Monday, March 28, 2022

112 weeks

Dear Sonzee,

Today at 1:08pm marks 112 Mondays since you left.  In case you weren't aware, that is a LOT of Mondays. This week was a grief group week.  Laeya, Meena, and I continue to go while the boys go to hockey.  Some families came in after us and have closed out because they are in a "good space" or have the tools and don't need to go.  There is a part of me that wonders if that will ever be me. I joked with my group leader that I will be there until I become a volunteer myself.  I am sort of stuck between wanting to move forward and not go, and being unable to do that just yet.  Your sisters vary from week to week, but FINALLY, Laeya admitted she liked going this week. I will take that as a huge win.  Meena always runs up to her group leader to give her a big hug, especially if it's after we miss a session, and really she only complains about going if she is extra tired.  When you were alive and I would debate if I should take you to the hospital or not, pop-pop would say, "If you are debating whether you should be going or not, you should be going".  I guess I will just continue to follow that advice.

Your brother's hockey season came to a close this week.  It was his last year as a squirt, but it feels like he just became one. It is crazy he will be a pee-wee next season.  Tryouts for fall are May 19, for the spring season, he is going to be doing skills and other sessions.  We might have a few days off from the drive this week, but knowing him and aba, they will find a reason to head down to Gilbert.  This season didn't end with his name on a plaque or with a medal, but for the first time, we found our place on a team.  I am just worried it will all have to change next year.  I have my bedazzled sweatshirts and shirts, so I have zero desire to trade any of that in, but we will see how the cookie crumbles. 

This week your sister mentioned to me that she felt guilty after you died because she did not pray that morning.  It was one of those moments that caught me completely off guard. She was working on a school project, I was cooking dinner and she just casually mentioned it like it was just a typical conversation.  My heart stopped for a minute.  A therapist once told me that children can think some abstract things, but I had zero idea that she was carrying such a weight.  I took a few moments to gain my composure and I said, "Laeya, you do know that you not praying that morning didn't matter right?", She said she knew that you were going to die anyway, and I assured her that was the case; as hard as that is to say, it is the truth.  I still wish your siblings didn't have to deal with any of this.  I wish you didn't have to have the struggles you lived with either.  I wish your life could have been different. I hope on one of your visits you can assure her that she had nothing to do with your timing of death. 

112 weeks and I have no idea what you have been doing or who you are with.  I am struggling with the empty space between us and the fact that I went from knowing everything about your life to knowing absolutely nothing about you.  2 years 1 month and 25 days is a lot of time. I wish I knew the new you.  If you could visit me in my dreams I would so appreciate it!  I miss you beyond words!!!  Be safe and stay healthy baby girl!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema 


The Mighty Contributor

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

111 weeks and 2 days

Dear Sonzee, 

Hi baby girl! Sorry, I am a bit late with my letter this week.  Sunday was busy driving back and forth to Gilbert for hockey and a party for Tzvi so by the time we got home I was exhausted. Then Monday and Tuesday were as usual filled with your siblings' activities and so here we are today, 2 days after 111 weeks, and I can sit down and write to you.

Last week was Purim.  I have to admit I dislike that holiday a lot, and it is because so many years during your life you were in the hospital for it.  I hated going without you to the shul to hear the megillah. I remember one year crying in the parking lot before going in.  Other years I just said forget it and stayed in the hospital.  I am fairly certain a rabbi came to read to us there a few times as well.  It is just one of those holidays that has a forever shadow over it.  So, I won't say I did it on purpose, because honestly, I didn't, but I had a chemical peel and massage scheduled for the evening and I went to it, so I missed the huge Megillah reading.  Don't worry, I ended up as usual with Rabbi Dov reading it during the 2nd reading.  Thursday I went to work and Aba went to all the parties with your siblings. I did go to the Purim dinner in the evening after work, and it was a nice time, but I still dislike the day. I dislike seeing all the families in their matching costumes and I dislike I wasn't able to dress you up. I wonder what you would have been?  Hard to think we could ever top you dressing as Nurse Paige and her dressing as you; it is probably best we won't ever have to.

