Tonight was hard and sweet. And odd. Ruth and Chris had the baby cremated today and tonight they asked me if I wanted to go to synagogue with them. I did. So we went back to the synagogue Ruth and I used to attend when she was in high school - close to my office, services at a convenient time, sweet memories. Before the service started Ruth and Chris were discussing placement of her soft cloth purse, didn't want to put it on the floor because the baby's ashes were in it - so I asked if I could hold it during services and they let me - and it was odd and sweet, cradling the baby shaped bundle that wasn't a baby and letting go of the possibility of ever having this baby sleeping or squirming in my arms at shul. Saying kaddish - traditional mourning prayers, with the ashes in my arms. I am so sad. I want to ease Ruth and Chris' suffering, and I can't much - of course they are suffering. They lean on each other and they are strong together, doing absolutely everything a couple in their circumstances could do to sustain each other and to thrive again. and they will thrive again. and I choose to believe that they will have the child they both want so much - a new child, in time.
Its hard to sort out my own suffering - how much is missing this opportunity to love this baby and how much is aching that my children have to be bereaved parents. They shouldn't have to be deciding where to be putting the baby's ashes. They should be picking out strollers. And part of me knows that losing love is part of loving and it doesn't matter what should or shouldn't be happening - just how we bear, and help each other bear what IS happening.
Bob is home for spring break, tired and sore from being very active supervising the kids' spring carnival yesterday. He also had the shock of having the terrarium in his classroom fall and break today with Rex, our beloved classroom pet, a Russian woods tortoise, in it. Rex seems to have survived, but we are worried for his well being - and hard to assess the health of a tortoise. he is moving and eating so I;m hopeful. We don't need more death, even a tortoise.
After shul Bob, Ruth, Chris and I went out for dinner - pasta - Ruth's comfort food. I'm glad she's able to eat. And, though we talked about our grief in the car, once we were in the restaurant we talked mostly about Ruth's work, her successes and frustaations, and those of her students, and it was good talk, good company, almost as if it were a week ago and she was still pregnant.
Except that all through the conversation a back tape in my mind kept going on about my terrible, high risk pregnancy with Ruth and K.K's near death from meningitis as a new born and the other grieving couple, with a loss at sixteen weeks today, whose path has crossed mine today - and there is just no sense to when the worst happens and when it doesn't. I don't do "It's not fair!" but tonight is as close as I get. Ruth shouldn't be here. I was advised to abort her because of severe placentia previa and I was too stubborn, just wouldn't do it - and here she is magnificent, but grieving. No reason her baby shouldn't be here, far as we know, and that baby is gone. Moving on from here is going to be uneven, stepwise, awkward, and successful.