Tuesday, August 9, 2022

131 weeks

Dear Sonzee, 

Another week has passed.  It is already the 2nd week of August.  The summer is quickly coming to a close.  Today I will pick up Laeya from her 6 weeks of sleep-away camp. I am so excited to see her, I am trying to occupy myself for the next 2 hours before I leave to get her.  It makes me so incredibly broken that there is still nowhere to go to pick you up, and you have been gone for significantly longer. 

This last week we honored your two and a half years of being gone. I hate the word honor, but there is really no other word for it, as I assure you there is no celebration for your absence. 

Aba had a nasty case of food poisoning while he was in Israel, but after 5 days of antibiotics he is starting to feel better, but not 100%. He and Tzvi were delayed leaving Israel due to the missiles, so we got to see them yesterday for a few hours before they flew back to Phoenix. Tzvi (and maybe even aba) had his first experience in a bomb shelter.  I am so thankful I had no idea going to Shabbat what was going on or I would have been a disaster.  I found out in an accidental manner when someone after Shabbat mentioned it in a nonchalant way when I said how their flight was delayed. Tzvi handled it like a champ, but he admitted he was a bit scared.  I wouldn't blame him, that is one life experience I have thankfully been spared thus far. He was calmed down by his cousin sharing in the routineness.  They had 1 min and 30 seconds to get inside once the siren rang.  Some places have only 15-30 seconds. Again, just glad I learned all the details yesterday.

Noam, Meena, and I stayed the night at uncles yesterday, completely unplanned, but it is so nice to love on baby Isla (who by the way is becoming quite the chunker). It has been so nice seeing them so often this summer.  Meena went on a shopping date with Hay-Hay, and she bought her and Laeya a matching Shabbas dress and a new pair of adorable shoes.  

Aba got you a heart rock from Israel! I am so excited to give you all of your new rocks from this summer.  They will be a beautiful addition to the ones you already have.  

Anyway Sonzee bear, I love you and miss you!

Until next time. 

Love always,
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

2 years 6 months




Dear Sonzee, 

Today marked 2 years and 6 months since you left me. That is 2.5 years without you.  More than half of your life.  I would ask how, but I am no stranger to the speed that time passes.  I made it through the day without any sudden moments taking my breath away.  That is probably because I didn't want to think about the day until this evening.  In a sense, it was nice to essentially be on my own island without anyone else realizing, acknowledging, or maybe even knowing what today was.  It is definitely a double-edged sword. On one hand, I absolutely hate when people ask me how I am doing on a specific date related to you as if every other day of the year is any different for me. On the other, there is some comfort in knowing that others remember, that the day makes someone take a second to honor, that you are on someone's mind a little bit more today.  There is no winning on this grief journey. Never.

I do not quite understand how time has continued to pass by.  I do not understand how the world didn't stop 2.5 years ago.  For me, my life is surreal, spent balancing a before, during, and after, and not fully embracing the after.  It is filled with a mix of extreme highs and lows as I try to compensate for your loss, but never quite adequately. 

I am truly at a loss.  Two and half years ago you were with me, physically speaking. I know mentally you were out of your body 36 hours before.  I have been listening to an audible book about grieving a child, and the story recounts the exact days leading up to their daughter's death and the day of.  It still fascinates me how many details are remembered surrounding the deaths of a child.  I was thinking while I listened to the story how amazing it was this mother could recount the weeks prior with such perfection without knowing her daughter was going to die.  Then I realized, I didn't know how long you would have left to live and I too could recount the last weeks of your life with painful accuracy.  Some moments in life just become permanent.  Thankfully and not.

I feel like I have learned so little and so much in the two and half years since you left me.  I have definitely changed in the time as well, for better and worse. Two and half years ago seems like a dream and a nightmare all mushed into one block of time.  I still manage to wake up every day.  I still manage to put one foot in front of the other.  I still manage to breathe.  I still don't understand how.

In two and half years I have certainly cycled through all of the stages of grief and then some.  I feel like there should be a different term to describe them because if I could describe them visually, it would be one of those clown mazes, complete with mirrors, shaking, steps, strobe lights, and all of the chaos. If I thought at one point the stages would ever be accomplished I wouldn't be doing grief any justice.  This is one carnival experience that won't ever be ending.  

