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I want Silas to be my superhero. If I can’t be with him to see everything he does, I have to find his acts in the actions of the world.
Tomorrow morning our dear friends are going to the hospital. Their gorgeous little daughter Carly is scheduled for surgery to remove a tumor from her small, strong brain. It is a situation we have known about for a little while but it is something we have struggled to understand. It was incomprehensible to us before the birth of Silas, and we continue to be stunned by the unfairness of it all.
Carly has the best surgeons in the world preparing to heal her tiny mind. And we are sending them so much love and support in this time of their profound need. Your love is helping us heal and there is always enough to spread around.
Please think healing thoughts for Carly tomorrow as soon as you wake in the dawn. We will be thinking of her perfect healthy brain here, and Silas will be fighting for her where ever he is, however he can, and your love and thoughts and energy will make a difference in this beautiful girl’s ordeal.
Christa, Brad and Carly, we love you. Be strong and heal fast.
The nights are tough, too. It feels good to have achieved another sunset, but it is daunting to know there are so many more days to come that we must battle through.
Today was harder than expected. A few less people around. A bit more realization that this is going to be an endless process, a constant struggle that we never anticipated or could ever prepare for.
Silas is still not here. But now there is a star in the sky that is his alone. Today we received notice that our friends Steve and Tracy had a star named after Silas in the constellation of Orion. We are thrilled and touched and honored and deeply thankful that there is a blazing sun out there in the cosmos that bears his beautiful name.
We toasted Silas at dinner tonight as we celebrated Roshashana with Lu’s family and mine. This is the start of the Jewish New Year, and we ate apples and honey tonight as a part of the meal to bring sweetness to the coming months. Although I am not Jewish and Lu’s family is more about the traditions than the religion itself, it felt good to connect with a larger faith this evening.
I am still searching for the particulars of my spirituality but I know that the loving energy of my missing son is filling all the spaces in our hearts and in the world around us. We have all laughed together today–as usual–because it is the only way we know to dam the flood of grief and tears that is always present now just beyond our feeble defenses.
Tomorrow is a big day for us and for many of our friends. Silas Orion has his first mission in the morning. It is his first task in the Beyond to help us here in the Now. More on that later, but for now just know that we are so thankful and welcoming to all the love, prayers, thoughts and vibes that all of you are sending to us every day. We are a bit overwhelmed by all the attention from people we do not know, but your comments and stories are helping us to heal, to grieve, to appreciate the many wonderful things we have right now amidst all the sadness and loss.
Today’s rule was that no matter what you were eating, you had to use a bagel as a part of it. Bagel sandwiches. Bagel chips. Bagels with bagels on them and a side of bagels to go. I showered with a bagel this morning. It was a sorry sponge, but it’s one less ring of dough to have to deal with now.
Thank you all for helping to hold us up. We are weak and lost without you.
Another morning is here and with it the prospect of filling a day, somehow. Lu’s sister is on her way and we are so looking forward to seeing her. She lives in Colorado so we don’t get to see her on a regular basis and her presense in this house will be an enormous help, especially to Lu.
Yesterday our friend Cindi was here and we started to work on the design for the tattoo I will be getting soon. I had always planned to have the constellation Orion inked onto my skin once my son was born, but now it has taken on a whole new depth of meaning. It will be a way to carry one aspect of my missing boy with me at all times, forever.
But I still cannot believe that he isn’t here. I still cannot comprehend how this is the life that we now live within. There is no center here, no shining, tiny sun of life that we can orbit around. We had so many plans, so many hopes, so many things we wanted to do with Silas that have now all vanished into dust and smoke. I want him in my arms but I can only touch him in my heart and mind. And it’s just not fucking enough.
I have always been a person that looks forward to the small joys in life. A cup of ice cream to end the night. A pint and the paper in the yard on a warm summer eve. My first espresso of the day at our shop Bean & Leaf from coffee I roasted myself. I’m still finding ways to have those small moments and I’m trying to take pleasure in them, but they are just too brief to fill the tremedous chasm that exists within me, where the pleasure of raising our son was supposed to live.
