7 a.m. & crying

Ha! You think this is early?
This is LATE!

The stupid, stupid baby has been crying since 2.

He only just fell back asleep.

I have this thing between 2 and 5. A selfish thing.
A thing where I will literally disembowel anything that comes between me and sleep.

So Ted usually takes that shift: the hardest, the groggiest, the nightmarishest.
Last time I tried, I ended up screaming in the baby's face, calling him names and spanking him. (not hard, but it scared me)

My Sleep Strategy: go in, comfort him & lie him down after 5, 10, 20, 40 minutes. Keep it simple, calm. "It's sleep time; good night."

40 is the hardest. I have never made it to 40.
I believe it works, but it's bloody hard to do consistently.

"Go to sleep, stupid baby," is not a soothing way to put him to sleep. It's one of the more mild things I have said to him between 2 and 5.

He screams. It's not crying, it's screaming. Like he's in pain, like he's on fire.

When YM & EC used to cry about things they didn't need to cry about, I used to say, "that's the voice you use when one of your parents is dead, chas v'sholom, not when you don't have enough pudding."

They did use that voice when their father died.
They cried so loud, so hard.

I also heard it when we had to give up the cat due to YM's allergies. "Nooooooooo..." Heart-breaking, awful. No parent wants to make her kids cry like that.
But maybe more so when Jeremy died.

I picked them up after school and we went to the park in Thornhill where we sometimes take pizza so we don't have to eat it in My Zeidy's.
Sat them down on the hill.
They knew he was sick, but thought - kids - that he'd get better soon.
Even at the beginning, I'd always known nothing would ever be the same. If he'd lived, he would have been a vegetable, so they pulled the plug.
But the kids thought they were getting him back.

So they screamed, and cried, and I let them sleep together in Elisheva's room that night.
YM said, "if there's going to be a funeral, I have to be there."
So I got them there, two days later, on a plane with a newborn to Calgary, and back 24 hours later.

They were too young to sit shiva; too young, mercifully, to know he was cremated and died without a Jewish funeral. His step-father, an ex-Catholic, said psalms in English; it was lovely. They showed a video of Jeremy, dancing on the beach in Hawaii, the beach he'd always promised to take me to, take the kids to. Dancing in the waves, with his Crohn's in remission, feeling good for the first time in a long time (maybe, I think sometimes, for the first time since we got married).

A little fish, swimming away.

YM has to have a schedule for everything. When the pain started slipping away, when the loss was no longer immediate and urgent, he said, "I'm going to be sad for four months." I said okay.

They're still sad, but I can see that they barely remember him. I try to share memories, but it's hard; Jeremy took most of the memories with him.

"Mazel tov on your new Naomi," he'd emailed. He shook Ted's hand when they met after our wedding and wished him a mazel tov too.

He'd borrowed his mother's CRV and drove across Canada with a videogame console he'd built for Yerachmiel Meir, because it would have cost too much to ship.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Probably the sort of thing that made me glad I wasn't still married to him.

Drove up erev Shabbos to our apartment on Meadowbrook, and Ted came down to give him a hand - he couldn't get it up 3 flights of stairs alone.
While they were moving the videogame unit (heavy, heavy! YM still has it but it doesn't work anymore), I packed up a plate of Shabbos food; I knew he wouldn't stay.
I wanted to make it nice for him. To thank him for caring about the kids, for being a mensch about Ted.

We had spring rolls, and I packed up a couple for him and even dug around to find a take-out packet of egg roll sauce.
I didn't give it to him, I went downstairs and tucked it all onto the dashboard of the CRV, where he'd see it when he got into the car. Snuck back into the house.

It was October, I think. I was five months pregnant with Naomi; he said it looked good on me.
He didn't touch my nose, like he did the day in Calgary that we did the get. He came over afterwards to see the kids, and as he left, he swiped my nose, gently, just on the tip.

One time when he came to Toronto, he left a note on the pillow: "I will always love you."
I still have it.

After dropping off the videogame thing, he stayed for a few minutes to visit the kids. I took a picture on his cellphone of him standing with YM and the videogame machine. Nobody ever found that picture; it was the last one of them together.

He died in April, between Purim and Pesach.

"Mazel tov on your new Naomi." So gracious, for once, for a change, for the first time since our divorce.
So peaceful.

The last night, a Monday, he chatted on the phone with Elisheva, and they did an online chat at the same time: just silly nonsense syllable stuff. She saved the chat transcript.
He talked to YM, too, but mostly he talked to me, after years of me mostly perfunctorily handing over the phone to the kids so we wouldn't get into it.

He'd sent a package for the kids from Hawai'i but Purolator hadn't been able to drop it off. Originally, I would have had to drive out to Mississauga to get it, but he arranged a pickup location at Yonge and Eglinton and was so happy to have saved me the trip with a newborn in the car; driving anywhere was hard. Still, he apologized that I had to go get it at all. (I went a few days later; it was hard, lots of stairs with the baby in her carseat carrier)

We talked about our plans for the summer, about me maybe coming out, or the bizarre fantasy of me driving them halfway, maybe meeting him in Chicago, to save plane fare.
It was the first time in a while that he'd really clicked with Elisheva - their phone conversations were often awkward.
It was our first peaceful conversation in so long. I felt like a good friend was coming back after years away.

We hung up because Monday was his swim night.
We never talked again.
The next day, I got messages from his uncle, his aunt, that he was in the hospital.
On Friday, he died.

And now here I am with these big kids, this baby he'll never see, and it's 7 a.m. (but it's not anymore) and I'm thinking about stuff and wallowing because life goes on, even sometimes when it seems too hard to bear, and maybe you're a little bit envious of those who don't have to do it anymore.

Just a little. Not enough to make me give up or anything, except maybe between 2 and 5.
7:30? This is late!
Everybody will be waking up soon; I'd better go see the garden.


  1. ((((hugs))))

    If I'm woken up between 2 and 5 a.m., I become slightly homicidal. Just slightly. I get you.


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