By Kevin Ryan
Posted on March 14th, 2017
I’ll Remember You is a Bob Dylan song. Some of the lyrics have been going through my head the last few days. Quite a few years ago we lost one of our children to an ectopic pregnancy and then later, twins to a miscarriage. It hurt. It is a pain that seared at first. It eventually turned into a dull empty ache. Even years later. Someone is missing. I’ll remember you my little ones. I loved you. I hope one day to finally meet you.
My dear sweet friend lost her child to a miscarriage a week and a half ago. Not an hour has gone by since I heard that I haven’t thought of her and her precious child. “God please give her the comfort that she needs at this moment.” She is an inspiration and I wish she didn’t have to walk down this painful path.
Grief is a strange thing. It moves on its own timetable. It doesn’t move on yours or how others want to tell you it should. It’ll come in for a visit for an hour or a day whether you want it to or not. It is individual to you and there isn’t really a good or bad way to deal with it. Well, you probably shouldn’t deal with grief by dressing as a giant tomato, driving to Los Angeles, and hitting random people with a fake fish while shouting, “I’m Queen Elizabeth, bow before me!!” This would be counterproductive as I sadly learned… no… not really… I didn’t do that. I guess what I’m saying is you don’t have to deal with grief and fear in one specific way.
“When I’m all alone, in the rain and snow, I’ll remember you”
It was a very strange feeling to go out in public when everyone is normal and you felt anything but normal. I can remember visiting the playground in Golden Gate Park just below UCSF when we first got out for an hour after Aidan (he is our son that we almost lost a few times) had stabilized to point where he wasn’t likely to die in the next hour. It was surreal. It was loud and noisy with playing children and lots of people, but you felt completely isolated and alone. Hard to explain. If you have seen The Hobbit where Bilbo puts on the ring that is how I felt. The whole world seemed blurry, out of focus, gray. We were alone in a crowd. When we lost our twins I was able to stay at home for a few weeks. It made things easier, not having to go out, but made my Mom (and maybe other family members) nervous about our emotional state.
Deep breath. Gonna rush through this. My wife was 20 weeks along when she went in for her normal checkup with the doctor. The doctor couldn’t hear a heartbeat. She got a shocked look and turned a little pale. She immediately sent us to a specialist ultrasound place. And you are thinking on the drive over there, “Did we lose our baby?” You know. But you still hope. She uses the ultrasound equipment for a bit. “I’m sorry… I can’t hear a heartbeat.” Pause. Pushes a box of tissues my way. I think “Oh, she’s prepared” through tears. Think of the others she’s had to do this for. Drugs to go into labor. Delivery. Time with our little ones. Two boys. I weeped beside you. The hospital staff was empathetic. We are able to get our boys released to us.
I got the best quality wood that I could find. Created dovetail joints for all six sides of the small box. I’ve always thought those joints just look so nice. Sanded it smooth and stained it. Made it as perfect as I could. It was the only thing that I could do for my twins. They are now safely resting in a place that I can see everyday. They are where the wind blows through the pine woods.
I was thinking you can draw a line between the you “that was before” you lost your child and the you “that now is” afterwards. But it’s not a line separating the two yous, it is a huge chasm. You are different. Eventually you are normal again, but a different type of normal. “Our children change us . . . whether the live or not.”
I was never angry. It’s okay to be angry. My Grandpa used to take me fishing in the mountains all the time. We’d also go through the forest wilderness with hatchets and get grub from old fallen trees for bait. He did cattle drives into Yosemite when young, was used to the mountain wilderness, and so passed on that sort of knowledge to me. One time he took me deep sea fishing. I got seasick. He didn’t. “Hoo, boy, that’s too bad. Never bothered me,” he said. Some people get seasick and some don’t. It’s innate. I think how you deal with fear and grief is similar. It is just how you are built. There is not “right” or “wrong” way.
It would be nice to live in a world where Rachel didn’t weep. But she does. The other untold part of the story is that her husband weeps too. And her friends too for her. Just like I do for my Eugene friend. The years will roll along and I’ll never forget my children. Or hers. They are in my heart eternally. And I have hope, because one day what is lost will be found.
I thought this was a beautiful version of Bob Dylan’s song.