Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I've been struggling to gather my thoughts as this year draws to a close. I'm completely ambivalent about whether I'm ready to bid the year goodbye. 2008 was the year of my greatest happiness and joy...bringing Ezra into this world and carrying him for eight months. But as Elizabeth McCracken wrote, "This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending." 2008 also brought the greatest depths of despair and sadness imaginable.

I'd like to say I have hope that 2009 will be better. And I do have hope. But if I've learned anything from losing Ezra, its that we can't predict when life will throw us a curve ball. Just when I thought life couldn't get any worse, 3 months after losing Ezra my Dad needed quadruple bypass surgery. Thankfully his recovery is progressing, but my faith that 'everything will turn out ok' is pretty much shattered. In my life without Ezra, nothing is taken for granted.

I've been reflecting today on where I've been in New Years Eves past. In my fun carefree years living in New York City, New Years meant splurging on a fancy night out dressed up with my dearest friends. In the years since I found my besheret (or soulmate) David, New Years has brought quiet dinner parties at home also with dear friends. 2008 started off inauspiciously, as the morning of New Years Eve, someone attempted to break into our house, kicking in the back door. While the alarm system did it's job, scaring them off, we spent the day scrambling to get our door fixed and feeling incredibly unsettled that the sanctity of our home had been disturbed. Within a few weeks after that we conceived Ezra, and our joy made us feel untouchable.

But as this year is almost over, that unsettled feeling has returned, but now magnified a zillion times. My baby died. I've not only lost my precious son, I've lost my confidence in my place in the world. No matter what happened each of those previous years, on all of those New Years Eves in years past, I felt grounded, confident in my purpose, my being. Now I'm not so sure.

So my prayer tonight is that 2009 brings love and laughter, hope and faith, peace and purpose for myself and for all of us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

4 months...

My baby boy is 4 months old today.

Being a first time mom, I'm not 100% sure what milestones he'd be accomplishing right now
If he were here in my arms.
And I certainly can't bring myself to look it up.

I can imagine though...

Yesterday the 4 month anniversary of Ezra's death passed with so much numbness.
I kept myself busy and tried not to relive the events of that terrible day.
But today, 4 months from his birth, I am just so very sad.
I physically ache with the pain of it all.

Again I go back to the disbelief.
How did the most joyously beautiful time of my life,
turn so wretchedly devastating?

This I will never understand...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Losing My Baby Forever

There’s a sad irony involved in my losing Ezra
That I haven’t written about yet
In part because my thinking on it hasn’t shifted much
From hours after Ezra’s death, until now.

The irony is what I do for a living
Which is provide legal representation to parents, mostly moms,
Who are accused of abusing or neglecting their children.
Moms who are at risk of losing their babies…


Sometime after I had been induced, but before I gave birth
A crazed thought flashed through my head:

How will I ever do my work again?

Many of my clients defy all odds that they will have healthy babies.
They get pregnant by accident,
Delay getting prenatal care,
Abuse their bodies with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy foods.
They are physically abused by lovers or family or friends
And yet…
And yet they have healthy babies.
And even if their babies are sick, they aren’t dead.
Despite the odds, their babies don’t die.

But my baby died.

When children & youth services (cys) comes for those babies,
I fight like hell to make sure those babies can stay with their mommies.
Because a baby needs her mommy,
No matter what her mommy’s faults,
More than anything else in the world.

Representing parents involved with child welfare is the only law I’ve ever practiced.
I’ve been doing it for years,
And had no plans of changing what I do.
At least not now.
Now was about maternity leave and poopy diapers and playtime
About long walks with a stroller and nursing.
Now was to be the first time in my adult life,
That career didn’t matter.
Being a mommy is the most important thing.

People have said, “oh of course you can’t do your work anymore,
You work with those moms who don’t love their babies,
who intentionally hurt their babies.
And you love Ezra so much, you would never hurt Ezra.”

And that so misses the point.

Because most of the mommies I work with DO love their babies.
They love them to pieces.
And they would never intentionally hurt them,
Even if they did hurt them.

And yet…
These mommies are extremely poor
They have limited opportunities and resources
And are often left to make choices between bad option A and bad option B
So no matter what, it will seem like they have bad judgment.
They don’t use drugs because they love the crack more than their baby
But because their lives have been so hard, so traumatic,
that they just can’t handle the pain any longer.
They have disabilities, illnesses, addictions, life circumstances,
Which get in the way
Of being the best mommies.

And so they are taken to court
And threatened with losing their babies forever
If they don’t clean up their act.
They are given a year or so to fix problems that took a lifetime to create.
And some of them just can’t do it.
And their rights as parents are terminated

I don’t hate my clients now that I lost Ezra.
But there’s a new emotion there which scares me a little.

I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that their babies are alive.
That even if their babies are temporarily out of their care,
That it is in their power to get them back.
If they just meet a series of goals,
A judge will give them back their baby.

How I wish someone would give me a bunch of goals,
And Ezra would be back in my arms!

The rational me knows how absurd this new jealousy is.
How can I be jealous of women whose lives are so miserable?
And the lawyer me knows how nearly impossible it is to get your baby back,
Even when you work hard on your goals.
That temporary placement in foster care, can often be a one way ticket,
To losing your baby

Yet if losing Ezra has taught me anything,
It’s to listen to my own emotions.
So the emotional me is jealous.
And the jealousy is real.

So where does this leave me?
I’d like to think that I could return to this work on my own terms,
In a more meaningful way.
Certainly I understand firsthand how much there is to be lost.
Perhaps it could even make me a better lawyer?

I have watched babies be wrenched from their mother’s arms in a courtroom.
Listened as a judge has ordered that mothers never see their children again.
But I’ve dealt with this emotional trauma by rationalizing
That sometimes I’m just meant to lose
Some children need to be in foster care
And some mommies shouldn’t have their babies.

But how can I rationalize now?

Because I’m a mommy that doesn’t have her baby,
And I can’t accept that that’s the way it is supposed to be.
Because a baby needs his mommy,
No matter what his mommy’s faults,
More than anything else in the world.

So much about surviving this journey,
Has been about pointing myself in the right direction,
And hoping the emotions will follow.
About setting the intention of where I’d like to be,
And praying the healing will ensue.
And remembering that the process is not linear
So that one day’s gratitude may be the next day’s grief.

But here I just feel stuck.
How can I integrate losing Ezra and all that it encompasses
Into my professional life?
I don’t want a new job, a different focus
All I want is to be a mommy.
Being a mommy is the most important thing.

So where does this leave me?