He was never ours, alone. We had to share him with the whole Universe as soon as he arrived. That is not the way we wanted it, but the choice wasn’t ours. The choice we do have is the way in which we go on living, and how we honor our tiny son every day for the rest of our lives. Yesterday we started to plan how that is going to happen.
Silas will be cremated. The funeral home already has his remains. Signing off on that yesterday afternoon was the most horrible use of my signature I have ever had the displeasure to employ. Part of me wanted to sign it “Fuck You” instead of my name, but I resisted the urge. Once his remains have been returned to us we are going to find a place to plant a tree, put a bench nearby and have a plaque created to commemorate his brief, shining life. We want a place to go and love him as a breeze whispers through his tree and his constellation wheels above, always hunting, always bright in the deep darkness of night.
The cool night grows deep.
There is silence in our sleep.
Silas calls in dreams.
It is a beautiful day out there this morning. The sunlight is almost offensive, like it doesn’t know how terrible we feel and how inappropriate it is for the day to rise up gorgeous and warm. The rain and gloom of the last few days has fit our mood perfectly. But then I go outside and the rays warm my skin and fill my eyes and it makes me remember that we need beauty and light and love in our lives if we are going to heal.
The sunflower out front has bloomed. Its big yellow face of petals is shockingly bright in our front yard. Although this house is where people are sad and grieving, the sunflower is a living testament that life does keep moving forward, beauty still blooms in the world and that darkness is just a piece of the whole. We are trying to become whole again but we know it will take a great deal of time for that to happen.
We’re not just moping around here, though. My brothers are a freakin’ comedy team so they manage to make us laugh even when it seems like laughter is as far away as our little baby boy Silas. We miss him terribly, and I touch and kiss the photo of him every time I walk into our bedroom. We have a candle burning next to the image and even though it hurts to look, I need to often, to remind myself of what we should have but do not.
The paradox of all of this is in the normality of the world. But that apparent normality is utterly wrong. We should be on a completely different path right now and instead we have been spun back around to the start. The only problem is that this new start is at the end of a marathon that has drained us of all our resources and reserves. Before we can move forward one iota we have to regroup and recharge and your love and support are the only things that will help us do that.
Family is filling the house again, and we have our little nephew Oren here with us, too. We weren’t sure how well we would be able to handle that, but the energy and laughter and beauty and love from this little boy, my brother’s son, is most definitely helping us to heal.
One other thing I should mention here is about food. We know that people immediately go to food when they want to offer comfort and help and we truly appreciate it. However, if you are coming by anytime soon, just know that we have enough bagels. And by ‘enough’ I mean we are considering opening up shop and selling bagels off the front porch! There are bags of bagels in every nook and cranny and enough cream cheese to cover the block four times over. Love yes! Bagels no!
Lu is sleeping peacefully. My brothers are here, her brother and his wife. We are kicking it with some beers and laughter and love and playing some Wii bowling. Music is on. Music heals and helps no matter what the situation. All of the friends and family that have come by to be with us, everyone that has called or emailed or texted or commented, that has all helped us so much. Thank you.
Last night as Lu and I cried each other to sleep our siblings were out in the living room crushing each other in Monopoly. It was fucking awesome to hear their voices nearby. We need people around us. We need to disperse and fortify for the terrible quiet moments. For when there’s no baby crying. For when it’s not our new peaceful family.
We are fighting to prevent this from poisoning our lives. We want to live and love and laugh as our lives go on. But we will never stop loving our little baby boy Silas Orion. Somehow this is our new life and he is part of it even though he’s apart from us. I was outside today and felt him in ever atom of the world around me. His constellation is coming up soon. I couldn’t wait to teach him about the stars.
This is not what we are supposed to be doing. Something went wrong in the world that led us to this terrible place of grief. Even trying to touch it nearly crumples me. I have to, though, we have to. We have to take all of it in no matter how horrible and then find a way to move beyond it, to live happy somehow.
The only way for us to do that, though, is with the help of all of you. Your words and calls and flowers and food have been a tremendous help to us. Please keep flooding us. Lu needs your voices even though she has nothing to say.
Bother her with love. Help us fill up all the empty, quiet places.
