Thursday, October 26, 2006

Come and gone

Another Walk to Remember has come and gone and this is the first time I have been able to sit and write a word or two. It was a blustery day filled with less people than I expected. In greeting my fellow journeyers and others I learned Anna would not be there. Like an arrow through my heart the pain shot - how could I speak without Anna?
Anna was my lifeline and while in reality I would have had to get through my grief eventually, I know my journey would have been different without her. She provided the unconditional support. She was there morning, noon and night through my grief and subsequent pregnancies. I owe so much to her for returning me to some semblance of a life.
And now she would not be at the event, our Walk to Remember, and I was crushed.
On the heels of the Walk was the anniversary of Baby Z. I don't really know when I lost him, but 10/23/00 is the day I mark since it is the day of the D&C to remove what might have been from me. I was so busy I didn't even get to light a candle. But I was busy with the blessings that he paved the way for.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pet Insurance

Exactly 20 years ago today I became a cat-mom. A black domestic short haired cat with white paws adopted me from the North Shore Animal League. I named her Sushi. It was the first time I had every experienced the proverbial love-at-first-site.

Sushi and I would go on to adopt two other cats: Baby, a gray domestic short hair and DaisyMay, a marmalade beauty -or what my English friends call, a ginger cat.

Today I am cat-less. Baby left this earth exactly 10 days before Alison was born. She was 11 and her death wrought havoc on my world already saturated with the loss of my son Solomon.

Sushi would die 10 days before my 39th birthday. Her death hit me like a ton of bricks. Sushi had been with me since college. She lived through my first marriage and divorce, my pursuing my Masters degree, the building of my career, my remarriage and the loss of Solomon. She and I had a deal: she would live until I turned 40. She tried. As she was dying in my arms she licked my fingers as if to say goodbye. She was 18 years and 4 months old.

On October 12, 2006 my DaisyMay passed. And while there is no "10 day" coincidence in her death, she died 19 days prior to her 16th birthday. My sweetheart of a cat who was finally comfortable with all the love my son Adam could heap on her.

Exactly 24 hours later, upon fetching my mail from its box, I received what I could only a slap in the face: a brochure from the ASPCA asking me to sign up for pet insurance. I sat and stared and thought of the irony of receiving this while in the midst of my grief...and thought of the times I'd received baby advertisements after losing Solomon. The feelings were so much the same: anger, sadness and defeat. I couldn't understand why, and still cannot.

In six years time I have mourned the loss of my son Solomon, another miscarriage and the deaths of my cats. I have also celebrated the birth of my children. I'm hoping the next six years are more even-keeled.

Tonight I lit my candles in honor of Solomon, his brother Baby Z and my cats...all in the name of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. My cats made me a mother, my children make me a parent. I love them all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Kindergarten Here I Come

While Alison had her first day of Kindergarten two days ago, she goes a full day today. At about the four-hour mark, I started to miss her. We've never been apart this long on a typical day.

For her first day we made a Kindergarten Here I Come banner, that she displayed and was photographed with. I matched my excitement level to hers, not wanting mine to diminish hers. But today, it's another story.

I ate lunch with my son, I played with my son, I ran errands with my son. And while everyone who knows me knows how much Adam and I adore each other, I'm used to my little girl's presence. I've checked in her room twice, to make sure she's not taking a nap. I've stood at my door, looking out for the bus...the bus that is scheduled to come in over an hour.

The first two days of school, the half days, pshaw, they were nothing. She arrived home in time for lunch and that was that. Were they to ease Alison into a school routine, or were they to wean me and the other mothers from the daily presence of our children?

Today, the whole day, the day that begins all the other seven-hour days for the next thirteen years. I emailed my husband at work how sad I am, how unexpectedly sad I feel. I didn't "lose" Alison, the way I lost Solomon. I know right where she is. And it is not with me.

