized even more so that people just don’t understand that because you aren’t here physically doesn’t mean your siblings don’t need support anymore.  There are organizations that popped in during your life and then left us high and dry after you left.  It’s a shame that’s how they work.  Maybe it is an oversight, maybe they don’t really understand that during your life your siblings didn’t need the extra attention as much as they definitely need it now? Maybe they feel because you were the reason they were introduced to our family and you aren’t here that they don’t need to continue with us.  Whatever the reason, they should understand that grieving siblings shouldn’t be an afterthought.  It makes me angry, but it’s not worth my energy and we also do not need their assistance…but dropping us is wrong and just weighs on my grief.  After all, at one point you made our family “high priority” so it’s a slap that you are gone and that makes us not even a thought.

I don’t know what to say that in 4 months it will mark 2 years without you.  It’s hard to write, it’s hard to read, it’s hard to understand.  

Anyway baby girl.  Another month without you means that it is another month that you are perfectly whole and amazing. It’s another month you weren’t confined to your locked body.  It’s another month that you were able to truly be free and be YOU.  Another month means that you are able to do everything you couldn’t here.  Those are the thoughts that bring me a sliver of peace. They are what help ease the heartache.  They aren’t a complete fix, but they provide a cushion for the blows.

Please stay safe and healthy. Please continue with your signs and when you feel it’s right, please come and see me!

I love you baby girl!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema 

Monday, September 27, 2021

86 weeks

Dear Sonzee, 

Today at 1:08pm, 86 weeks will have passed since we last were together.  How has it been that many Mondays since you were here.  Why does part of life seem so normal, and the other part seems like I am living on an alternate universe?!  Sometimes saying the weeks make it seem so far away, and then this weekend I told someone almost 20 months and they responded with a huge sigh and said, "that just happened, it is so fresh".  I never know what the time frame will mean to another person, it is more interesting to me than anything else.  But also, in the split second it takes for a reaction to occur I find myself holding my breath afraid of what they might say.  In this case I felt a quick sense of relief and then in my mind realized how recent it really was despite how long it feels.

This weekend someone asked how many kids we have.  I paused and decided to phrase my answer in a way that I had secretly hoped would be overlooked, but that kind of backfired.  I said, "I have 4 here". In my mind it was an honest answer, and I assumed the "here" part would be unnoticed.  Instead, it was followed up with, "here? are there children somewhere else?".  Which resulted in laughter from everyone around including myself and aba, but then I felt so badly when I had to interrupt the happy mood with, "well, umm, actually, we have 4 children here, we had 5 children, we had another daughter, but she died".  I really dislike how the mood shifts from cheery and festive to morbid in a matter of seconds.  We spoke about you for a bit, which is always nice, we told them how Bear Pines is completely in your honor and inspired by you.  Then someone asked what was on aba's socks and we said, "oh, so the daughter that died, it's her", and then aba explained how he wears you every weekend because it is how he keeps you around with us.  

Tonight, is Corr's celebration of life.  We sadly will not be able to go because of the beginning of last days of Sukkot, but hopefully you are able to stop by.  I hope you girls found each other and are having a blast living your new lives together.  Miss Brittany and I miss you both ridiculously! 

Your siblings finished one week of their 2 weeklong fall break.  It has been a bit insane, except I really cannot comment so much because I have been working and will be besides the days I have taken off for the holiday's until they go back to school.  Then it will be my fall break and they will be back in school.  We finished our first full week in the new Airbnb, minus this weekend because we went to Bear Pines.  Tzvi’s hockey games start soon, and we sadly will not be able to go away for the weekends as much as I would like, but we do have a trip planned to Chicago for one of his tournaments and I am pretty excited about that.

Anyway, my love.  We miss you beyond words and hope you are safe and doing well.  

Until next time.

Love always, 

Ema


The Mighty Contributor

Friday, September 24, 2021

Weather pattern

I was recently asked if I could describe my grief as a weather pattern what would it be.  The idea gave me pause and a good inner chuckle.  I considered my answer while a myriad of thoughts was flooding my mind. 

 Maybe a tsunami?  Does that count as a weather pattern?  I don't think so. Maybe those times that low- and high-pressure systems come together? A thunderstorm with atrocious thunder and lightning, but then all of a sudden it is over?  A sun shower on an otherwise beautiful day? A lightning storm? An Arizona Monsoon, where it comes in quickly and leaves just as fast?  How do I answer this question? 

 I began to speak but as I always feel when it comes to trying to put my grief into words, I stumbled over my words.  I feel like I am in a state of confusion. I feel like my weather pattern is all over the place, but the trickiest part is that I am not even aware of what it may be or could be until it is actually happening.  I feel lost in a horrible storm and wish someone would join me in it, but I want to be in the storm by myself, so I don't really want anyone around.  I want to ignore the way the rain comes out of nowhere and how loud the thunder is and how scary the lightning is. I wish I could have a personal meteorologist, someone to give me some warning over what potentially could be on the horizon and how long it may last.  Maybe then I could give warnings to others so they would know the right thing to do.  

 The truth is unless you truly live with the grief of losing a child it is hard to conceptualize the complexity of the inner turmoil.  The panic of the world forgetting your child, the guilt over not wanting to think about your child, the fear over someone overstepping but the sadness of them not taking any steps at all or not enough.  For me personally, the weather pattern is not quite known, but one thing is for certain, it is always, always, unpredictable. 


The Mighty Contributor