Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I'm falling
or falling apart.
these last two days.

An ambulance, lights and siren on, on a certain stretch of road—it is the route we traveled, Henry and I, that day in September. Seeing the ambulance, I am not there, not in the back with Henry and the oxygen and my bag jammed under my feet. I'm not there, but the terror grips my heart for a moment and I cry out.

State-insurance paperwork, poorly worded confusing questions, like the reams I filled out to get Henry enrolled in services when he was in the hospital. It took me a month or more. I was thick-headed, uncertain about how to fill out to forms. When is says you does it mean me or him? Here it means you. There it is him. Pages to determine what he can do or can't do. Dress himself, feed himself, walk, speak . . . he's 6 months old. I don't know the numbers, don't have the paperwork I need. I went back to the financial aid office again and again and again. He was finally approved. The letter was sent the day he died. Today I filled out some of the same paperwork to get assistance with our insurance premiums. All that came flooding back with a stack of paper today.

Last night, Kathleen woke and would not settle. I rocked and rocked her. She would almost fall asleep and then jerk herself up. She grabbed hold of my pajamas. "You can let go," I told her, wanting her to give in to the sleep she so needed. But I have said those words before, and the memory gripped me. And I spiraled down, down, down.

I said those words in October 2007, the night we thought Henry might die. I looked at his pale little body, laid out under the lights, covered with more tube and wires and equipment than I had seen even right after his surgery. He had already been through so much. "If you've had enough, you can let go. You can stop." Did I mean it? I wanted him to go if he was ready, not wait for me, for I would never really be ready, no matter what I told him. "You can let go. But please, wait until Daddy gets here." And he did. Brian arrived, my sisters, my in-laws, my parents were already there. They set aside a room for our family to wait in. Henry started to look just a wee bit pinker. His numbers looked better. To hear my mom tell the story now, she was foolish to call and worry everyone. But he almost died that night. He did, and I tried to let him go if he needed to.

In December I said it again as I felt him slipping from me, as I sang to him the names of all the people who loved him, I was trying so hard to hold on to him. My mom heard my singing, but didn't understand. "I can't hear you. I don't know what you are saying." And I shushed her away, my song the last thread between me and my baby.

Twice I told my baby he could let go, he could go, he could be free from all his little body had put him through.
Twice I tried to mean it, but couldn't really.
You can let go.

He finally did.
And then I had to.
Had to let go.
Let go of the thread of song.
Let go eventually of his body.
And now I struggle:
How do I hold on to him and let him go at the same time?

I'm falling apart
falling into deep waters, flailing, drowning.
Just two days ago, I wrote to Sally about healing.
Just over a week ago, I wrote of the lifting that came with the passing of December.
And today, I sat on my kitchen floor and wept.
I sat and could do nothing else.

And now, I have pulled the pieces together again
and I sit with the drained, weary feeling that comes
after the sobbing and the memories.
And I wonder if the sun will shine tomorrow
or if I'll fall a little more.


  1. Oh Sara. It seems to happen so unexpectedly doesn't it? This sudden plunging back down.

    The song that you sang to Henry. Just beautiful.

    'How do I hold on to him and let him go at the same time?'
    I only wish I knew. But you've articulated the question perfectly.

    Hoping for some sunshine for you tomorrow. x

  2. The shocking crush of the waves is intense. So quick and unexpected. I'm sorry you are in the pit, being tortured by memories. This existence is so damn hard at times... and then at others the peace we can feel is amazing. Thinking of you in your darkness, hoping that peace will ripple into your heart soon.

  3. Sending love and warm hugs. It never gets any easier, does it?

  4. Thank you for being here with/for me.
    Catherine, I did get some sunshine this morning. The day started off feeling completely different.
    Amy, thank you for reminding me there are moments of peace that come. Sometimes it is hard to remember or to believe they are real when you are in the pit.
    Sally, I still hold that it does get easier . . . you just never know when it's going to get harder again.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. I've had to sit on this post for a while. I identified with so much. We were passed by an ambulance last week and it took me straight back to my experience with Jordan, the pain raw and throbbing.

    Letting go was so hard. So much harder for us I think, than our babes. I always felt that Jordan was waiting for me to be ready. When I was, she flew.

    Thinking of you and Henry.

  6. I'm late to commenting, but I'm here too, Sara - listening, thinking of you, and sending love.

  7. Sweetheart... I'm sorry your feeling this rush of intense memories and the pain. It's so sudden at times those thoughts and feelings that bring us back to the hardest moments. I am thinking of you and Henry, wishing you peace and light.