Has anyone else had trouble integrating your loss into one particular part of your life? How have you handled it?

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Meditation for Today

David and I knew our first son would be named Ezra Malik,
Long before we knew we were serious about spending the rest of our lives together.
And since Ezra chose to name himself for his two great-grandparents,
Eugene and Marion,
Who lost their firstborn, a son
Was Ezra Malik never destined to be of this earth?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ezra's Great Uncle

Tonight I am amazed
and overwhelmed
At the souls of my ancestors swirling around me.

Tonight I learned that Ezra had a Great Uncle
My mom had an older brother.

He died.
Just as he was being born, he died.

I never knew.

And my grandma Marion,
For whom, Ezra got his middle name Malik
Never forgot.

My Granddad Eugene, for whom Ezra is named
always remembered his first son.

I never knew my grandma Marion
She died just after I was born
After many years of being sick.
Too young to die.
My mom deprived of her own mom
just as she became a mama herself.
Depriving me and my brother of a grandma.

But I was very close to my Granddad
He died in 2001
A brilliant man
He delighted in life
And could always make me smile.

Tonight I was telling my mom of a visit I had this week from a babylost mama
Her son died 34 years ago, just 2 weeks before I myself was born.
I was telling my mom of the wisdom and perspective her visit gave me
She still talks of her son with tears in her eyes.
And my mom says,
"Well my mom felt the same way, she never wanted to return to Tacoma, because that's where the baby died."
My heart stopped.
What baby?!

My mom insists she told me
In fact, David confirms that she did
When I was still in the hospital
Out of my mind with the drugs and the hormones and the grief
I have no recall
I would have remembered something like that.
(Makes me wonder what else I don't remember from that fateful weekend)

Grandma Marion went into labor when she was full term
And it was taking too long
So the doctor went in with forceps
And the baby died

65 years ago.

He did not have a name
He's buried in a Jewish cemetery somewhere in Seattle
Baby Boy Bereston

I wonder how my grandma managed on her grief journey
A stranger in a city not her own
Living in Seattle as my granddad served his duty at an army hospital
As the world conspired to destroy itself
Through the toxicity of world war

My heart aches that my grandma experienced this pain I now know
And the tears that are pouring as I write are no longer just for Ezra
The tears are for Baby Boy Bereston.

But my heart also leaps to realize Ezra has spirit baby family
A wise soul to show him the ropes
For certainly Baby Boy and Ezra found each other
Perhaps thats why Ezra knows so much magic already
And awakens me to it daily.

Yet mostly I am overwhelmed by this legacy
Baby Boy, almost forgotten in this family
If not for Ezra's tragic death.
Baby Boy's life mattered
He is real
Just like Ezra is real

And yet our lost babies are hushed into silence
Swept under the rug to make way for happier stories
Of round bellies and pink screaming newborns
As if nothing ever goes wrong.
As if nothing could go wrong.

And yet it does go wrong.
With all that could go wrong
It's amazing it ever goes right
That anybody is born at all

Tonight along with Ezra, I miss Baby Boy Bereston
And all the loved and yearned for babies
Whose stories deserve to be told.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Physical Reminders

This is Ezra's blanket.
I no longer have it,
he took it with him underground.
In that cold cemetery where he hangs out with his Jewish ancestors.
Although no one in our families is buried in the cemetery,
we were comforted when we discovered how old it was.
Graves of old Jews dating to the turn of the century.
The 19th to 20th centuries that is.
David commented that the ancestors must be talking little Ezra's ear off.
So many stories.
Long lives, short lives.
We found a grave of a child who lived less than a year.
Hard lives.
And lives filled with joy.

Ezra is buried in the corner of what will one day be my grave.
Next to what will one day be his daddy's grave.
This is mostly because of the cemetery salesman
A man I'd prefer never to meet again.
But I do like the idea of physically being with Ezra one day.
Even if I don't believe in an afterlife
or heaven.

Of course it's only Ezra's tiny body that sleeps at the cemetery.
His spirit, his soul is here with us.
He follows us everywhere we go.
Showing us the magic that life still holds,
Even when it's hard to see through our grief.
Even when we no longer believe in magic,
he reminds us to delight
and to love each other even harder.
The way we love him.

Recently I've been focusing on all the physical aspects of Ezra I can remember
I meditate on his being,
conjuring up all his features.
His slight 4 pound weight in my arms.
His full head of fuzzy black hair
His barely there eyebrows
His miniature version of his daddy's nose
His rosy cheeks
His scarlet mouth
His little fingers and toes
And those long legs!

But what that doesn't capture is his personality
For even sleeping, we could tell Ezra had character
It was almost as if he was smiling, just slightly
We imagine he would have been quite the comedian
Always a smile on his face
Eyes dancing even when serious
Every time I envision what Ezra might look like
at 2 months, 2 years, 12 years, 20 years old
He is always smiling.

I held Ezra after I birthed him
Kissed him on the head and cried and cried
Explored his tiny body
Memorized every detail
But I couldn't do it for long
I was too overwhelmed
Too out of my mind with grief and medication and hormones.
After we said goodbye, the nurses kept him nearby,
And offered several times to bring him back to me.
But I just couldn't.
I was in too much pain.

Once a little time passed,
as we made the funeral arrangements,
I realized that I wanted to have more time with my son.
I needed to say a proper goodbye
Away from the IV drips and beeping machines
So we arranged to have an hour with Ezra before we buried him

We had him dressed in the little alligator outfit that his Aunt Rachael had bought him
Green and white striped with a matching hat
Which was too big on his head, even though it was newborn sized
We had planned to bring him home from the hospital in that outfit
But now we were putting him to bed
For good

He was wrapped in his yellow blanket
Made for him with love by his Office Grandma
At work I have a wonderful mentor who I call my Office Mommy
So when I told her I was pregnant I asked her to be Ezra's Office Grandma
It was only fitting.
Even though she hadn't told me, I knew she must be knitting a blanket for Ezra
So I asked her if I could have it
To wrap Ezra in so that he wouldn't be cold.
I slept with Ezra's blanket each night from the evening she gave it to me
Until his funeral
Ezra looked so peaceful wrapped in his blanket
Prepared to sleep forever.

We placed several other items in the baby casket with him
A photo of his mommy and daddy,
the beautiful one taken by his Aunt Syreeta
(in the column on the left of my blog)
His mouse toy, that I had bought just a week before he died
And a burp cloth,
just one item I had allowed myself to get in preparation for Ezra's arrival.
Although I wasn't 100% superstitious
And did get some things in preparation for Ezra
I didn't get a lot,
wouldn't let myself get a lot
Just the things I would need immediately
And even with those I hadn't gotten everything.