I wonder how I would have felt if this were Solomon going to school. Would I have had a closeness with him the way I do with Alison and Adam? It will remain a silent wonder.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Big 5!!!!!

I cannot believe it... today is Alison's 5th birthday. I recall exactly at this time five years ago I was packing my belongings and crying. Alison's birth would be the culmination of a 17 month journey from the loss of Solomon. Her birth day I thought would never arrive.

As Eric and I drove to the hospital I was crying, complaining that this would be just another trip to the hospital for nothing. I cried through my labor, waiting. And when I heard the cry of Alison for the first time, tears rolled from my eyes, horizontally across my cheeks, into my ears.

All the waiting for my moment of joy. Her cry was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.

Today she is 5, how is that possible? She is growing up fast and starts Kindergarten and Daisy Scouts in a few weeks.

My praying and perseverance paid off in the wonder of her.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


On Monday August 7, 2006 I was honored along with other women as a Fortune 52 Woman. Beverly Fortune of the Long Island Press, interviewed me in March and the story ran in June. I held my breath for weeks, waiting to see what the story would look like. Once it ran I was thrilled. But it was a strange kind of thrilled-ness, and that is how I felt Monday night. As I stood off center of the podium with the other distinguished woman, I felt torn. Here I was being recognized, and that felt good, great even. But the reason I was recognized was because I had delivered my son Solomon still, had a subsequent miscarriage and two additional "spals" pregnancies resulting in the births of my children. The cherry on top was publishing the book. So the honor was bittersweet, and one that I wish I had never recieved, or at least not in this way. Still I hope my exposure helps other women, so that's gotta balance the scale a little.

Friday, July 28, 2006

*That* Day

Today is *That* Day - as I think of it. That day I was supposed to be having my first child. That day that my husband believes is that "guess date the doctor gives you so you can set up your office pool." It's now 6 years later on *that day* and I can recall my feelings of sadness. Waking up in a hotel room in Washington DC, my consolation prize; crying from my guts and hoping a baby would be brought to me along with room service. It never materialized of course and Eric and I spent a hot sticky day touring the Lincoln Memorial and other wonderful sites.

And now 6 years later, I sit and reflect while Alison is in day camp and Adam is tearing up the backroom. An email from my uncle let me know that a new baby was born today. So the date has now taken on a positive for me. *That* date is now *this* date, belonging to Amanda Lilly, whom I wish a lifetime of love, happiness and peace.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Baby Steps

My stepson has a family heritage project to do, and he, his mother, my husband and myself hope to get a good grade on it. The project has many pieces, and trying to figure out what's appropriate in a divorce/stepfamily situation has proven easier than it would appear.

One of the pieces to be constructed is a poster of the family tree. The sheet we are using as a guideline stops at my stepson, in which case it does not include myself or the children I have with my husband who are my stepson's half-siblings. No big deal really. But my stepson's mother, who is doing the poster, not only has generously include myself and my children, she sent me an email asking how to acknowledge Solomon. I was both shocked and touched.

At the time of my loss I was convinced she did not understand. And to be honest, I don't know for sure that at the time she did. But today is a new day and she 'gets' it. As I'm not comfortable sharing Solomon's picture, we agreed to use a charm that depicts a little boy, similar to the one I was given by my husband for my first mothers day. When I say first, I do mean first: immediately after we lost Solomon. I was a mother, a childless one, but still a mother.

So a photo of a charm depicting my little boy will be mounted on the poster along with pictures of myself, daughter and son. I'm thrilled.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hello, My Friend

There is a woman I know, who calls me about once a week. And I do the same. We have become very good friends, and our kids have enjoyed playdates and visiting. Each time I see her number appear in my caller ID, I pick up and say "Hello My Friend" and she replies in kind. It is such a warm feeling.