I wish I knew what you have been up to over these last two and half years. You accomplished a decent amount in your two and half years on earth but never hit the typical milestones.  Have you done so?  Did someone put a sticker on your shirt like I had ready for you and then take a picture with you wearing it?  Have you surpassed all of the typical milestones and completed ones I wouldn't even be able to dream of?  Do they have a sticker for flying?  Are there levels to complete like at swim? Have you earned a sticker for visiting me? Do they give you extra points for your mother not realizing it was even accomplished?  Maybe you could ask to have a sticker added for visiting your mother in her dreams?  I promise I would bring you a rock with that painted on it. 

Do you go to school?  What grade are you in? How does the schooling even work where you are?  Where are you even exactly? Is it one specific place or do you travel all around?  Who do you live with?  Are they people I know?  Do you have a lot of friends? Do you have sleepovers and parties together?  What is your favorite thing to do during the day?  What are your favorite foods? Do you still love to swim and the color red?  What is your favorite music to listen to? What music do you not like? Is it jazz like me or country music like aba?  Can you ride a bike? Have you ever been skiing or ice skating? Aba, I am sure would love to know if you like hockey. 

There is so much I don't know about you and what you are up to.  It literally sucks the air out of my lungs.  Your brother is soon to be the age you never turned, he is out of my sight for 8 hours a day, and I get pictures of what he is up to and I know where I can find him.  I know nothing about you.  It is horrible.  I hope that is one-sided. I hope you are not experiencing the same panic wondering what we are doing here. I hope you are in the know.

My heart is still in pieces two and half years later.  Time has not healed anything.  Grief isn't any better, and it certainly is not over.  The thought of another two and half years passing without you here makes me nauseous, despite knowing that will be my future. Please come and visit me in my dreams, it's been too many years since I have seen your face!  

I love you beyond words Sonzee bear!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema




The Mighty Contributor

Monday, August 1, 2022

130 weeks

Dear Sonzee,

130 Mondays have passed. The weeks with 0's at the end seem to hit the hardest.  They for some reason represent an infinite amount of time.  130 weeks.  130 Mondays since you last laid in my lap.  130 Mondays since I last felt your soft skin and gave you a kiss.  

I often wonder who is taking over that role without me being there. I pray it is someone and you haven't been void of receiving cuddles and kisses from someone, but I am also envious of whoever is fortunate enough to be with you. 

130 Mondays since you were driven away from our home for the last time. I cannot seem to remember your siblings' correct names or why I walked into a room, but I can remember 130 Mondays ago like it happened yesterday. I will forever be thankful for as long as that is the case.  (Although I cannot say the same for the 48 hours before that).

This last week all the related service providers and teachers started back at FBC.  I was able to pop in virtually for a meeting on Friday and it was nice to see everyone.  I am very excited about the new school year (although I will be starting later than everyone else).  This week I purchased your siblings' school supplies so when we get back they will be ready to go to school.  

I often times find myself forgetting how old you would be and what grade you would be going into.  Hard to even fathom you as a 7-year-old 2nd grader.  Forever in my mind, you are 4 and in preschool.  The same age as your baby brother.  

This weekend I took Meena and Noam to the trampoline park here.  There was a Jewish special needs camp with a little girl who reminded me so much of you.  She was being held in the lap of someone while on the trampoline.  I stared.  I wanted to go over and ask about her, but I had shoes on, and I couldn't think of anything besides, "Hi, she reminds me of my dead daughter, what is her diagnosis?", so I just started some more.  While my mind created various scenarios of how the counselors were probably thinking how rude I was to stare, and how if they were to say something I would actually be able to bring you up, the tears filled my eyes.  So much so that Meena caught on and asked me if I was okay, I managed to give a smile and say yes, but my throat caught when I went to say how the little girl reminded me of you. It took a good swallow for me to say it to her.  I tried to get her to go over and ask the counselor about her, but she didn't want to and being how I wasn't going, it would have been pretty hypocritical to make her.