In that hour before we said goodbye forever
David and I laughed with Ezra
We cried with Ezra
We prepared him for his journey
And told him how much we loved him
And would miss him
And we read him 'Good Night Moon'
Along with the inscription in the front from his Aunt Rachael
And we cried some more
And laughed a little
And we said goodbye.

The bright sun at the cemetery seemed shocking
The beauty of the day a stark contrast to our broken hearts
When the short service concluded
We shoveled the dirt ourselves into the grave
I shoveled a little
And then David took over
And filled his son's grave with a fury I had never seen in him
He said he was just taken over by the moment
And knew he needed to complete what he had begun.

I've been focusing on these physical reminders
Because I don't want to forget my Ezra
Not that I ever could
But having been so cruelly stripped of my mamahood
I want to remember what it is to be his mommy
To hold him
And take care of him
To see my features and his daddy's reflected in his face
It's hard to be a mommy to a spirit baby
When the world doesn't look at you as a mama
And there's nothing tangible to show
No Ezra in a sling or a stroller
No house full of toys and baby paraphernalia
The nursery door shut tight
Back at work long before maternity leave was supposed to end
Trying to piece together a life
That looks nothing like the life I'd planned
Because I certainly never imagined
a life without Ezra.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


My last post was about connections with amazing babylost mamas and papas who hold me up, but this post is about the people who knock me down.

I've been keeping a list in my head of the idiotic things that people have said to me in the wake of Ezra dying. But someone today won the grand prize. I thought it had gone to the person who sent me a card after Ezra died saying "as a health professional, I believe these things are generally for the best" (as a health professional apparently she's an idiot, there was nothing wrong with Ezra!) But a woman today just stole the trophy.

Some of you know that I'm a lawyer who represents parents in the child welfare system (more on that some other time, this post is not about my personal crisis of whether I can still do my work or not). So I run into a children and youth caseworker I know today on the bus, a woman with whom I have a friendly relationship. And the following conversation ensues between me and this dumb idiot bitch (we'll call her DIB)...i'm not usually one to call names but this calls for it.

DIB: Oh hi Sarah, how ARE you? You headed to court?
Me: Um no, I'm not handling cases right now, you know what happened right, my baby died (I knew she knew)
DIB: Oh yes, I try to forget about things like that.
...long pause while I pick my jaw off the floor...
Me: Well I can't forget.
DIB: Oh of course, you shouldn't...

DIB then spends the rest of the bus ride talking about herself. About how she still hasn't divorced her husband who hits her. About how she relapsed and went on a one month drinking binge. About how she came to work drunk and is now on probation submitting to random urine screens.

So I guess her life is screwed up. But as Barbara wrote about the other day, I didn't realize this was a grief competition. And while her problems are obviously awful, they are all fixable. Sure it will take hard work, but it is within her power. No amount of effort on my part will ever bring back Ezra. I only wish.

I don't care enough about this woman to put her in her place and tell her how inappropriate her response was. But I guess what it underscored for me is what a lonely misfit I feel like these days. I just feel so disconnected. Although some people have been wonderful and supportive, many seem to have absolutely no ability to understand that my heart will always be broken, that I will never be the same person I was before and I will continue to need lots and lots of support going forward. Gal posted a wonderful list that I have seen a few times before about how to support a babylost mama. I feel like I should have cards with this list printed up to hand out wherever I go.

Its a lonely world out here without my baby...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Tonight we went to a different support group than we've been attending, run by UNITE. We connected with amazing babylost mamas and papas, who lost their beloved babies at all stages of pregnancy and after birth, both recently and longer ago. We lit candles in honor of our grief, our memories, our love and our hope.

The connections run deep between us babylost parents, we have all washed up on this lonely shore where we never imagined ourselves. I could not imagine surviving this journey without this new found community, both online and here. The reflections of myself in all of you are why I still have hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Candles for Our Babies

Remembering our babies and children tonight...
Bill's daughter
And many many more babies & children who are loved and missed by their parents every day...
We said Ezra's name as we lit the purple candle
And the other babies' names as we lit the candles clockwise
And the white candle in the back is for all the rest
All the babies whose lives were cut short
Who didn't live to see this day
Or any of the days to come
We miss you babies.
We miss you Ezra.
We love you Ezra,
and all your spirit friends.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Light a Candle this Sunday

This Sunday December 14th is the annual worldwide candlelighting in honor of all our lost children. The day honors children of any age, who have left this world before their time. David and I will be lighting a candle for Ezra, and also for his spirit baby friends, Sam, Lev, Tikva, Hope, George and many others with whom we know he plays every day. Too many babies, too many children, too many mamas and papas left behind. Join us in lighting a candle if you wish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spending the day with Ezra

In a beautiful post about a month ago on Glow in the Woods, Jen writes:

There are days that are darker than others. I want to call the office and be free to say, “Sorry, but I just can’t do it. It’s all meaningless don’t you see, because today I’ll be useless to anyone but her. She’s dead and I can’t bear to wash my hair and I really just need to stay at home to be with her.” I start to cry in the shower and hate the world for expecting me to stop and get on with it. The only her left for me to be with is not one anyone else understands.

This post could have been written by me today. Because after two days of crying on and off in my office with the door shut this week, Ezra and I decided that we just needed to stay home. Just needed time to stay home and be sad about all the things we'll never get to do together...the walks we won't have and the play time we won't get...the nursing he won't do and the friends he won't meet.

And Ezra and I are tired. Tired of hearing how strong I am or how good I look. We don't feel strong at all. We're tired of hearing people's excuses for why they didn't call or write or visit after Ezra died. An extraordinary number of people did, and for that we're grateful. My son knows he is loved and has an amazing extended community who loves him. But neither of us have the energy right now to deal with the people who didn't. Wasn't Ezra's life worth enough to take two seconds out of your busy day? It's not that we're angry at these people...we're just not interested...Ezra and I are working through enough right now without having to deal with other people's baggage. It's hard enough figuring out how to parent a dead child without adding others' expectations to the mix.

Mostly Ezra and I are lonely, and strange as it may sound, being around other people sometimes reinforces the loneliness. Grief is so isolating, because most (not all) people don't see what I see...that I carry my dead baby everywhere I go. He's with me at the office and in a meeting, on the bus and at coffee with a friend. And the people that love me and want me to heal don't seem to see that my heart is broken...forever. Don't be fooled by the occasional smile or laugh, or even the days when my mood is lighter...I'm still carrying Ezra in one arm and my broken heart in my other hand.

