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I’ve been finding myself caught in the middle of 2 different worlds. The one that is the blogging babylost community and my other life. The life that allows me to fakely go forward and pretend like nothing ever happened. Where someone asks me how I’m doing and I say good. The one that allows me to socialize with friends, teach yoga to kids, manage a business, go food shopping, and just live my life.

Then I sit at my computer, and get lost in the blogs, and realize how sad my world really is. How devastating my life is and how fake most of my daily life is.  I find emotions that I didn’t know were there. I make realizations I hadn’t yet come to on my own. I commiserate, I identify and I cry.  I love my babylost mama friends. I take those much needed breaks from them, but then I devour their words all at once. The breaks are healthy, but something is missing from my life when I’m not immersed in them. They are the ones who understand wholeheartedly and completely. But it is a dark dark place when I go there, and I can’t always go there.

Really the only time I can be in a happy medium place is home with Chris, when we’re chillin’ on the couch with our kitties, watching t.v., eating dinner, just being real with each other.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends and family members who allow me to be real, to express how I’m really feeling at any given moment, who let me talk and cry and just listen wholeheartedly. But that too is also emotionally draining. I don’t want to be the person that no one wants to be around because I’m always sad, or who wants to talk about Silas or getting pregnant or how unhappy I really am. That scares me. So most of the time I have to be ok.

I feel emotionally drained, almost all the time. From having to put on a happy face.  From having to cry and be devastated. From having to figure out how to be in this medium middle world more often. When I can be real, happy one moment, sad the next or even just complacent and there is no one to judge. Chris doesn’t judge of course, he’s right there with me.

We spent last week doing something we love the most. The thing that brought us together in the first place. Our favorite band, Phish, got back together and played a string of shows on the East Coast. We got to hang with all of our friends who came in from all over. We drank, danced, laughed, cried and sold lots of coffee. It was a phenomenal week.  There wasn’t much down time in between, and we spent a few days working, in between shows. We thought selling Bean & Leaf at the shows would be perfect, that way we can make some money, introduce B&L to a wider audience, and not have to socialize too much. That part gets tough. It worked out pretty great most of the time, we were super busy, people loved the coffee, and I was able to look out and see all of our friends around us.

I had many emotional breakdowns through the course of the week. It was fine. But again, I don’t want to be that person no one wants around because they’re not sure how i’ll be. I make people uncomfortable, I know that. I bumped into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years. He’s a friend of mine on facebook, but we really haven’t spoken at all. He said to me “didn’t you have a baby or something?”  uh oh, was all I could think. I took a deep breath and tried to tell him. He did the old looking down at his feet, backing away move, all the while saying “I’m sorry I asked, It’s ok, you don’t have to tell me.”  But of course I did. If I had a healthy happy baby, I would tell you all about it. But since it was tragic, he didn’t want to hear it.  This, my friends, is where it gets complicated.

This medium middle world place, I can say whatever I want, anytime. I can laugh hysterically watching The Office, then minutes later mention how much I want Silas and hate our life and just be insanely and utterly sad.

I don’t blame anyone for any of this. This is all me, trying to work it all out, to figure out how to be in these changed, devastating new worlds I find myself in.

We were psyched up about the Tweedy show last week, and when he actually dedicated those songs to our son we were blown away.  Both the beauty of the music and the power of hearing our son’s name in such a public setting sent us both soaring.

Yesterday I clattered to the ground disoriented and upset.

I miss him I miss him I miss him so much was all I could think yesterday.  I was barely holding back tears as I went about my business.  But there’s a rule: No Crying At Work, so I just put my head down and got to it all.  And I was busy.  The business grows weekly and it’s hard to digest each new account and plan for their new needs and schedules.  The thing of it is, our goal at work is to become overwhelmed.  When I finally physically cannot do everything that needs to get done, it’s time to hire someone else.

However, feeling overwhelmed is not fun, and my ability to withstand pressure and chaos is not what it used to be.  My tactic is the same as always, though.  One step at a time.  Do what must be done first and next and worry about the rest of it in its own time.

