Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sonzee "turns" 9

Dear Sonzee, 

The first sentence that comes into my mind is, I can't believe today (would've, could've, should've) been your 9th birthday. That is how most of my current thoughts start when it comes to you because really, I can't believe how much time has passed since you were born and since you have died. This was the 5th birthday we celebrated without you here. The last age you were was 4. I have so many unanswered questions about who you even are. It is difficult to honor someone when you don't know them, and it is even doubly hard when they were someone you once knew better than yourself. I still have to ask myself, how is this even real?

Today I woke up and started my day looking at February 11 in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. I skipped 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. I came across a not-at-the-forefront-of-my-mind gem that was aba feeding you frosting from 2 cupcakes for you to indicate your preference. That 2nd birthday of yours was miserable. You cried in 100% of the pictures taken, and babysitter Paige did a family shoot for us with our cute matching outfits. You really could have cared less, and that you did. You clearly were bothered by the seizures and pain. 

It is funny, how aba reminded me how much I hated your birthdays during your life. I can promise, I hate them even more now in your death. There was just something so painful about reliving your birth and those first few weeks afterward every year while watching you suffer and miss every age-appropriate milestone. And now, well now you miss everything. I, however, do not miss watching you suffer, but I do miss not knowing the little girl you would be. Let's be honest though, it was a challenge to know who you were when you were alive too. It's not ideal either way.

Noam, Tzviki, aba, and I went to your grave and gave you your birthday rocks. Your sisters didn't want to come. I was torn in my mind over whether I should force them to or not. On the one hand, if they don't want to go maybe it's because it makes them sad, or maybe their grief is indicating they want to honor you a different way. On the other hand, what if it is just them wanting to put something else above you, and then I feel that isn't fair. I am all for variations in grieving, but it hurts my heart too much to have them just pretend today isn't a family day or that it isn't an important day. After visiting you we felt we should go to Starbucks and I bought myself a pretty tumbler as "your gift". Then we drove all around Scottsdale picking up your siblings from their previous night's sleepovers.

We were supposed to go watch a show, but it was canceled last minute, so I spent the afternoon getting addresses together for Tzvi's bar mitzvah save the date invitation that have to go out (once they come, after I fix the incorrect date (and aba thinks I have it all together, HA!)) We then went to bubbies and pop-pop made pizza's and bubbie made pasta and a wonderful red birthday cake for you with the perfect bear center! I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate your birthday, well except if you were here. 

Anyway baby girl. I hope wherever you are everyone made you feel special and that you had a spectacular day. I have no idea what I will have to plan to honor you turning double digits, so it's a good thing I have 365 days to figure that out. 

I love you and miss you beyond words!

Until next time. 

Love always,

The Mighty Contributor

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Four years

Dear Sonzee, 

Today at 1:08pm marked 4 years since you left this world. So much has happened in that amount of time, but it doesn't really involve much healing of the hole in my heart. Shifts of emotions sure, and moving forward in numerous ways have occurred, but there is still no sense of peace in your absence. I have however become a master of masking emotions and to quote the Book of Mormon, I can "turn it off, like a light switch, just go click".  I am not sure it counts as moving forward in the intended sense, but it counts as something I suppose?

Four years ago today I gave you one last kiss and carried you out of the house for the last time. I laid you on a gurney and was shocked at how cold it was outside for a February day. I hadn't been outside in weeks and was caught off guard. I flinched at the chill and grabbed a blanket so you wouldn't be cold, and then considered how insane that must have sounded to others. As if temperature mattered to your body any longer. I couldn't stop the mothering though, it was bad enough I was sending you by yourself in the back of a hearse, the least I could do was give you a blanket to ensure you were warm. 

Today I looked at the clock at 1:34 and noted to myself what I was doing at this time 4 years ago. Pacing around a counter, organizing things around the house, feeling confused and unsure of what I was supposed to be doing, while Nurse Paige sat on the couch writing notes. It didn't make sense to me that life was going on around me, just like today it didn't make sense we had just gone back to Morah Zupnick's house for lunch after celebrating a bar mitzvah. I wasn't in the mood for celebrating today, but I sucked it up and played the part. Few people knew what today is anyway, and apparently, because it isn't your yahrtzeit it doesn't count as the day you died (insert me rolling my eyes and wondering why it is I am an observant Jew sometimes). 

It wasn't until this year that I started to feel the whole grief should expire concept from other people. It seems as if life is always moving on around me and there isn't time to wallow in my grief either. I feel torn between focusing on you being gone and focusing on our current day-to-day family life. In the semi-quoted words by Nora McInery, "I want to give you and your memory my best and I want to give my living family my best, and sometimes I think my best is gone and what is left is whomever I am now". Whomever that actually is I have no idea. I wish I did, but I am still lost, even four years later. I just excel at acting like the new me has been found. 

Bubbie and Pop Pop brought Max over for some doggy therapy tonight. It was perfect for my after-shower tears that I had managed to suppress all day long. Now I have some hot tea and a new set of tears to help finish off the night. Your twin girl (who always manages to say and do the right things at the right times) told me that she is sorry that you died and how she notices in my face when I am thinking of you and she is thinking of you too and she wanted me to know that she does miss you a lot. It really was at a perfect time because it was right after I finished writing the sentence above about grief expiring and my next thought was how sometimes it feels like I am the only one who still grieves you. I know people grieve you, and I know they do it their way, and that is fine, but the further away the time has gotten, the more alone the grief feels. I don't like that part of the journey. I don't like how time since death somehow translates to others that it is less hurt and less pain. Or maybe it is just people just don't think it hurts as much? Maybe they think that time has healed the wound? I don't know, but whatever it is, I wish it wasn't. I wish people offered the same check-ins and assistance they did right after you died because honestly, every grieving set of parents still needs support even (yes shockingly) years later. 

In a week and 1 day, you will be turning 9 in heaven. I don't know how to even comprehend you as a 9-year-old when I last saw you as a 4-year-old. From preschool to 3rd grade, that seems unreal(well I guess in a sense it isn't real). I wonder what you would look like now and if your baby face would be gone. Would you have lost teeth? How many windows would there be looking into your mouth? Would your eyes have changed officially to grey and started their journey to green like your older sisters and how your brothers are starting to? 

What have you been up to over this year? Have you made new friends? Do you have a best friend? What are your favorite things to do? Do you get to swim? Do you see Saba and Coach Ed? The one question I really want to know is, When will you feel I am ready to ever see you? 

I am sorry my letters have been lacking over this past year. It seems to be my way of avoiding the reality of your death and absence and on top of that excuse, it is exhausting to grieve.  I am already exhausted from working and having an active life to expend any additional amount of energy on focusing on you not being here just isn't something I am capable of doing daily. I wish I could be, but I just can't. I am sorry. 

I miss you more than words could ever explain. I wish you were here. I wish you were born healthy and able to still be here with our family physically. 

I love you!

Love always and forever.

Until next time. 


The Mighty Contributor