So Ezra and I are spending the day together.
Because Ezra needs his mommy.
And mommy needs Ezra.
We will be.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Please don't ask me if I'm better

Recently, many more people than usual have been asking me when I expect I'll "feel better." It surprises me, because even the people who have been the most supportive, and understand on some level that grief is a journey, have been asking me this question. Usually they don't ask directly, but rather ask what the timetable for 'feeling better' is like for mamas who have lost their babies. I don't get angry about this question anymore, but rather it just feels irrelevant. Mostly because 'feeling better' is not something I expect from myself right now, and given the range of emotions I feel in any given day...sadness, anger, despair, shame....'feeling better' just isn't a goal I've set for myself. It seems like our society only values feeling good as a valid emotion...we're expected to either hide or fix all the dark emotions. Slowly but surely, I've been reading Miriam Greenspan's Healing through the Dark Emotions and its very validating. Because they only way I can imagine surviving losing Ezra, is to allow myself to just be where I am right now, which is just so very very sad.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Too Blue

This week has been a hard one. The weekend of 3 month anniversaries (death and then birth) passed with a certain numbness, but Monday morning felt like I'd fallen off a cliff again, down to the low blueness of it all. I've said this to a few people individually, but I just don't feel I'm fit for public consumption. I'm just too too sad to deal with the rest of the world.

It's been hitting me this week that the world really is moving on...holidays to be celebrated, babies being born, people trying something new. And I can't share the excitement of any of it. I'm not in a celebratory mood. Still doubting my ability to feel joy again.

But its not just the celebrating thats a problem. I'm finding it pretty hard to be excited about anything. Even projects that I otherwise would have enjoyed or found interesting before Ezra died. It all seems so mundane and pointless now.

Now that I'm back working, I interact with more people day by day. The people who know about Ezra and offer the guilty platitudes about how they were thinking of me and should have called (not interested people! i know who my real friends are now). And the people who either don't know or choose to ignore and say nothing. I'm not sure how anyone can expect me to function the way I used to. Still need that sign for my forehead that says 'my baby died and i am not, nor will i ever be ok!'

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ezra on Christian's Seashore

Christian's mommy, an amazing woman named Carly,
remembers our babies by writing their names in the sand
on a beach near her home in Australia.
I just realized today she had done Ezra's.
And today is Ezra's 3 month birthday.
What a beautiful birthday present for my little man.
Thank you Carly!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

3 Months Today

It's 3 months today since we learned Ezra died. Tomorrow is 3 months since he was born. I'm not sure I can gather my thoughts enough to comment on the significance of 3 months. Other than to say I stand in awe of how much my life has changed in that time.

Around this exact time of day 3 months ago today, I sent an email to several coworkers titled "I'm fine." See the doctor had called me that morning saying I needed to come to the hospital for some tests...immediately. And since I was already at the office, I had to quickly let folks know where I was going and get coverage for a case in court...and off I went. Since I'd gotten a few email queries about whether everything was ok, I sent the few people who knew where I was an email when I got home. Everything's good. The tests were normal. My blood pressure's a little high but they think it will come down if I go home and rest. The baby's doing great. I feel kind of crummy so I'm not coming back to the office. I'm just going to get some rest now. Everything is ok.

I have never been so wrong.
So incredibly astoundingly mistaken.
I was not fine.
Ezra was not fine.
Ezra was likely already dead.
Slipped away, most likely on the car ride home.
When we left the hospital, my stomach felt a little upset.
And as we rode through Chinatown I felt a huge cramp.
David thought I was complaining about his driving.
All the bumps and potholes in the streets of Philadelphia bothered me so much more when I was pregnant.
But this was not a pothole.
I now understand it was Ezra's home, his placenta,
ripping away from the side of my uterus.

My poor little man.
His only source of oxygen,
Wrenched away.

I often wonder whether Ezra felt anything in those last moments.
Whether he realized what was happening,
Or felt betrayed.

I'm sure anyone who knows anything about child development,
Would tell me no way, he didn't know,
He didn't have the capacity to know.
He just went to sleep, never to awake.

But I worry, I really do.

By the time we got home the cramps were more painful, more consistent
"Drink water, eat something," the midwife said when I called.
She never asked me if I felt the baby moving.
I never realized that I didn't.
I was too focused on the pain, the unbelievable cramps.

It was only when I called back, the second time.
After the doctor had called about the normal test results
And to apologize for putting me through the tests.
(I mentioned I felt sick, he didn't ask about the baby's movement)
After I had drank 3 glasses of water only to throw them back up.
When I called back to ask, "maybe I'm in labor?"
What did I know, I've never done this before.

Only then did the midwife ask whether I felt my uterus contracting
And I realized I felt nothing.
Rock solid.

And yet it never occurred to me that my baby had died.
Never crossed my mind Ezra was no longer living.
I just thought maybe he was coming early.
Which was fine with me.
I couldn't wait to meet him.

I really didn't understand.
When the doctor said that our baby had passed away.
How could that possibly be?
He was fine.
Just a few hours ago he was fine.

I was just so very wrong.
Nothing is fine.
Nothing is ok.
And I'm not sure it ever will be.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Un-Thanksgiving...

I wrote last week about how I'm struggling with gratitude. I've decided I just can't do it. I can't feel grateful. I think feeling gratitude requires a level of humility I just cannot muster this year. And I don't feel humble. I feel bitter. So I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving today. Because as many things as there are in my life to be thankful for, the one thing, the one person who is most important, is not here. Not having Ezra here overshadows everything.

My dad came home from the hospital today, and that's a HUGE thing to be thankful for. So I renamed today 'Thanksfordaddy day' and I'm leaving it at that. Its all I can handle.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My New Necklace

Ezra is always with me wherever I go.
Now I wear something to remind everyone else about him too.
The letters spell Ezra in Hebrew.

The Walking Wounded

As some of you know, my dad had quadruple bypass surgery yesterday. He made it through ok - he's in a lot of pain but stable in the ICU. He'll be in the hospital for the coming week.

Unfortunately, seeing my Dad in the ICU set off intense flashbacks of Ezra's death. The beeping machines, the IV drips, the blood pressure monitor brought it all back in such an intense way, as if Ezra just died. I started crying and couldn't stop, couldn't breath in fact. I left the ICU with tears streaming down my face, afraid my Dad would notice something amiss. I stayed in the hallway, trying to breath, trying to stop seeing Ezra's lifeless body on the ultrasound screen.

