Dear friends,

tomorrow is the anniversary of my son’s death. The blog will be going dark for the day. I know you feel profound compassion and want to help. And there is a way you can help. Please leave links to articles that caught your attention, questions, blogging suggestions, etc. This is what helps me because it creates a bridge towards the future.

Tomorrow will be a very difficult day. I will get through it because that’s what I do, and you will help me emerge on the other side. You are all great people and I’m very happy to have you in my life.

P.S. It’s also a great idea to leave jokes. But not videos because I don’t like videos.

All About My Mother, Part II

Tomorrow is the first-year anniversary of my son’s death. My mother has never referred to him with his name or called him her grandson. Every time I tried talking about Eric to her, she told me to “turn over this leaf,” “forget about it and move on,” and “concentrate on having another baby.”

All week long she has been insistently recommending that N and I watch a certain movie that would distract us and help us have a good time. Last night we started watching the movie. The protagonist, a woman who has the same name as me, and her husband had a baby who died right after being born. The grieving parents realized that their life has no meaning and started going nuts, trying to slaughter each other. The moral of the story is that, in spite of being professionally successful and living in a big, beautiful house, these people have a thwarted meaningless existence because their baby died.

I didn’t know how to explain to N what possessed me to put on this movie at this particular point in time. We spent half the night crying. 

The reason why I’m writing these posts is that if I don’t share these stories, they will keep poisoning me from the inside. I wanted to spend today and tomorrow thinking about my son and the great love he brought to our lives. Instead, I’m crying because of my mother’s wanton cruelty towards me. This cruelty has been life-long and has accompanied me throughout my life.

All About My Mother, Part I

Grandmother Klarissa, my father’s mother, died when I was 7. My love for her was profound. A child needs an adult woman’s love, and that love I could only get from her. This love has carried be forward my entire life.

Grandmother Klarissa and my mother were in a constant tug of war over me, over my father, over the correct way of living. There was a long-standing vendetta between them, but I was a small child and it mattered to me that with grandmother I felt loved. That was unusual and special to me. When she died at the age of 54 of leukemia, I was distraught. Nobody talked to me about my grief or about her death. I had to cope with the loss on my own, biting down on my tears in silence. I didn’t get to go to the funeral and her death was mentioned to me casually, in passing. To this day, I can’t think about her death without tears.

When I turned 9, my grandfather gave me a colorful box that he had asked his friend to paint just for me. The box contained my grandmother’s jewelry. It had been crafted according to her own special design. Grandfather told me that this was my grandmother’s legacy, that I would grow up and wear her jewelry and be beautiful and brilliant, just like she had been. He said that if I wore her jewelry, it would be as if a part of her had never died. Klarissa died when my sister was just a baby, so they never had a relationship, but of course there was a gift of jewelry from grandmother for her, too.

I got married at 19. When I left for the honeymoon with my husband, I left the keys from my new apartment to my mother. Repairmen were coming over, and somebody had to unlock the door for them. I hid grandmother’s jewelry very well in the apartment. But when I came home, the box was nowhere to be found. I walked over to my parents’ place and asked my mother about the jewelry. She giggled.

“This is so funny,” she said. “Look what happened. I was out with my friend Galya and she was buying jewelry. And I thought I wanted jewelry, too, and it’s not fair that I can’t buy anything. So I went to your place and looked for your grandmother’s jewelry. You hid it really well, but I still found it. Ha, ha! Then I took it to a jewelry store. I asked them to dig out the precious stones and melt the whole thing. I also gave them the rings your grandfather gave to your sister. They are so ugly anyways! So that’s what the people at the jewelry shop did. And they made this gold chain for me out of it. It’s way thicker than my friend Galya’s chain.”

I didn’t have words to say anything. I just wanted her to stop.

“But you won’t tell your father, right?” she continued. “This will upset him because it was his mother’s jewelry. You don’t want to hurt your father, do you? Don’t you love him? He will be shattered! You couldn’t do this to your own Dad, could you?”

I went home and cried for weeks. But I never told my father because I didn’t want to hurt him.