Sarah Defies Gravity

what one little chromosome taught me about love, life, and defying gravity.

Archive for the category “grief”

I would have sang out your name in those old high school halls…you tell that to Gail, if she calls.

I think it’s finally beginning to hit me, almost 2 months later, that I don’t have Dec anymore. Probably because for the first month and a half he was always here if I needed him, right there in Queens prepared to take our daughter whenever I needed and fulfill his once-weekly obligation to see her on the weekend, and take her to her appointments once a week, and now he’s not here anymore. He’s 2500 miles away living his life and I’m 2500 miles away trying to pick up the pieces of ours.

And it’s hard, you know. It’s hard. I didn’t expect it to be so hard and I don’t know how to cope with it. With appointments upon appointments and work and bills and the always-present possibility that Sarah could, at any point, relapse. With the ins and outs and intricacies of parenthood, even with Down Syndrome and cancer removed from the equation.

I want him here with me. I want him here with us. We were supposed to be a family. I’ll make it, somehow, I know I will. I’ll make it and Sarah will make it, but the idea of someday “making it” doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that I’m drowning under a pile of responsibilities and uncertainties and things that are too hard for me to manage in the now. I most certainly can see the forest for the trees, the maze for the corn…but I can’t seem to find my way out of it.

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One and One-Half Wandering Onlies

*with apologies to Paul Simon for jacking his song lyrics like that

It hit me today (okay, yesterday…) that I am, in fact, an only child.

Sort of.

I think it was because Sarah lost her lovey, which happened to have my sister’s voice in it. My sister died eight months ago next week. I still don’t want to write about the details, I still don’t want to talk about her. I know that when I do I will feel so much better, like all of the pain and hurt and feelings of fear and unhinged-ness will pour out and then evaporate (‘that’s poetic…that’s pathetic’) and I’ll feel a lot better. But I’m not ready to talk about it, and so I won’t. Because grief is a funny thing and it’s also a fickle mistress and I choose to give into it…or something.

But losing my sister made me, in a sense, an only child, and there’s the ever present reality that Sarah, too, will be an only child. That’s not a reality I like, that’s not the reality I would have chosen for her, but it’s the reality that exists and it’s the only one I have to work with, so, just like all of the other lemons life hands us, I have to accept her onliness.

Not that being an only child is so bad. I was a lot more settled in this decision when she was a newborn and we (the unit of Dec and I, back when it was a unit) made it together, but after we changed our minds, it was a reality that was a lot harder to swallow.

It’s a practical reality, and it’s a reality that will make things a lot easier and a lot better for both Sarah and myself because of the logical factors, but when it’s not the thing you want it’s hard not to want to throw something against the wall and yell SHIT! about it.

I wanted Sarah to have a sibling with Down Syndrome because even if they didn’t always get along, or their personalities clashed, there would always be someone there who understood her, someone who GOT all the things about having an extra chromosome that us lowly 46ers just can’t. And I wanted to have another child with Down Syndrome because Down Syndrome knocked me off my feet with how awesome it is, and because it’s all I’ve ever known. Down Syndrome parenting was something i wanted, and multiple children with Down Syndrome was also something I wanted.

Regardless of her sibling status, Sarah will have a good life. She has parents who adore her, she has family who adore her, she has people who have never even laid eyes on her who adore her. She has a spitfire personality, sparkling mischief in her eyes, and the will to fight. She has accomplished so many things in sixteen-going-on-seventeen months and she will continue to accomplish so many things for sixteen-going-on-seventeen months after that and after that and after that. She is beating cancer, she is crawling, she is saying Dada and Papa and NO, she is doing things and learning things and being things beyond my wildest imagination. She does not need a sibling to be whole.

Does it make me sad that she’ll never have a sibling? Yes, and it makes me sad that I’ll never have another baby. But in the end, I know that she’ll have a good life, and she might miss out on the sibling experience but she’ll gain so many other experiences. And I also know that this crazy journey started out with just Sarah and I and this crazy journey will end with just Sarah and I, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with that because that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and because I can’t change the hand that fate has dealt us, I can only take it and own it, hand over my chips and accept twice as many in return. I can deal with that.

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