There was nothing else really eventful last week that I can remember now.  Oh, I lied, someone broke into the new house.  Luckily they only took the jackhammer from the crew and miscellaneous screws.  It doesn't make any sense that they left everything else. I did joke initially when aba started to tell me, asking if they took the hamster, but nope, Chip is still (somehow) alive and well?!  I am pretty sure Amazon has a warehouse in the new house but they didn't take any of the boxes, not even the new Keurig I bought so Auntie A doesn't get any contaminated nut coffee since Aba made hazelnut in ours. It is really weird, all of that stuff is right by the front door, it would have been so easy to take!  I was really only panicking over what little we have left of yours being taken.  I doubted they would take boxes, but you never know, and the thought of them taking your stuff and just tossing it out when they would attribute no value to it made me panic.  Luckily though, all of your stuff is accounted for.  I also remind myself that your items of value except for Mermie are with us or at Bubbie's, so it would be okay. Regardless, Mr. Joe and Mr. Gilbert have put extra reinforcements on the front door so it can't be crowbarred open and they built the sidewall to the garage, so now there really is only one access point, and hopefully, that will do the trick.  Aba and I can't even get in now unless the guys are working on the house.  Tomorrow the old roofing will be removed and we are one step closer to maybe moving out of this apartment!

Anyway baby girl. I miss you and love you!!! Come visit!

Until next time. 

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

March 16, 2015

Since 2015 the month of March has always been a difficult one.  I am pretty sure over the 5 March's Sonzee lived she was hospitalized at least one week out of March every year, and the dates overlapped 3 or 4 of those times.  I dislike the month of March in general, but this afternoon into the evening my body started to feel different.  This is definitely one of those things that is hard to explain, but anyone who has experienced a trauma of some sort in their lives can most probably relate.  Something started to nag at me, I couldn't place it.  I was feeling extra anxious, extra weight in my chest, and while it makes zero sense when I start to get my antsy anxiety I drink a cup of coffee. (Don't worry, it is 10:45pm and I opted for decaf, and yes I know the caffeine isn't helpful for anxiety, now moving on).  I made one of my fancier concoctions of coffee and sat down at my computer knowing I was feeling something Sonzee-related, but not quite sure what. Then as I normally do when I am feeling on the edge, I went to google photos and typed the date, March 16.  I realized quickly why my body was on edge.

March 16, 2015.  The official date that life forever changed.  The first night I would spend staying up all night and into the next morning not sleeping while waiting in the Phoenix Children's Hospital ER.  The night that I decided on my own that I had to trust my gut, the gut everyone else was telling me was just being neurotic.  The first night I recorded a seizure, not even really certain that was what it was, but yet knowing in the recesses of my soul that was exactly what those movements were that Sonzee had been doing.  March 16, 2015, was the night I called the after-hours line for the pediatrician's office and flatly told them I would be taking Sonzee to the ER because she had her second seizure.  They told me to call an ambulance. I told them that felt excessive. Since Sam wasn't home I called my neighbor instead. March 16, 2015, we sat in the overflow area of the old PCH ER during cold and flu season, with a brand new baby who was unvaccinated.  I was panicking. March 16, 2015, was the night I didn't understand how a newborn baby seizing wasn't the highest priority child in the ER, the rest of her life would teach me that.  

It is amazing to me how the body remembers but the mind can move the memories to a hidden bookshelf. 7 years ago today, around this time exactly I took a maybe 7lb little baby to the hospital with a video of her shaking in tow not even thinking further than someone was going to confirm my suspicions, tell me she was seizing, and send us home.  I honestly to this day do not know what I thought was going to happen, but I didn't even pack a hospital bag, (rookie mistake). 7 years ago today I can still feel all the feelings I felt. 7 years ago today I can remember the sites and sounds of that ER.  7 years ago today I could tell you the words spoken to every nurse and doctor. 7 years ago today as she seized again I mentioned to the ER nurse how horrible it was to watch her seize and she responded with "you'll get used to it". 7 years ago today I wanted to punch her in the face, but never thought to ask her how she knew that.  7 years ago today and I know how much that statement is true, eventually, sadly, I did get used to seeing them, but I never got used to not wanting to cry watching her having them. 

