Infant Loss Awareness — Oct. 15, 2021

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and even almost 21 years later, I’m not sure how I feel about it. So much of time is arbitrary. We screw it up so badly that we have to add a whole day every four years. So for me, today is just like any other day since Jacob was born and died. I’m a different person because of it. I’d love to be able to say that time heals all wounds (it doesn’t) and that my son’s death was for a greater good (it wasn’t, and even if it was, I don’t care). I’m happy as a father that his brief life meant something to so many people. I am. I truly believe he changed lives. But I’m selfish.

I want to know what it’d be like to see him today at almost 21. Boy The Elder and Boy The Younger are so different from each other in so many ways; who would Boy The Eldest be more like? Or would he be as different from the other two as the other two are from each other? What would he look like? What would he be good at? What would his struggles be?

This isn’t to say that I don’t have joy and that I haven’t gone on to live a good life and be a good dad and all of that stuff. I have. I had no choice. So many people, in the wake of Jacob’s death, would say, “I don’t know how you did it,” — as if the path I walked was something I chose. On Aug. 20, 2000, we found out our baby likely wouldn’t live much past birth. At that point, I didn’t have any say on whether I’d walk the road I was forced to walk. I remember about seven years later being with BTE, strapped into a rollercoaster as it left the station, and him screaming that he wanted to get off. Oh, son. Once that train’s rolling, it doesn’t stop until the ride is done.

So I was carried along a path that broke me. At 26 years of age, I had to pick out a coffin for my son and a spot in the ground to put it in. Let that sink in for a second. I had to shield my wife from people who would see a pregnant woman and, blissfully ignorant, ask her all sorts of questions about a child who wouldn’t be coming home with us. I had to take the lifeless body of my child and hand him over to a nurse to be taken away from me forever. And just when I thought the worst of it was over, whatever power that governs the world decided it would be fun to top it all off with a horrible case of the chicken pox so that I had a 103-degree fever and puss-filled blisters all over my face and body at my son’s funeral.

What was I supposed to do? Scream that I wanted to get off? Yeah, I did that. No one listened. Should I have just curled up in a ball in the corner and cried? I did that too. No one stopped the ride. Wifey Poo still was pregnant, which, even in the best of circumstances, isn’t easy on a woman. Was I just supposed to die and leave her to face everything alone? I had a job. I had a mortgage. The car still broke down and food still went bad in the fridge. The world has a nasty way of not stopping when it throws its worst shitstorm at you.

So I held on. To some extend, that’s still what I’m doing today.

I guess I’m glad there’s a day set aside to honor the children who died too soon and the parents left behind. That it’s needed and that it’s something that hits me in the heart makes me sad.

Come On Down!

I have a strong association between childhood sickness and people freaking out as they run down an aisle to play pricing games. I think many kids link “staying home from school” with “The Price is Right.”

Tonight was date night with Wifey Poo. We ended up at Chipotle for what we thought would be a quick meal. Ahhh, but nothing is quick about eating out anymore.

We were met by a sign on the door telling us the only way to order was through the app. The Great American Worker Shortage is a very real thing, and evidently there weren’t enough employees to handle the Chipotle People Conveyer Belt and actually make the food. We apped-up and ordered our meals. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. So did a rotating cast of 20 to 30 other hungry people. The amassed crowd started to bond. We shared our deepest hopes and fears. We counseled each other through our hunger pains. And when the woman would come out of the back kitchen with a bag filled with tasty food to call a name, we cheered for The Chosen One as if they’d just been selected to come on down and be the next contestant on “You Actually Get to Eat!”

I can’t help but think America is just one tiny push away from falling off the edge of the cliff on which it is teetering.

The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself.’ 

Dr. Burton Grebin

Burn Baby Burn

Missourahans like to burn stuff, especially during the fall. Were there a “Fall in Missourah”-scented candle, the instructions would be to light the wick, then blow out the flame. Tomorrow, I’m burning stuff. New House has a pile of fallen limbs awaiting fire. On top of it I’ll place a bunch of old paperwork. And then, I’m assuming, someone will show up and give me my “It’s official. You’re a Missourahan” badge.

Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Wifey Poo and I are getting a Costco membership. I’m looking forward to bringing home 10 pounds of Combos, a set of tires, and booked plans for our next vacation.
  2. Burn day, duh!
  3. I’m taking BTE for a haircut on Sunday. I don’t get to hang out in barbershops any other way. I like hanging out in barbershops.

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