Monday, March 13, 2017

Not-Me

I haven't shaved my head in two years. I've forgotten how it feels...

I have an image of myself, a picture in my head.
And when I walk by a mirror, I'm a bit shocked. What's wrong with me? Who is that?

"Are you yourself again?"
I think that people look at me and they can forget. You can forget that I am not now and never will be the person that I was before Sam died.

For the most part, I am the person you know. The person who laughs and tells jokes and (even if my children disagree) is very, very funny. The person who bakes scads of hamantaschen and tells stories and plays Uno.

But it's always, always there. I am never ever going to be myself again.

I guess I'm a new me.

I realized that a lot has happened in two years. New people, new faces, new friends, new acquaintances. People who didn't really know the me that was me. The me that would never have dreamed of shaving her head. The me with four healthy kids, the me who didn't really know that it was so easy to go from me to not-me in just the blink of an eye.

Yael shaved too. And she's dealing with the in-between-ness of tween-ness. So she cried a little before school today, worried that someone would say something hurtful about her shorn head.

Before bed, we talked.
"How did it go?" I asked. "Not bad," she said. "We did talk about my hair a LOT."

"That's good," I told her. "It's one of the reasons we shave. Not just to raise money - even though that is important. But to get people to ask us about our funny hairdos. And we can tell them about raising money for St Baldrick's and about Sammy."

She wanted to shave. And she didn't want to shave. And now that she's done it, she's proud, she's good, she's really good. But she's sad. And so am I. Because right now neither one of us can hide behind the pretend-me-that-isn't-quite-me.

I'll never be (quite) myself again.

“The most painful state of being is remembering the future, 
particularly the one you'll never have.”
(Kierkegaard)

To donate to the St Baldrick's Foundation in honor of our shave, click here.

in 2015...Springtime
in 2014...Topsy-Turvy
in 2013...No worries here
in 2011...Snippets of Florida
in 2010...Purim is over
in 2009...Happy Hamantaschen
in 2008...Purim Fun

For one of us, this is a "before" picture
Oh yes, Solly decided to shave at the last minute too.
She's an old pro at this



Monday, February 27, 2017

Moving

Do they know that each time I hug them, I'm really giving two hugs?
Do thy know that each time I give in to a request, I'm really thinking of Sam? 
Do they know that when I decide what "matters," it's mostly based on one missing face?

Sometimes, I think that Solly is forgetting.

He was so little, so young. The new memories are crowding out the old ones. He's in kindergarten now, there's so much...new knowledge, new ideas, new experiences -- is this how we forget the younger years because our memories just fill up with so many new things that we just can't keep the tiny wispy baby memories ahead of them?

The other day, I started to realize that he might be forgetting. He barely talks about Sam any more, not the way he did right after he died.

And then just yesterday, he brought him up. Almost as though he realized it too, just as I did.
And then last night, when I was putting him to bed, he started to cry.

I miss Sammy. I want to see his face. When do we get to open the box in the cemetery? Do we ever get to open it up again? Do you think that there's a lot of plants growing there? Can we schedule a time to go there and see him? What does he look like now?

So we watched an old video of Sammy. We cried a little together.

Maybe you'll have a dream about him, I said.

Time keeps moving forward....without our Sam.




P.S. I'm shaving my head again: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/rabbiphyllis

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alternate Reality

How's Sammy?

Oh....he's doing great.
He's eleven now, and he's in fifth grade. He's so tall! And so much hair...
You know....fifth graders....a lot of drama in that grade, huh?
He seems so good.
He just broke a thousand days post-transplant and things are going well.
Yeah, he gets tired easily and we're still really careful and nervous sometimes...
but he's off so many meds and it all just seems like it might be behind us.
It's never over, you know, but it's looking good.
He got into the school play. Both Sam and Yael are in the play - they're loving it...it's so fun to see them together...
He's playing the violin....
He's getting ready for middle school...
He's going to camp this summer...
You should hear the noise in my house when all four of them come home from school....It's beautiful.

It's an alternate reality that I sometimes run through in my head.
When I can't sleep. When it's quiet.
What would I be answering?

1,167 days have passed, and I feel as though time is slipping away, rushing away, flying away. We're moving further and further away from him. It is impossible to believe that he could just slide back into our lives if he just showed up. We are different now.

I've stopped believing that he's just going to show up one day, like in a movie about a missing child who is recovered twenty years after their abduction. Like we all just made a mistake one day and left him behind and then we found him again....I've stopped pretending he's just away for a while.

But I still sometimes can't sleep and I imagine what I would answer....how's Sammy?

I'm shaving my head again.
Because I feel just a little bit too normal.
A little bit too settled.
A little bit too far away from my missing boy.
My hair is long again, as long as it was when he died.
I find myself twisting a ponytail the same way I did for his funeral.
It's a little like re-opening a wound...but I'm not ready to just run my finger over an old shiny scar.
I'm shaving my head again because it just feels like time is slipping away.

I'm shaving my head to raise money to help other someday mamas to not feel this pain. 
Help me out: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/rabbiphyllis