The high of gorgeous live music dissipated yesterday.  I felt guilty and icky about feeling happy over the previous few days.  It was as though I had betrayed Silas, as if I was somehow wearing his death as a badge.  How dare I feel good when all I really want is him, with me, now. Yesterday I spent a day living in all the future moments I won’t have Silas and it was overwhelmingly terrible.

Today I’m a bit more balanced.  Today I’m walled up and fortified.  Which was a good thing because today Lu called me sobbing on the phone.  Her crash was the same as mine.  The ache of missing him.  That reverberating twang of loss that nearly snaps the strings of our souls.  The guilt of feeling happy for a little while.  But today I was able to be calm and helpful, to soothe her wounds just as she did for me, yesterday.

Ok, I have a great story to tell, it is a long one, but its really good. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

It starts with Chris and I and our love for the band Wilco. We started listening to them at the beginning of our relationship about 7 yrs ago, and they had a huge impact on us. We saw their shows every chance we got, all over the country!  Jeff Tweedy (the lead singer) also did some of his own solo shows which were always incredible. He is a one of a kind singer/songwriter who loves to banter with his audience. He is hilarious as much as he is soulful and his music has helped us through this incredibly awful time.

A month ago tickets went on sale for his solo show at the Calvin Theatre in Northhamton, MA. Chris managed to get us 2 single tickets in the orchestra, not together. I then had a brilliant idea- I will write to Jeff through his management company, and tell him our story.

I wrote an email, telling him a bit about us, the music, and about Silas. Silas even got to be at a Wilco show at Tanglewood this summer. I requested the song Jesus, Etc. to be played for us and for Silas, because it is just so perfect and we love it.

I received an email back immediately, telling us the the letter was being forwarded to Jeff and that he may or may not play it, but that they really appreciate hearing from their fans and were sorry for our loss. It was very  sweet of them and we appreciated it so much. We then began thinking that he actually may play that song for us! Why not? If he read the letter, then he might do it. It was hard to not get my heart set on it, but I also had to be realistic, this guy is a rock star who gets tons of mail, he cannot possibly acquiesce to every request.

We got to the theatre and met our friends Andrea & Chris.  They love Wilco, too, and once I told them about the letter, they had to be in there. Luckily, the first person they asked had 2 extras!  We got in, had a drink and then found our seats. Now Chris and I did not have seats together but the one next to me was a open so Chris sat there for the moment.  We kept waiting for that person to show up and take their seat. I was so nervous. I had no clue how this was going to go, was he going to sing the song? Mention us or Silas? Not play it at all?  Ugh, it was all so nerve-racking. On top of that, I kept waiting for someone to kick Chris out of his seat.

The show started, Jeff played about 4 songs, said hi to the crowd, but didn’t really banter.  The next song he played was our song, the one we requested. I’ve never heard it played with so much soul, and so much love. We felt it. We held hands and we took it all in. It was beautiful. You could not even hear a pin drop in that room, the energy was incredible. I knew he was thinking about Silas and playing it for us and for our beautiful son. Immediately he goes into another song- called One by One. I LOVE this song and almost requested this to be the one he played for us. How did he know?!!!  Next up were 2  new songs and then after that he stopped and started talking to the crowd.

He leaned into the microphone and said, “Some of those songs, actually most of those songs, they are dedicated to Silas.”

I freaked out. I started crying and hyperventilating and couldn’t believe it. We were shocked, stunned, floored, just blown away. He took the time to sing not just the song we requested, but other songs, and picked them out special for us and for him. He was so serious up until this point, just completely into the music and nothing else. But once he declared this dedication to our baby, he relaxed, he let go and the show took a new turn. He began to banter with the crowd, telling anecdotes, taking requests, and really enjoying himself.

He gave everything to us and Silas for those first 8 songs. Yes, 8 songs!!! It was magic. That is the only way to describe it. In my letter, I also told him that our wedding song was California Stars.  Later on in the show, he played that, too!  He also played a cover of one of our favorite Radiohead songs. We didn’t even know he knew it!