Patty and I met at a Reunion Group. We never would have met otherwise. She lost her daughter Hope almost a year before I lost my son Solomon. When we met, I had had my spals daughter. We wouldn't become friends until we found ourselves pregnant again - me with my sspals and her with her spals. We would call ourselves 'the old-timers' at all the reunion groups and the spals groups, because we were always the ones whose losses were in the distant past. When I was on bedrest with my sspals, my husband would drive me to our group meetings. He too enjoyed Patty's company and the three of us got through our sessions.

When I delivered Adam, she was there in the hospital the next day, to visit and to just be there. In fact, she had our group counselor call over to my hospital the morning I was to deliver, to track me down, to see how I was and what I'd had! Seeing her face looking at me and my son, I just knew we would be friends.

It's funny how life goes.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday Night Writers Group

Last night I went to "my writers group" at the library. It was actually one of the few times in this group that I didn't write about Solomon or loss, pain, heartache and sadness. The instructor is a local author, poet and published novelist, and she is great: Barbara Novack. She is very positive and encouraging.

Erica Jong is quoted as saying something like "writing is the balm of grief." And so it is.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Today I changed over my winter to summer clothes, at least part of them as we're still entrenched in some yucky weather even tho the thermometer is starting to creep up.

I came across an organge and white wrap, with shells on fringe dripping from the bottom. Something suitable to wear over a swimsuit. The tag was still on it. I bought this wrap 6 years ago on *that* trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. My consolation prize. I've never been able to bring myself to wear the wrap or pass it along. It's these little reminders that enter my psyche when least expected.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day, then and now

Another Mother's Day. Six years ago, after losing Solomon, my husband and I went on a trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. I always considered that my 'consolation prize." Instead of attending the black-tie ball in a maternity gown, I was there stuffed into a size 2 number with a blubber belly from the pregnancy. I hated myself and almost everyone else. I didn't have too much fun on the trip, there was an emptiness inside of me that no amount of sunshine, pampering and food (really good food) could fill. I hadn't yet begun to think of myself as a childless mother, but I did define myself as a mother whose child had died. My husband gave me a gold little boy charm which I'd had engraved Solomon 5/8/00. Friends looked at me oddly when I showed them. So many folks were clueless and I didn't have the words or energy to explain.

I had braids put in my hair ocean-side, sitting in the hot sun. It hurt a lot but I somehow felt I deserved it, that I deserved to suffer. I did everything in power to protect Solomon and in the end nothing mattered, he was lost.

And today, with Alison and Adam running around - gosh, it's just so different. I'm their mother, they have no one else and hopefully never will. The sun rises and sets with them. I hope they never feel I'm 'needy' of them, even though I am.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Feeling a ping

At a family affair this weekend, I felt that "ping." I was missing Solomon. I really didn't have him in my 'front-brain' but at Temple when reading Kaddish and at the party later, when I saw my two spals kids dancing and having fun, I felt he was missing.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pregnancy Journeys After Loss

Just starting this whole blog thing, not sure how good I'll be at it. I lost my son Solomon to pprom resulting in his stillbirth on March 8, 2000. I had a myriad of physical and mental healing to do. The physical was easier. We got pregnancy again 4 months later and we lost that to blighted ovum. Two month after that, pregnancy #3. I held my breath, pretended to be happy and endured mental hell for 9 months until Alison was born at 38 weeks. A big beautiful 8 pounds 2 ounce bundle. Oops, 11 months later we are pregnant again. Adam was born 19-1/2 months after Alison. A physically wonderful pregnancy until *boom* preterm labor and 11 weeks of terbutaline and bedrest. Two cerclages, two c-sections.

Now I speak at pregnancy loss groups, pregnancy after loss groups, have been involved in program planning for the First Candle/SIDS Alliance and International Stillbirth Alliance conference in DC in September 2005. And I wrote and edited a book, "Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss." A compilation by 11 authors of loss stories coupled with pregnancy after loss stories. Hopefully it will be a comfort to those finding themselves *SPALS*

"The birth of a child isn't always a nine-month process.