I sit in Yom Kippur services, and the Rabbi shares these words of Martin Luther King Jr., "He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."
Unlike last year at this time, when the pain of Ezra's death was too raw and new, I approached the Days of Awe this year with a certain peace, a renewed sense of possibility. Yet leading up to Yom Kippur, I have struggled with the notion of asking forgiveness. I am able to accept that I am imperfect, yet not quite able to muster the humility necessary to ask forgiveness of others. Shouldn't the Universe be asking forgiveness of me? Afterall, it was my son she wrenched away.
Sitting in the Yizkor (memorial) service in the waning hours of the day, we are asked to close our eyes and envision our loved one sitting with us. What does he say to us? What do we say to him?
I summon the vision of my perfect son, my Ezra Malik, his tiny hands and feet, his serene yet wry smile, his slight weight in my arms the only occasion I held him, the peaceful look on his face as we spent time with him before returning him to the earth. And these words flash through my mind:
And the tears begin to fall.
I'm sorry, my sweet son, that I did not realize what was happening as you slipped away. I'm sorry that my womb, the one place that should have been safe, became your deathbed. I'm sorry that your birthday, so very anticipated, was somber, and so very very silent.
But mostly, my sweet Ezra, I am sorry for the walks we never took, and the songs we never sang; For the first steps you never stepped, and the first teeth you never grew; For the subjects you never studied, and the books you never read; For the passions that never stirred your heart, and the adventures you never had; For the loves you never loved, and even the hurt you never felt. For all this and so much more, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
But Mama, Ezra replies, It's ok. All I ever knew was love.
Yes my sweet Ezra, and it will never feel like enough.
Today, on his first birthday I am remembering Silas Orion, the beautiful son of Lani and Chris. In a less chaotic world, sweet Silas would be toddling around at his birthday party with a face smeared with cake. Instead, today I see him in the warmth of the sun and the breeze in the trees. Sending warm wishes for peace to Lani and Chris on Silas' day.
Today we visited the MFM and got another peek at our little boy. Everything looks healthy and great, which is reassuring. We were asked permission to allow a resident to do part of our scan, which actually was wonderful because as she fumbled and took longer to do everything, we got to spend so much longer peering at the images of Sunflower on the screen. Sunflower showed off throughout, squirming and dancing - he even stuck out his tongue just as we got a direct view of his face - an attitude already!
These last several weeks since Ezra's 1st birthday and the 20 week ultrasound have been a time of seismic change. As the seasons turn, I feel myself caught up in a change I can't even completely describe, but I feel it growing within me. There was so much fear and anxiety wrapped up into the last week of August. I had worked myself up into such a state leading up to the 20 week ultrasound, expecting bad news because that's just what this year has wrought. Reaching Ezra's birthday and beyond has been a process of letting go, of confronting head on where I am in my grief for Ezra, and in my ever-growing joy for Sunflower. I have found myself so much more present in the joy.
In the past several weeks, I have found myself doing things that never would have been possible anytime this past year. I held my third and fourth babies since Ezra. I sought out these babies, made sure that I would get a chance to hold them, play with them, feel their snugly warmth and marvel at their adorable smiles. It felt GREAT and incredibly healing. I also attended a bris (a Jewish circumcision ceremony that is held when the baby boy is 8 days old). I had planned to have a bris for Ezra, which of course never got to happen. This bris was a beautiful ceremony, and I openly cried...but they were tears of joy, and I felt so blessed to be part of this simcha, this celebration.
The fear and anxiety are a constant presence in this pregnancy, I doubt there any way to completely avoid these emotions (other than heavy heavy denial). But the growing joy is ever-present too, as Sunflower grows. Almost despite myself I have regained some of that pregnant glow I had with Ezra. I love when Sunflower squirms and kicks. Despite feeling like a hippo, I love my ever-blossoming belly. I love that Sunflower has shared with us his real name (and no, I will not share it until he is born). And although it shocked me at first, I love that I am mama to another son.
The Jewish New Year begins tonight. I had no clue how I would feel as this time of year came. And yet riding the wave of this seismic change, I feel just present enough in hope and joy to believe that this new year might just bring some light. I am positive it will also bring heartbreak...this past year has taught me so much about the co-mingling of the light and the dark, of devastation and joy. But somehow I feel ready for the journey.
L'shanah tovah...wishing everyone a sweet and beautiful New Year.
Just wanted to let you know that Frank Bennett (a babylost daddy from the M.I.S.S. forum), has started Daddy's Breath, a brand new Facebook group for grieving fathers. Click here to link to the group and join. Also, people can email Frank with any comments or suggestions. Thanks to Frank for doing this! A Facebook group for grieving fathers is way way overdue, and this is a great chance for fathers to get involved and express their feelings for their lost children. Please spread the word, and I hope to see you there!
Today I am heartbroken for Mirne and Craig, who just lost the third of their children, a precious son named Jet, who only lived three days. He joins his sister Freyja and brother Kees. Today I am howling the name Jet from the rooftops and in the streets. There is something so very wrong with the Universe that two such loving parents would be allowed to suffer such unending heartbreak.
On August 29, 2008, after 33 weeks and 5 days of the most blissfully happy unproblematic pregnancy imaginable, my world came crashing down when my son Ezra Malik died in utero. I was induced and gave birth to Ezra on August 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm. He is 4 lbs, 18 inches and has the most amazing combination of his mommy and daddy's features. He is perfect in every way. We later learned he died from a placental abruption. His mommy and daddy love him dearly and miss him terribly. Ezra taught me much in his short life, and he continues to teach me every day as I journey on my own path of grief. I created this blog both to record Ezra's life, but also to create a venue to share some of Ezra's lessons as time passes and I am more able to articulate what they are. I will update it from time to time when I feel able.