The final piece of amazing-ness happened just before the first encore. The guy in front of us turned around and said “you two seem like big fans, and my brother is recording this so if you want, I can send you a copy.” We were stunned and so excited we would have a copy of this incredibly personal performance.  Later on, at the end of the show Chris told him that the Silas dedication was for us. He couldn’t believe it. We received the link to the show today and listened to it on our drive back from the city.  If you would like to hear it, you can download a zipped copy of the show here. (that link will break after a certain # of downloads, so if you miss it, drop a note in the comments or in an email and we will make sure you get it.)

We are so thankful that Jeff Tweedy took the time to think of us, to think of our son, and to play his gorgeous music for him and for us.  We will never forget that night.

Silas would have been 4 months old today.  We would have just been getting into our family groove, finally settling into our new role as parents.  Instead we are on the darkened flipside of that joyful vision.  We are unsettling onto a hard and slippery path.

Today I would have bragged about my tiny son and told you all about his poops and gurgles.  Instead I stood mute and pushed grimly through the day, not telling everyone what I couldn’t stop thinking about.

I want to tell people about him, but I do not know how to do it.  Even when asked a direct question about the existence of offspring in my life I’m not always sure how to respond.  Just the other day two people asked me if I had kids and with one I told the truth and the other I outright lied.

I don’t feel bad about that, though.  Sometimes it’s just easier to not explain everything, especially in a professional setting.  I sorta believe that it’s a privilege for me to speak of Silas.  It’s not something I talk about with just anyone.  If I feel comfortable telling you about him it means I trust you and that I take you seriously as a friend.

These last 4 months have been the longest of my life.  The days have been dense and heavy, tough to carry and hard to push through.  In many ways I feel like nothing else exists before September 25, 2008.  It is somewhat painful to look back beyond that, back into our blissful ignorance.  Before that day, hope was an idea I could easily grasp.  It is much harder to grab hold of these days.

I reach for it, but hope is hard and slippery like the ice that seals the yards and sidewalks of this town.  A white, crusty foam covers the landscape and when I walk down the block to the liquor store or the post office I see the same twisted flows of water-turned-hard day after day, week after week.

When I try to hold Silas in my mind and in my heart, I find those same slick surfaces.  Everything we were about to become has slowed and hardened.  Our almost-parentness, our new-sonhood, our fresh & beautiful family, those aspects are sealed behind clear, thick ice.  Shattering those walls releases a flood of tears but the salty water runs hot.

I want to tell you about my son, but the story is too sad and too true.  It starts where it ends:  with broken hearts and the hard, cold flows of frozen hopes.

The only things that help us thaw are love and friendship and patience and music and the heavy purr of sleeping cats tucked close in our bed.

The promise of sun on my faces pulls me out into the day.  At night, the chance to share a dream with our vanished son slips me into my anxious slumber.  All day there are words that are frozen in my throat.

I want to tell you about my son Silas but the words are too hard to be heard. They slip from me in shivered whispers;  his absence makes me cold.

So, today its officially 3 months since Silas was born and died. Everywhere I go, with everything I do, I picture doing it with Silas. I think about him in his car seat while I’m driving around, going to work and shopping. I think about bringing him from school to school and leaving him in the infant rooms while I teach my yoga classes. I picture him in his sling around me as I clean the apt and do errands in the neighborhood. I think about  him laying across my chest while I’m relaxing and watching tv. It never ends. I do have those moments where I don’t think about what happened to us at all. Is that a defense mechanism? I don’t know. But then reality hits and he’s there again. Those moments where I don’t think about Silas are so fleeting. I assume they’ll get more frequent and for longer periods of time, but I can’t imagine that happening anytime soon. I mean c’mon people, its only been 3 months.

I hate this feeling. Not having a baby, not being pregnant, still carrying around these last few pounds of baby weight, everyone assuming I’m having a hard time because of the holidays. Luckily we really don’t celebrate them so it being Christmas & Hanukkah really doesn’t matter much to me. What affects me most is that I should have a 3 month old baby with me, regardless of the time of year.  New Years is a bit tougher to swallow though. We planned on having a quiet night with friends, making dinner and throwing dishes against the wall to get out all this pent up anger. But both couples we were planning to be with are pregnant and I don’t think I can handle it. I want to, they are great friends of mine who I love dearly, but I can’t. I know I can’t and I don’t want to spend new years eve sad. So we’re back to square one.