"Your baby has passed away."

Friday was 12 weeks since Ezra left, 12 weeks since the world still seemed like a bright place. 12 weeks since I still had hope, and expectation, and could imagine Ezra's life ahead. All that hope and energy has been replaced by darkness. There isn't very much to look forward to now that I'm a mama without her baby.

We babylost mamas are like the walking wounded. We may appear fine on the outside. I've lost count of how many people have told me "I look good," with a hint of surprise in their voice. But regardless of what I look like, I'm not good, not good at all, whether anyone can see it or not. And I walk through the world, never sure what trauma trigger might be lurking behind the next corner. A pregnant stranger. A newborn baby. A beeping machine.

I have heard people talk about the narcissim of grief, the way grief turns you inward and everything you experience relates back to your loss. I feel guilty that my dad successfully surviving surgery becomes about me, about losing Ezra. I want to be able to be there for my dad, to support my mom, as they were there for me when Ezra died. But I think its unavoidable I'm seeing this all through the lens of losing Ezra. I don't have any other tools for relating to the world right now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Struggling with Gratitude

Gratitude is absolutely the hardest emotion for me right now.

Tonight at yoga class, the teacher asked us to look into the space behind our hearts, where we hold all that we are grateful for. She asked us to reach into that space and focus on one thing or person for which we are grateful, to which we would dedicate our practice.

I thought of Ezra and of course started to cry. I am grateful for the 8 months he lived inside of me. Ezra brought me so much joy in his short life...I have never been so insanely happy as I was when I was pregnant with him. And yet I expected so much more...I expected a lifetime. How can I feel satisfied with just 8 months? Will I ever be at peace enough with losing him that I will be able to feel pure gratitude for the time I did have him?

Of course I am grateful for many people in my life. My amazing and loving husband David. The friends, family and acquaintances who packed our house each night of shiva. Everyone who has taken care of us in ways big and small in the 12 weeks since Ezra left us. The extraordinary community of babylost mamas that I have met here online who prop me up day by day.

And yet something is missing.
I don't feel fully grateful for anything right now.
Not without Ezra
Not without my son.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I guess I’ve passed into that angry stage of grief, the anger that all those grief books talk about. Before, the anger was just simmering beneath the surface, boiling over only rarely from time to time. Like when I saw a pregnant woman in the furniture store, asking about rocking chairs for her nursery…I wanted to scream at her “don’t buy one! You might not get a baby in the end!” But I didn’t…I walked away and took a few deep breaths.

But now it’s boiled over. And there’s a good reason…we learned at the beginning of this week that my dad needs bypass surgery. Apparently he’s had 2 silent heart attacks sometime in the past several years. My 70 year old dad, who still works full time, harder than I do, who plays tennis 4 to 5 times a week, who plays piano and takes weekly lessons…my dad who delights in everyone he meets and who makes everyone smile…could die.

The doctors, and just about everyone I know keep telling me that this surgery is common these days, that most people respond wonderfully and live many years after to tell the story. I don’t care. I don’t believe in probabilities anymore. Most babies live. A lot of good that does me.

And I don’t trust doctors anymore. Perfectly healthy babies inside perfectly healthy mamas die. With no explanation. What good is modern medicine anyway?

And so the rage boils over.
I’m mad at the world.
Furious that the universe seems to be having a long belly laugh at my expense.
Now I’d like to scream and shake every pregnant woman I see…
”It just might NOT turn out ok!”
I’d like to beat someone up.
Or break things.
Or scream until I can scream no more.

And I’m not even scared of my anger anymore.
I was before, when those moments of rage would pierce my otherwise serene self-pity.
But now I own it.
My rage in its full technicolor glory.

I've laughed a lot more this week.
But it's a bitter laugh, not happy at all.
Life just feels like a big conspiracy.

I am just so angry.
And Ezra

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pure Joy

I don't smile very much lately. But a recent visit to a dear friend and her beautiful daughters made me smile a whole lot. More than I have in two and a half months since Ezra died. These little girls are pure joy. I couldn't help myself. Little do these beautiful girls know how much they rejuvenated their Aunt Sarah. I love them very much. And I'm grateful to their mommy and daddy for letting them cheer me up. At least for a little while.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Holding onto Hope

Dear Ezra,

On November 4, 2008 a new era began in our country; Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States. He’s a man who, just like you, has a white mother and a black father. And more importantly he represents hope…true hope that the promise of equality of opportunity means something real. Hope that our country can change. Pure hope.

Our dreams for you were so tied into our dreams for an Obama presidency. And so it made sense that the very first time I felt you kick was when we joined 35,000 others on Independence Mall to rally for this man we wanted to be President. And my second to last memory of you moving inside of me was during Obama's speech at the Democratic moved so much I imagined your fist in the air, saying 'yes, I want this man to be President.'

I had imagined so many times taking you with me to vote for our new President. It took me over two hours just to get out of bed to go vote I was so sad you weren’t here. But then as I was walking across to the polling place, I felt your presence so strongly with me. In the afternoon, I spent several hours knocking on doors making sure our neighbors had voted, and as the afternoon passed I was filled with such a sense of purpose…it was the first time since you died that I felt anything I was doing had any purpose, other than grieving you. By the time I returned home, despite achy feet and legs, drenched from rain and sweat, I was nearly giddy.

In the evening I climbed in bed to watch the results come in. Daddy came home and joined me. And when the polls closed on the west coast and they announced Obama had won, I began to weep tears of joy, until they quickly became deep sobs of sadness and sorrow. I expected you to be here to see this, I so wanted you to be here to see this, and I still can’t quite believe that you aren’t here.

Last weekend, two other babylost mamas I know made a shrine to their babies in a park in San Francisco for Day of the Dead. Not only did they include your name and those of many other babies who are no longer with us, they included space for others to add names. Someone added ‘to the ones we gave back’ and ever since they told me about it I’ve been intrigued by the idea. To the ones we gave back…

Is it possible, Ezra, that I had to give you back, for a new day to come in this country? I’ve never subscribed to that notion of justice, an eye for an eye and all that. And yet I can’t quite shake the notion. Your middle name, Malik, was not only for my grandmother Marion, but also for Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, a placeholder for our expectations that you would share our passionate desire for social justice, for repairing the world. We hadn’t considered until after you died that, like you, Martin and Malcolm and your great-grandmother Marion all died before their time, before their work was done. Your daddy and I honor your memory by continuing to repair the world, even though we feel so broken without you.

And this great man, our new President, Barack Obama, also seeks to repair the world. Already he has united so many behind that dream, a dream of mending that which divides us.