March 16, 2015, a day that marked the beginning of a story that wouldn't last more than 4 years 11 months, and 22 days, but also the beginning of reliving the trauma of those 4 years 11 months, and 22 days for my forever. 


The Mighty Contributor

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

110 weeks and 1 day

Dear Sonzee, 

110 weeks since yesterday. I keep thinking about "how is it now 10 weeks since we hit 100?" That means it's been 2.5 months since it was 100 weeks.  It is beyond the length of 2 full-term pregnancies and close to half of your life span.  The breakdown leaves me in awe. Similar to the fact that when I actually think about it, you would really be a first-grade 7-year-old. You would have been in the same grade as many of my friends' kids, a fact I honestly forget 95% of the time because that is essentially two lifetimes ago, the one you lived and the one we never knew.

Last week was my spring break.  I had set a goal for me to learn how to nap during the day.  My break ended with the goal not being met.  I was at the new house here and there and did a lot of ordering of all the items we need to complete construction. I think, I finalized the flooring choices, but by the time everything is in place so they can be purchased and put in I am sure I will change my mind 10 more times.  It is a problem.  The pool is waiting on the special order tiles to arrive, and in general, there are many manufacturer delays. I have received confirmations of orders and then confirmation of cancellation due to backorder items not being in stock within 24 hours of one another at least 3 times just this week alone.  It is disappointing, but it is what it is.  There is nothing to do but go with the flow.

This last week it was announced that one of your sister's best friend's family would be moving out of state at the end of the school year.  She came out from school hysterical, as did so many other girls from her class.  There were mixed reactions with some adults suggesting it was part of life and no one died, so the girls shouldn't be upset.  While I can understand that point, and it is valid, what some will (thankfully) never understand is that your sister continues to live every day with your death, with your absence, with you being gone.  And now, one of her best friends from preschool will be leaving her day-to-day life.  Yes, they can remain in touch.  Yes, they can still be best friends.  But, also, yes, in some ways, for her specifically, it is another loss, another experience I wish she didn't have to live through, another piece of life I wish she didn't have to deal with, another heartache that I can't protect her from. I wish she didn't have to experience so much of what she has, despite mockingly telling myself it continues to shape her into this continuously growing amazing person, rubbish, I wish I could give the girl a break!

Anyway, little girl. I miss you so much!  Hope you are having a great time doing whatever it is you do!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

109 weeks and 1 day

Dear Sonzee, 

Today at 1:08pm it will be 109 weeks since you were last here.  So much time has passed without you here, and it continues to do so, yet it still feels so surreal.  I still ask myself "how?"  Yesterday was another PCH PFAC meeting, to think you died on only my 2nd official meeting date, and today marked the 3rd month into my 3rd year.  PCH has come so far in just this short amount of time, in a way it makes me sad to not physically be part of it. (To clarify, not sad enough that I need a reason to be part of it).  They are testing out new beds for parents, and they have all new ipads (they were starting to have them available during your last inpatient stays, but they never seemed to work). There are other amazing and new things on the horizon, and it is incredible, but yet a part of me feels out of place continuing to participate.  I don't have any current feedback to share, and my experiences feel so far away.  I know like with the house, despite knowing it was time, I know it will be an emotional end.

On that topic, we closed officially on the sale of the house on Friday.  We took your siblings back one last time to walk through and say their final goodbyes. When it came down to it, I couldn't do it, I stayed outside.  I am happy with my choice.  I have told everyone who knows that I compare it to saying goodbye to you.  109 weeks and 1 day ago I carried you out to a gurney, I placed you on it, tucked you in with an extra blanket, gave you one last kiss, and walked back into the house.  I couldn't bring myself to go see you one last time at the mortuary, I didn't open the casket one more time to "make sure it was you".  I wanted my last memories of you to be of the alive you with soft cheeks and pale skin.  I don't have to worry about erasing the images of your skin toned changed or of forgetting the way you may have felt after you were no longer you.  It was the same with the house.  It wasn't our house anymore.  The house we brought you and your siblings home from the hospital to was not that house.  So much of that house was gone, washed away in the flood, and gone with you. I didn't want to see the house we put back together, while beautiful, it wasn't the same, it wouldn't have the same feel.  I had to let it go without having to close my eyes to remember what our house was from before.  I won't lie, I still get emotional thinking about it no longer being our house, but like aba said, once he took your stuff down off the walls he knew we wouldn't be going back. 