I’d love to be on an island with hot sun beating down on my skin, but try making plans this close to new years without spending a fortune. Its just not happening and it pisses me off. I was watching some stupid pseudo reality show the other day and this couple was staying in this beautiful hotel in Mexico that looked like exactly like where I would want to be. I was so mad because I knew that we could never feasibly go somewhere like that and thought how much we deserved that right now and how much they didn’t because they are really such assholes. It made me furious.  So right now, nothing sounds appealing for new years but I’m sure we’ll figure something out. Last year we saw some fun music and had a blast – it was the type of new years we’ve had for many many years now. I assumed it would be our last crazy one for a long time. I wasn’t even pregnant yet when I thought that, but I knew. So now that we are baby-less, it pains me to even think about it. The only importance I’m placing on this day is that its the last of 2008, the shittiest year collectively for many people in our lives.  I have hopes for 2009 but I’m not going to hold my breath.

The one bright spot in our lives right now is this awesome kitten we are watching for the next 3 weeks. We already have 2 old cats of our own, so this sweet little guy Einstein (pronounced Einshtein and named by our german friend Birke) is all over the place. He runs around trying to get Chumby and Bandha to play with him. They are old and grumpy and think he’s crazy. Its been a hiss-fest these last few days, but slowly but surely, they are getting used to each other.  He is fun and new and cute and cuddly and he seems to love Chris. He just runs away from me which I’m so not used to because our 2 kitties just adore me.  Regardless, its really nice and refreshing having this lovable creature breathe some new life in our apt in these dark dark days.

Woke up to the first snowfall off the season.  It had started the night before and I knew it was going to be out there waiting for me in the morning, but it still stung.  It was a shoulda-been moment that was instead another of life’s little boobytraps.

I got my stuff together and then dashed out to the car.  As soon as the cold, snow-scented air hit my lungs I noticed a couple walking down our block and in my head I suddenly said to myself “Reset! Reset!”

I wanted a button I could push that would wipe this last year away and start it over, back to the first snowfall of last year.  Back before Lu was pregnant.  Back before Silas blazed into our lives and transformed us forever.  Back before this terrible wisdom had entered my soul.  I have no idea who those two people were.  They were just walking down the block, no kid or stroller with them as is so common, and they looked happy.

I want to be like that, I thought.

Obviously I had no knowledge of the true state of their lives but the tableau of ivory snow and moist pavement and a high, cool-blue sky and two people hand in hand just walking down the sidewalk carefree and alone, it struck me.

They looked happy, and they looked innocent.  They were Lu and I pre-pregnancy for a moment.  For me.

Any last vestiges of innocence have been seared from my soul.  I take nothing for granted.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy myself when I can, but I am also always watching out the corner of my eye to see where the next blindside is coming from.  I am constantly aware that the Universe is a sharp, hard and treacherous environment that we must tread with caution and find comfort where we can.

Perhaps that is why couches are so popular.  That also happens to be where my wife is right now and where I should be, too.  Silas should be there with us, instead of just our cats.  But the button doesn’t seem to work.

The snow is melted now, the moment passed.  The two I saw walked on into whatever future they had down the block.  I drove off to deliver coffee and save the day.  Lu moved through her motions in the practice of her yoga and the exploration of her grief.

I danced as I drove and cried as I danced.  I loved the music I was hearing.  I missed Silas so much.  I felt the road racing beneath my seated form.  I was feeling every aspect of the exact moment that was happening, blasted apart by the fact that Silas would never see or hear or feel any of it and the button still didn’t work.

Reset.  Reset.  RESET!!