Anyway baby girl...I wish you were here (although the walk up the hill would be quite intense pushing you in your wheelchair). I wish you would come and visit me!  I wish I knew what you have been up to for the last 130 Mondays. I miss you so much!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

129 weeks and 2 days

Dear Sonzee, 

This last week was the last week that aba was in vacation village for the summer.  He and Tzvi will spend the next 10 days in Israel and then go back to Phoenix so Tzvi can get back on the ice. The week was filled with a lot of yummy lunches and dinners.  We also got to see Laeya on Sunday.  It was amazing to give her a hug and kiss, and then sad to send her back to camp, but, she is happy so that is what matters.  It is amazing after just a month of her being gone how I felt reuniting with her.  It makes me wonder how it will be to see you, again, hopefully, one day. 

This last week I had another panic attack. It made it the 2nd one over the last couple of weeks and the first ones I have experienced in the previous 6 months or so.  I am pretty sure the culprit was grief, but I cannot confirm or deny that guess.  

Someone who had not seen us since the last summer you were here asked me excitedly about you.  I paused for a moment and then told them you are no longer with us. I felt so sad for them.  Me, I have known you have been gone for 2 years 5 months, and 24 days.  They just found out this information.  It breaks my heart to have to break someone else's.  It was in the middle of the night after this conversation that I had my panic attack. I find the ones where they wake me from my sleep with the squeezing headache to be the worst type.  Especially when there are no dreams to accompany them.  It took me a good 3 days to finally relax, but I can tell even days later that anything could send me back.

Bubbie, pop-pop, and Max came to visit us last shabbos. Maxi is the cutest dog and I bet he would have snuggled up against you as he tried to chew your feeding tubes and cords.  It would have been a blast trying to keep him off of you.  It was a very nice weekend and the weather was so beautiful we spent so much of it outside on the deck looking at the lake.

On Monday we picked up Meena and Tzvi from sleep-away camp. Meena absolutely loved it, while Tzvi was his typical "I am never going back there" self. That conversation ended with yes he will be and he can decide to have fun during it or not, his choice.  He made some new friends, they even came to celebrate his birthday with us at the water park before he left for Israel.  That made my heart happy.

Anyway baby girl.  As always, I miss you so very much! Be safe, and keep having fun!

Until next time. 

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Sunday, July 24, 2022

learning...

7 songs have played on my "Sonzee blogging" playlist.  I have written words and erased the majority of them.  The tears, they want to come, but I keep holding them back for some reason.  I know I shouldn't.  Deep down I know it's the reason I have experienced two panic attacks within the last two weeks.  The ones that wake you from your sleep and bring on a headache that feels like someone is squeezing your head with a very tiny rubber band.  The ones that take at least 24-48 hours to fully recover from, despite attempting to will the cortisol levels in your body to readjust themselves.  Yet despite those best efforts, what's more likely to happen is for the levels to rise again because something (simple) happened that you weren't expecting, like someone speaking when you have your back turned. 

Grief.

It really never goes away. Or maybe it takes longer than 2 years 5 months and 21 days?  The whole learning to live with it concept is quite honestly horrible, and my ability with it fluctuates.  I (naively) thought that maybe I was getting ahold of it.  I thought maybe with life moving forward, maybe with the time passing, maybe with parts seeming normal that I was starting to "learn to live with it".  But then it feels like utter chaos as I try to combat the feeling of being completely mentally unstable.  One minute I can feel like I have this whole learning to live with grief concept mastered and the next I am taken out at my knees. I want to imagine that the pit in my chest and the tears in my eyes will one day permanently pause if I was actually accomplishing any ability to learn to live with it.  Maybe "learning to live with it" is simply acknowledging its always-ever presence?  Maybe accepting the pit and the tears are what I need to do to learn?

I'd rather not.

12 songs have played. I'll allow the tears...for now.  I will admit this journey is complicated, that there isn't a one size fits all.  Maybe what I have learned in 2 years is that grief is hard to live with. I will give myself grace while I sit outside and let the wind wrap itself around me, pretending it is her coming to give me a hug because G-d knows I could surely use one of those from her. 


The Mighty Contributor