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.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful tribute to you gorgeous son. You write so beautifully, Sarah and your love for him comes through so strong. I always thought he had a little grin on his face too - so handsome and strong.

Hope's Mama said...

so very lovely Sarah xo

Barbara said...

Oh how beautiful Sarah, just wonderful.

CLC said...

Beautiful post Sarah. Ezra is well loved and missed. And he knows that.

Gal aka SuperMommy said...

I can see him smiling! I remember the first time I visited your blog and saw his photo, I thought, "He looks so peaceful, like he's smiling in his dreams." My dad still reads Goodnight Moon when he visits Tikva's grave, reading it to her like he did every time he came to see her at the hospital. It's his way of connecting to her. I don't think I can ever look at that book the same. I will always be here to remind you that you ARE a mama and always will be Ezra's Mama. Always.

Rach said...

Such beautiful, beautiful words. x

Lani said...

oh sarah, that brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. what you wrote is so amazing and beautiful but just so sad. i feel it too. everything you said, just like everything all of us say every day could have been written by any one of us. thinking of you guys during this tough time.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing all these reminders of ezra. i feel like i was there with you and can imagine him wrapped in that beautiful blanket. i reminds me of lev also wrapped in a blanket, a quilt that arik made for him. never did we imagine he'd be buried in it. it's not what any of us ever imagined and yet we are all here together, with such similar feelings and memories.