We had a terrible tragedy yesterday. Lu had a long, hard labor. The child would move a bit and then stay, then move a bit more and then stay even longer. She rode the labor like a goddess, though. Moving, talking, shouting, many position, in and out of the tub, she did everything she should and more.
The memories of she and I in the tub during the final phase where we were both exhausted–her fatigue lightyears beyond mine–when she was pushing harder than what seemed physically possible, I will never forget it. It was transcendent and extremely physically real in a way that I have never experienced before. Lu is my hero.
But the shoulders were stuck. The midwives went into emergency mode and essentially pulled the child out of Lu, but by then it was nearly too late. He was blue when he emerged and the cord was only pulsing weekly.
All hell broke loose. 911, paramedics, the hospital, Lu on the ground sobbing, it was horrible. And it is seared into my mind forever. I was the only one with him at the hospital while they worked on him at the trauma ward. They got his heart beating and he started breathing, but it had been a long time. I was so scared and just out of my mind I could barely think, but I knew I had to go to him when they offered me the chance.
He was beautiful. Perfect and tiny, everything intact and finally there was a heart beating. That gave me a shred of hope for one second, but it was a bare, thin thread. I knew things were extremely serious.
Soon after, the doctors called me into a room and I said “oh FUCK” as soon as I saw what kind of rooms it was. It was nicely appointed with pictures on the wall, and just barely bigger than a closet. This was the place were horror lived.
The doctors told me that they had done a a variety of tests on him to see how well his brain was functioning, and the news was not good. Terrible, in fact. He was brain dead, they told me and that once off the ventilator he would would pass on very soon later.
They brought me to him in the NICU and I sat and held him in my arms for a while, just us. Lu had him inside her for so many months, but this was the first time he was also mine, in my arms. At first I didn’t want to hold him because I didn’t think I could handle it. But quickly I realized this was so terribely important. And I know that I will always cherish those hours with him despite the cords and beeps and horror of hosiptal. His heart was beating, he was pink and alive, and he was in my arms.
Family and friends showed up soon after that, I had to make horrible phone calls and soon Lu arrived from her recovery in the apartment. I told her what the doctor told me, she held him, and then she had to be taken off to be sutured from the trauma of her difficult ordeal.
Soon the entire family had arrived and we had him taken off the ventilator so he could pass quickly. At a spur of the moment, we asked about donating his organs and it turns out that they can use the valves of his heart. Hopefully he will help save the life of another tiny child.
Lu was admitted to the hospital and I stayed there with her. At 3am this morning they brought him to us, once he had passed. His name was Silas Orion Gallagher and he will be a part of us forever.
Lu has been laboring through the night. She’s doing fantastic, staying calm and focused, but she’s clearly in a lot of pain. Our friend Andrea is here as Lu’s dula and she has been amazing, too. We have been massaging Lu with both pressure points and light touch, making sure she’s staying hydrated and helping her move around the house.
Just a few minutes ago Lu and I took a short walk outside where the crescent moon gleamed above and the early morning fall chill filled our lungs. I’ve seen many mornings after a night without sleep. None compare to this.
Lu’s mother is on her way over now. They came up last night and stayed in a hotel nearby. The midwives are on their way as well. The tub is still covered, still hot, and ready to go for when Lu is ready to give birth.
That’s still several hours away, most likely, but every surge, every contraction is one step closer to this miraculous goal.
Our child is nearly here. Everything changes now.
Tub is filled. Fired up the jets and heater and woooosh the water shot out from the connection between the heater and the tub so I turned it off and freaked out a bit and thought it was leaking all over the place but then it stopped.
Then Lu said, “my water just broke,” and she ran to the bathroom.
Here we go.
Tonight we will be enjoying the Mets game from our luxury suite that comes equipped with a hot tub.
It’s also known as our dining room.
Lu’s been talking about how great it would be to actually have the hot tub filled up with nice hot water so that she could relax in there and take some of the pressure off of various parts of her body. The child has her pinned to whatever seat she is sitting on, or whenever she is laying down. Flotation will enhance relaxation.
We can keep the tub set up for a few days, but then we have to empty it so the water stays fresh.
Hopefully this is a head start for soon-approaching labor, and not just another test run. Either way, tonight she’s stylin!