Music has been such a huge part of both our lives so it would only make sense that its played a big part in the pregnancy, the labor and now the grieving process. Chris and I got together because of love for the same band. The foundation of our relationship was based on traveling city to city to see Phish and dance and gather with friends from around the world who shared in the same love for music and all its powers.  We even had some of our favorite music help us to walk down the aisle before and after we became husband and wife. We spent 4 years in San Francisco and saw more live music then you can count on all our fingers and toes put together. We always have the ipod on, playing our favorites while we’re hanging out at home. While pregnant, we saw a bunch of different shows throughout the summer, of many various musical backgrounds- among them were Liz Phair, Ween, Wilco and Radiohead.  We were so excited to see what musical tastes our little one would soon develop.

We created a birthing mix throughout the last few weeks of the pregnancy. On our various car rides, we’d go through the ipod and choose song after song that we knew would be perfect for this mix, our favorites from Bob Marley, Wilco, The Beatles, Paul Simon and even Bon Jovi. I’ll never forget the moment during the labor when one of our midwives said that right now two of her favorite things were happening- listening to the Grateful Dead and delivering a baby. She said most of the time the music during the birth was Enya or some other new-agey stuff. Our mix played over and over again throughout those 18 hours. I don’t really remember specific songs coming on during the labor, I was so focused on my breathing and the pain I was in. I do remember though being in the tub and certain songs coming on and everyone hoping that Silas would be born to this one, or maybe that one, or maybe that first one again when the mix came back around.

We went to a show 3 weeks after Silas died. It was Trey Anastasio who was/is the lead singer for Phish. He was playing at a venue so close to our home and friends gave us tickets, so really, how could we not go? We hadn’t considered going originally because we were supposed to have a 3 week old baby. But now we didn’t and maybe the music could fill this incredible void and be healing and powerful and distract us from all this pain. It felt weird to be in public, to be in a place that usually brought me so much joy, when I was feeling so bad. We were surrounded by incredible friends, yet I still felt this overwhelming feeling of lonliness. As soon as the music started, I burst into tears and didn’t stop until the show was over. Chris and I sat alone in the back rows of the theatre and just cried and listened. I wanted to leave so badly but we couldn’t, our friends drove us there. I was forced to stay and just let the music take me wherever it was going to take me. It was so difficult but I don’t regret it. I think it helped me in some ways. We are going to make another attempt at live music in another month or so and see David Byrne. I think its important that we keep trying to let the music help us to heal.

This past week I drove to and from my parent’s house in NJ, the longest drive I have done so far since Silas’s birth. Actually pretty much the only drive I have done. It hadn’t crossed anyone’s minds that maybe this drive would be hard for me. That having to spend 2+ hours in the car alone would give me way too much time to think or that maybe I wouldn’t be capable of focusing on all that is necessary to get one’s self from point A to point B by car. The only way i’d get through this was with music and not NPR which is what I usually listen to while driving.  For the drive there, I chose full albums. That’s Chris’s favorite way of listening to music. Mine is to put the ipod on the big shuffle – and let all 9000 songs be up for grabs at any moment.  I chose to listen to the new album of Tom Waits covers by Scarlett Johanson. A friend who works for Warner sent me a nice package of cds & box sets of all kinds of music. I was so curious about her cd so I thought this would be a great place for her to make her debut. I loved it. It was ethereal, spacey, and perfect for this car ride. Then I chose Graceland by Paul Simon. Every Sunday, Chris and I would drive up to Coventry, CT to sell coffee at the biggest farmer’s market in CT.  On the hour drive up we would either listen to a new episode of This American Life or Graceland. Boy in the Bubble was on our baby mix and though it makes me cry listening to it now, I still want to hear it, I somehow need to hear it. Luckily I didn’t form an attachment to the songs on the baby mix with what happened. I will always associate this album as the soundtrack to the summer I was pregnant with Silas. I think that when I listen to it, it brings me closer to him and how I felt with him inside me. I will never know him as a person after the birth, but just who he was while he was inside of me. All of the music we listened to endlessly throughout that time will play a huge part in bringing Silas closer to me. As each day passes, I somehow feel further and further from him. I think I’m using the music to help me to remember all that I know of him. It’s true that songs can bring you back to certain moments of your life, thats why they are so powerful. I need the music to keep me connected to my beautiful baby.

These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry
Don’t cry

“The Boy in the Bubble”   By Paul Simon

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