I spent the last couple of days thinking about the new family who now lives within those walls. I know how excited and happy they must feel. I can picture big smiles and a house that has been vacant becoming alive again.  My heart feels happy for the walls to have life within them again.  I will forever miss our incredible neighbors on both sides and all of the memories that were made.

Your brother had a hockey game Thursday night.  He played one of his best games this season. I joked with some moms around me wondering if aba had bribed him.  I sent him a text asking if he promised him money or something specific for playing so well.  I laughed when we got to the car and Tzvi asked how much money he made. That kid!  He has promised him more money for his game tonight because it is a team his team hasn't been able to beat all season.  We shall see how he does. Sadly I will have to watch on Livebarn because Meena has a parent meeting for her team evaluations.  We find out tonight if she will be moving to Level 2 and if so, when.  

Noam has been insisting on having his Sonzee book read to him every night.  It makes me happy and sad.  I suppose that is all things grief. Otherwise, I cannot think of what else to report.  Been working a lot on getting everything we need for the house as construction continues, and starting to plan for camp and summer. I miss you beyond words and wish I could see you!!

Until next time.

Love always!
Ema
The Mighty Contributor

Thursday, March 3, 2022

2 Years 1 Month

Dear Sonzee, 

There came a point during your early years, as was the same with your siblings, that I stopped saying your age in months when I was asked how old you were.  I think it was due to trying to keep you all younger for longer because months meant you weren't yet years.  As each of you got closer to the 2-year mark something shifted and your age no longer was represented by months.  Maybe it is some sort of pressure that causes the shift because at some point everyone has to grow up? Maybe it is because it is less clumsy to say a small year versus a lengthy amount of months? Maybe it is just because at some point it becomes impossible to remember what month you actually are and the year is simpler?  Or maybe, it is just simply because after a certain amount of months of counting your age, life takes on a different role and the day itself gets forgotten and the next thing you know another year has passed?

Last night I was thinking about the significance of what will be happening on Friday, (I will wait to post about that until tomorrow) March 4, when I realized that meant today was March 3, and that meant it would be another month that had passed, but one that I didn't even realize was coming.  It was the first month in 2 years that snuck up on me, the first month that I didn't even think about grabbing a rock despite having no time to decorate it.  It was the first month that was about to pass me by without me even realizing another one had passed.

That fact alone makes me upset, but also, it makes all those phrases that I have been told for the last couple of years from others who are further down the path of grief show their first glimpse of reality.  It doesn't and won't get any easier not having you here, the pain is worse than I could have imagined, that won't ever change, but it definitely becomes different.  Your absence becomes it's own rebirth of life in a sense.  The timeline began all over again and so did all the parallel components to that of having a newborn baby.

I am at the point in this journey where the moments of grief that aren't what they once were catch me off guard.  The reality of how they have changed is what causes me a different form of pain.  The fact that I am noticing less in some ways, and the fact that things happen without being in the forefront of my mind makes me sad, but point out how this journey will continue to go.  At some point, I stopped putting monthly stickers on your onesies.  At some point, I stopped sitting you on the same corner of the couch to take your monthly picture.  At some point that even became ok and was something to celebrate itself. 

While I won't ever celebrate anything when it comes to my ever-changing journey of grieving you being gone from me, I will probably honor it with a good cry session and give a nod up to the sky in your honor.  So for today, in honor of it being 2 years and 1 month since you are gone, I will give myself grace and acknowledge that I am okay not rushing over to the cemetery with a pretty painted rock that says 2 years 1 month.  I will give myself grace for almost letting today pass me by unnoticed because one day it won't be an almost, and when that day happens, it too will be okay.

The tears even if they dry up for a bit, they will always return.  The love for you is never gone and won't ever be.  The grief and its weight is never going to be lighter or something I will ever get over.  Your absence won't ever not be felt.  Your life nor death will ever be forgotten.  But for the first time in 2 years, I truly believe that some form of this life after you has the potential to get easier, and I won't overlook that it happened today, at 25 months.

Until next time.

Love always and forever,
Ema


The Mighty Contributor