Hope is not something that comes easily to me since you left us Ezra. And yet I still have hope. Most days I don’t even know why. And yet this man, Barack Obama, brings me hope.

Barack. ‘Blessing’ in Swahili.
Like Baruch in Hebrew
Bless Obama
Bless us all.


Monday, November 3, 2008

I Wanted a Baby and all I got was this Blue Box

I woke up this morning in a terrible mood, lower than I've been in awhile (which is pretty low already) and decided I wanted to look at Ezra's memory box. The kind nurses at Pennsylvania Hospital put the box together for us, as I guess they do for all the babylost mamas, with momentos of Ezra's short stay on this earth. The box has Ezra's tiny foot prints, with those tiny tiny toes and his daddy's flat feet. There's a lock of his amazing black curly hair (we thought he'd have no hair, like both of us, when we were born), and the tiny hat he was wearing when I held him in my arms. And the blanket and matching shirt and hat they dressed him in for his beautiful angel photo. And a few other things like the measuring tape the nurse used to chart out his 18 inches, and his hospital arm band.

At around 2am the day after I delivered Ezra, the nurse came in to give me the box. She wanted to make sure it didn't get lost, that I didn't get separated from Ezra's box. How I howled at that poor woman, I didn't want a box, I wanted my baby! And I screamed at her to get it out of my sight. Gently she put it away with my things, in the overnight bag I had packed with such excitement a few weeks earlier in anticipation of the arrival of my son.

A few days after I returned home from the hospital I did open the box...and I cried and smiled all at once...I do that a lot these days. Cried that I did not have Ezra in my arms...smiled at these tangible rembrances of him.

The box still brings me some comfort...although I really didn't ask for a box...I wanted a real live baby to hold and nurse and introduce to the world.

Never has a plan I made fallen so flat on its face.

And so instead of a baby I have a box.
A blue box.
A box of memories
And a broken heart.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Unbearable Sadness of Being

What's it like to me these days? Just incredibly pathetically sad. I go through every day with that hardness at the back of my throat, like I'm just about to cry. And then I do cry. Every day. Since Ezra died, I cry like I've never cried before. It's a cry that comes from deep within me, a cry of anguish. If I ever thought I knew sadness before this I was wrong...I have never known true sadness until now.

I keep trying to figure out when I became a character in this tragic play. I don't even recognize myself. I call this character Sad Sarah, the one who looks back at me in the mirror with those sad sad eyes. David too has transformed into another character in the same tragedy, Doleful David I call him. Together, we march along on this journey of pathos, so disconnected from our former selves.

I truly believe I have lost my capacity to feel joy. Fleeting moments of happiness are still possible. I still smile from time to time, even laugh. But the sadness is always there, gnawing at my soul. My father admitted that after I called from the hospital to say our baby was gone, that driving in the car there, he wondered if I would ever smile again. Smile I will...I can't help myself...but not in the same way.

Joy is so elusive right now that happy moments make me burst into tears..the contrast to my sadness is just too much to bear. Dancing the hora at my friend's wedding this weekend was one of those moments...I wanted to celebrate the couple's love, this celebration of their union...and yet despite my intent, the tears bubbled to the surface, uncontrollably.

The depth of the sadness is so great, that I don't even know how I'm a walking, talking, functioning person right now. It surprises me every day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Face to Face with G-d

On the way to Shabbat services Friday night, David turned to me and said, "When you look at Ezra's photo, it's like looking at the face of G-d." "Yes," I said, "isn't that the point?"

For a Jew and an adopted Jew, neither of whom believe in an anthropomorphic G-d, this might seem like a strange assertion. And yet I believe G-d, or some universal power, is expressed in all of us, and since Ezra left us, I have never been so convinced of this. Losing Ezra has challenged my faith in so many things, and yet it has renewed my faith in people. Each night of shiva, as our house was packed with people, our friends and family, but also colleagues, acquaintances, members of our synagogue previously unknown to us, I came to understand the true meaning of compassion and of community.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Story of Ezra Malik Katz Love

I was blessed with the happiest, healthiest, most blissful pregnancy imaginable. David and I planned and planned for when we would have a child, even postponed trying when he was looking to switch jobs. I became pregnant very quickly, our second month of trying, and we couldn’t have been happier. We found out I was pregnant 5 days before my 33rd birthday – Ezra was the best birthday present for which I could have hoped. When we heard that heartbeat at our first prenatal visit, it sounded like birds’ wings flapping very fast, and we knew it was love.

I loved every moment of being pregnant with Ezra. In the first couple months I had a lot of indigestion and all I could eat were crackers and ginger ale. I was also completely exhausted. I would come home from work and climb right into bed – a couple times David had to bring me something to eat for dinner in bed and I ate and then fell asleep right away. But by week eleven and a half, the indigestion went away and I got my energy back.

Then I just started growing. Each week I’d get larger and larger. I was quickly wearing maternity clothes. And toward the end it felt like I was growing exponentially each day. I felt heavy and had a harder time walking around. My feet hurt at the end of each day and David rubbed them every night. He got really good at foot massages!

Ezra really showed off at the 21 week ultrasound. He moved and moved, making it hard for the technician to take the pictures he needed. He waved at us and rolled over back and forth. We were given a photo and David was convinced that the shape of his head looked just like his. David kept saying you looked familiar, like he had seen you before.

The ultrasound was also when we found out Ezra was a boy. At that point we knew his name would be Ezra Malik because we had chosen that as a boy’s name before we even were serious about getting married. David and I had a conversation about what we would name a child if we stayed together and had a family. We wanted a name that would reflect both our cultures. We also wanted to name our child after relatives who had passed. Ezra is for Eugene, my mother’s father. It means “helper” in Hebrew. Malik is for Marion, my mother’s mother; it means “king” in Arabic – in Hebrew it is Melech. Malik is also culturally an African-American name and is also reflective of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi. Since we wanted to follow Jewish tradition and not announce his name until he was born, with our family and some friends we just referred to Ezra as “E”.

As the weeks progressed Ezra moved around more and more. His tiny kicks became giant swells back and forth as he moved around. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing in there. Everytime someone asked “how’s the baby?,” I’d say “busy.” I was convinced he was playing games in there, or building something.

When Ezra moved around a lot, David would have conversations with him. He’d tell Ezra to quiet down and be nice to his mommy. He’d tell Ezra about his cousins KJ, Zora and Evan. He’d tell Ezra about his cats Red and Zora (yes, he explained, Ezra has a cousin and a cat named Zora – one is a girl and one is a grey cat). And he told Ezra about his grandparents. And he’d always end what he was saying with “The Daddy has spoken.” That always made me laugh.

The very first time David talked to Ezra when he was kicking, he put his ear to my belly to see if he’d respond. Ezra kicked him in the head! And hard! We laughed and laughed.
David and I would lie in bed and David would put his hand on my belly where Ezra was moving. I loved being able to share what I was feeling with David that way.

As it got closer to Ezra’s due date (Oct. 13, 2008), David and I did a lot to get his room ready. David painted the room a bright sunny yellow. And then together we put up a wall border with cute cartoon farm animals. The whole room was going to have those farm animals. We got furniture from neighbors and I cleaned everything so it would be ready for Ezra. The weekend Ezra died we had planned to go to Babies R Us and buy a few more things to finish off the room so it would be ready.

The Wednesday before Ezra died, we had dinner at our friends’ house, and they lent us a bunch of baby things that were their daughter’s like burp cloths and onesies and receiving blankets. The night before Ezra died was the last night of the Democratic convention. While we were watching, I labeled all of these baby things and then washed them. During Obama’s speech, Ezra was kicking and stretching – I could tell he liked it. Since the clothes weren’t dry when Obama was done, I put them through the dryer again. They were still there when Ezra died and David had to take them out once he came home from the hospital.

The day Ezra died started out fine. I went to work feeling fine. One of my clients called as I was walking into my office, so I talked to her for a bit and hung up. A couple minutes later my doctor’s office called; the nurse said my doctor had tried to reach me the afternoon before, that the lab results had come back with protein in my urine and I needed to go to the hospital for further testing. I hadn’t gotten the doctor’s message, and I was kind of annoyed because I had been calling all week for the lab results and they hadn’t been back. And I felt fine. But I quickly asked a coworker to handle my case in court and I walked down to the hospital.

A week and half before Ezra died I had a prenatal appointment. The urine test said there was protein in my urine. So he sent me for another urine test and blood work that I did that week. So I was waiting for the results.

Being at the hospital for the tests was awful. They catheterized me to collect my urine, took tons of blood, had me hooked up to a blood pressure machine. I was there for nearly 5 hours. The only thing that made it bearable the whole time was that Ezra was on the fetal monitor and I could hear his heart beat and his moving around. When Ezra moved, I heard a ‘swoosh swoosh’ like he was swimming. Ultimately they figured out that the lab had written the protein level per ml rather than over the 24 hour period so the level wasn’t as high as the doctor had thought. He wouldn’t have sent me for the tests if the lab report had been written differently. The doctor sent me home because although my blood pressure was a little high, Ezra looked healthy and great and all the other labs were coming back normal. The doctor figured my blood pressure would come back down if I could go home and rest.

While I was at the hospital for the tests, David came to be with me. When they released me, I wasn’t feeling that good. But I hadn’t eaten or drank for about 5 hours so David brought me home and I ate and drank a little and climbed in bed. But I wasn’t feeling well. I was feeling really crampy like I had to poop but couldn’t. I called my doctor’s office and a midwife called me back and told me to try to get more fluid and food down. I made myself drink 3 glasses of water. But I was feeling worse and worse. My doctor called to apologize for putting me through all the tests. I told him I wasn’t feeling well but he agreed with the midwife’s advice. Then I started to be able to poop a little…I was relieved because I thought I would feel better if I could just poop. But then I started throwing up. I threw up every ounce of anything that was in my belly – basically a turkey sandwich and a lot of yellowish orange liquid – I had a glass of orange juice with the turkey sandwich and there was mustard on the sandwich – the rest was all that water. I never want to see a turkey sandwich again.

I called the doctor’s office again. I said I wasn’t sure if I was in labor. This time the midwife asked if my uterus was getting hard and soft, hard and then soft. I realized that it was just hard. She told me to come to the hospital. I took a quick shower, put on clean clothes and David drove me back to Pennsylvania Hospital. When we got there, they admitted me and the first thing they did was try to put the fetal monitor on. They couldn’t find Ezra’s heart beat. Lots of other people came into the room. An ultrasound machine was wheeled in. There was lots of motion but nobody was saying anything. Finally the doctor said ‘The reason we haven’t been saying anything is that I wanted to be sure I was seeing what I am not seeing, and that is the baby’s heart beat. And that’s because your baby has passed away.’

David started crying. I started screaming hysterically. It was like an out of body experience where I was watching a movie about a hysterical woman who has been told her baby has died. I was screaming but he was fine all day. I was just here this morning. Everything was ok. How could this happen? David called his mom. I didn’t want to call my parents, I just kept screaming. I finally calmed down enough to call my parents. I got my Mom on her cell phone and told her that our baby had died. She asked how do you know? I told her that we were at the hospital. She said they were coming down to the hospital.

Eventually they told me that I would need to be induced, that I needed to give birth to Ezra. I asked if I could have a c-section, they told me it wasn’t a good idea medically. They explained that the drug they would use, mizo, would simulate going into labor, first softening and thinning my cervix and then causing dilation and contractions. It would take a long time, possibly 24 hours. They recommended an epidural, which I hadn’t wanted – I wanted to have a natural birth. But given the circumstances I didn’t really have a choice.

By the time we got back to the hospital, I was pre-eclamptic. My blood pressure was high and there was protein in my urine. So I had to be on an IV drug called magnesium sulfate the whole time I was in the hospital. It’s an anti-seizure medication and it makes you feel awful – hot, woozy – I hated it.

They gave me the first dose of mizo at 11pm on Friday night. Four hours later I was 1 cm dilated and they gave me the next dose. I was still 1 cm dilated four hours after that. At the next dose I was 1.5 cm dilated. But once labor began it happened really fast. I was 3 cm, then 5, then 7 then 10 and pushing –I fully dilated and pushed Ezra out in just an hour.

Even with the epidural, it hurt giving birth. Several times they upped the medication in the epidural. David was right by my side the whole time I gave birth to Ezra. He helped, first holding my hand and then eventually holding my leg up as I pushed Ezra out. He was so focused it helped me so much. David was so focused that even though he had been splashed with amniotic fluid when Ezra came out he didn’t want to leave to wash his hands. I had to tell him it was ok to go wash his hands.

The minute Ezra was born I wanted to see him and hold him. They took Ezra to clean him up and I had to deliver the placenta. Before I gave birth I wanted to see Ezra but wasn’t sure I would hold him. As soon as he came out I wanted to hold him and I told the nurse.

I delivered the placenta and the doctor told me she could see the big blood clot on it, the blood clot that killed Ezra. Even David could see the blood clot.

Holding Ezra was amazing yet overwhelming. Ezra is a beautiful baby and David and I were surprised at how much he looks like both of us. He has David’s nose and forehead, but my eyebrows and mouth and rosy cheeks. And he has a full head of hair and tiny ears and hands and feet. Ezra is just so perfect. I wanted to hold Ezra but it was also overwhelming to hold him. Eventually I just couldn’t handle it and I needed for them to take Ezra away. I kissed Ezra on the head as we do in our family – David and I often kiss each other on the head and we kissed Ezra too. David held Ezra in his arms and he did so well – he is usually uncomfortable holding babies but he held Ezra close and supported his head. It was just so hard.

I had to be in the hospital for a full day after I gave birth to Ezra. They kept me on the magnesium sulfate for another 24 hours, and then I had to stay 4 more hours to have it wear off. They gave me the option of staying another night, but I wanted to go home so I could snuggle with David. It was too hard being away from David.

We decided to sit shiva and then have a private funeral for Ezra. We called our rabbi, and she and my parents helped us make the plans. As we were making the decisions about how to bury our son, in a rare private moment at the hospital, I asked David if he was ok with all of the Jewish traditions we were going to follow. He turned to me and said, “Ezra’s Jewish, of course we are going to follow Jewish tradition.” I have never loved David more, than at that moment.

Since Ezra’s passing, I have learned that grief takes us to depths we never before could imagine. With each passing day of this journey, I have discovered that grief is an exercise in the unexpected. One moment I will feel some hope that things might just be ok, only to spiral hopelessly off a cliff of despair. If anything, the more time that passes, the harder it gets, as the reality that Ezra is gone sinks in. Ezra taught me many things in his short life, and he continues to teach me every day. Ezra may not be in my arms, but he is forever in my heart.


I wrote the following in my journal on September 19, 2008

Dear Ezra,

I was never happier than when I was pregnant with you. I have never been so sad as I am now that you died. You were my entire purpose. Now life has no purpose. Except missing you.


Although I wrote this before finding it, this echoes the words in one of my now favorite books, Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, where she writes: "This is the happiest story in the world, with the saddest ending." The book chronicles McCracken's first pregnancy which resulted in the stillbirth of her first son, and her subsequent pregnancy resulting in her living son. I'd like to pass this book out to everyone so you know how I'm feeling. Instead I'll just include the link to it on Amazon:

Daddy's Poem

Just after Ezra died, his daddy wrote a poem which he read each night of shiva and at the funeral. It is posted below and can also be found on his daddy's blog:

Please Excuse Me While I Grieve For My Son, Ezra
By His Daddy, David A. Love

Please excuse me while I grieve for my boy…

The other day I was walking through the maternity ward
At Pennsylvania Hospital,
And a nurse asked me if I was an expectant father.I told her no, my baby just died.
Later that day, a man asked me if I was expecting a baby,
I told him no, I just lost my son.

You haven’t heard his story, because it hasn’t been told,
And yet he is unable to tell you, so I will speak for him.

His name is Ezra Malik Katz Love,
And he came to us during this season,
Pregnant with the promise of hope
And filled with the possibilities of change,
Ezra gave us so much joy in such a short time,
But what do you do, what can you say,
When you have to give birth to your child
The day after he died.

Please excuse me while I mourn my beautiful boy Ezra…

How did he get this name?
Ezra means helper in Hebrew;
he was named in honor of Eugene,
His mother’s mother’s father.

Malik means king in Arabic, Melech in the Hebrew,
Named in honor of Marion, his mother’s mother’s mother,
But also named in honor of Malcolm and Martin, of course.
And Mahatma and Medgar for that matter.
All of them left us before their time, before their work was done.

Ezra Malik - a beautiful boy, a remarkable boy,
He borrowed his mommy’s eyes, lips and rosy cheeks,
And his daddy’s nose - and the trademark Love family forehead,
And he has a full head of black hair.

But where on Earth did he get those long legs?
Perhaps it was from some distant ancestor, African or Jew,
Who had to cover a lot of ground in a short time,
Someone who was heading up some social movement,
Fighting the powers that be, or running away from them,
Or running towards them,
Or driving out the oppressors from the land,
Or setting the captives free.

Please excuse me while I mourn my little man, my Ezra Malik…

I saw my boy for only a brief moment,
Held him in my arms and kissed him on the head,
But I had many joyous conversations with him
When his mother was his home,
I told him about the world and about his family,
About his grandparents and his cousins, and his two cats,
And he was a good boy, he always listened,
He responded to his daddy’s words by kicking his mommy’s belly…with those long legs of his.

I wanted to see him grow up,
But the Universe had other ideas, other plans for him,
Perhaps I’ll never understand,
I’ll always wonder what could have been, what would have been,
What should have been.

So, please excuse me while I grieve for my son Ezra…I miss him, and I love him very much.

On the Occasion of Saying Kaddish for My Dear Son Ezra

A week to the day after Ezra died, I awoke at 6am from a fitful sleep and wrote this poem. I read it at the last two nights of shiva, and at his funeral.

To my dear son Ezra.

For nearly eight months my belly was your home;
Our little “E” as you were known;
Your full name a secret to all but us;
We planned to announce your birth with such great fuss.

Your daddy and I took such pride;
As my body swelled and grew so wide.
Each night daddy rubbed my feet;
As we dreamed of the day when we would meet.

Our dear son Ezra.

As the weeks progressed, you made quite a din;
With kicks, punches and stretches from within.
Your daddy and I watched my stomach ripple and move;
It was just your way of showing you have groove.

Do you remember the time you kicked Daddy in the head?
He had leaned close to my belly to see if you’d heard what he said.
Thump! You got him in the ear;
It was one of those moments we both hold dear.

A memory of our dear son Ezra.

We’d dream and dream of what the future would hold;
Expecting the mark you’d leave on the world would be bold.
Columbia or Harvard Class of 2031?
We’d lie to each other about not caring which one.

Ezra Malik Katz Love -- such a great big name;
Because we anticipated accomplishments and fame.
How could a ‘helping king’ not be a social justice leader?
We never imagined you wouldn’t be here…

My dear son Ezra.

So now as we recite the Kaddish in your memory each night;
The words of the prayer stick in my throat so tight.
How many times have I said this prayer for the dead?
But I just cannot stand the prayer being read.

Ezra, I never expected to say Kaddish for you;
I just want you here to hold and rock and coo.
Daddy and I just want you know;
That we miss you terribly and love you so.