100 Word Challenge - moral

The following is in response to the 100 Word Challenge authored by the truthful Velvet Verbosity. The word is ... moral.

A hard pregnancy.

Hyperemesis. Again.

Days in hospital. Rehydration. IV fluids.

And underlying all, a fear of the same result.

The spectre of a stillborn girl hangs over all.

But we are here to give birth.

The monitors beep and click, the IV fluids flow.

Sudden alarms. Fetal heart rate dropped.

Something is wrong. Again.

Disconnected everything hangs without purpose now.

Alone in the empty room. Waiting for word.

Wondering what God lets this happen twice.

The nurse comes. She wraps me in her arms.

Your son is fine.

Relief floods. Shaking stops.

A hard story.

We never find the moral.

I love my sons more than life itself. But some unkind fate, some cosmic twist of unfortunate circumstance, took a beautiful little girl from us and left a huge hole in our lives. Sarah Katherine was 11 lbs. at birth. She looked just like her mother. Beautiful. But she never drew a breath. She never got to cry. She never got to know the wonderful warmth of the soft love in Annie's arms. On December 10th she will have been 28 years old. I think of her every day. I saw to her burial the day after she was born. It was the saddest and the loneliest thing I have ever done. No one was there but me and the Undertaker. And it was cold, wet and drizzly. Perfect. All it needed was a string section playing the Prelude to La Traviata. Sorry. It's just that I have never understood why. If there was supposed to be some great cosmic moral to her story, I still don't get it. I don't suppose I ever will. And I can tell you for sure Annie never will, either.

When #1 son was born and the same fate threatened him, it tested everything I knew and thought I understood. And it all came up short. I began to realize that God has no time for or interest in one little speck like me or my progeny. Bigger things on HIS mind, for sure. Fine by me. But it would have been nice to know beforehand.

This is that little boy. Age here? About a year and a half. He is sleeping off a detergent hangover. He drank some. And threw up All. Over. Everything. It's okay though. He's 26 now and I don't believe there are any lingering after effects.

This is that same little boy about a week later. At Grandma's house. On Christmas day. And yes, that's me with him. And yes, my head really is that big in relation to my body. It's hard to tell now, because I'm rather big all over. Right now I am about 45 pounds heavier than in this picture. But the 180 pounds pictured here is the target weight for my diet. I have already lost 18. Only 45 more to go. Oh, and the glasses are MUCH smaller these days. And I don't wear sideburns down to my navel any longer. This was, after all, 1984. I had just turned 39 two and a half months before. And yes, I LOVED my bib overalls. And denim shirts. And that little boy next to me. Number 1 son.

Tuesday, Episode 11 of The Kid will publish. The end of his story. Thursday, an 'Epilogue' to that story.


Myst_72 said...

Oh Lou...

The loss of a child is a tear in your heart that never seems to mend.

I stood over the open casket of my three year old niece and felt my heart broke into a million pieces.
I will never understand why either.

I am loving the overalls - I am an overall fan actually (I have a delish khaki pair that I wear to garden and stuff), and the sideburns are back in now.


Theresa said...

Oh Lou, I'm so sorry :( I can only imagine the kind of grief you and your Annie must have felt, and still feel. Antique Mommy wrote about it a few days ago too. One day we will understand why these things happen.

And I think sideburns are kinda hot! Your son is beautiful. I have to read The Kid from the beginning, I missed too many at the start to catch it in the middle. I didn't want to ruin it. So it is on my to-do list. Promise!

Theresa said...

My daughter's name is Zara, and I wanted her middle name to be Katherine. Her dad chose otherwise. Sarah Katherine is a beautiful name.

warriorwoman said...

That's really sad, too bad you had to live through that kind of suffering.

Trannyhead said...

That's a terrible loss, Lou. I'm really at a loss for words as to how bewildering and horrible it must have been for you.

Your son, of course, seems utterly fantastic. But of course you already knew that.

Honeybell said...

I am without words, but I couldn't just go on without leaving a virtual hug.

redchair said...

I’m so sorry you went through such a heartbreaking experience. When these things happen we all ask that question and the only thing we find is depression, which inevitably turns to anger. “Why me God? How dare you make Annie and I suffer this pain. You must not care about me. You’ve abandoned me, SO I’ll abandon you too!”

Yet here’s another question: Here’s a little girl, that never took a breath- yet her Dad loved her as much as any child could EVER hope to be loved. Twenty-eight years later your heart still aches. It’s undeniable she was loved and wanted. Isn’t that the most important thing we all seek in this process of living?

Maybe He didn’t abandon you. He sure didn’t abandon Sarah. In her brief moment, He gave her a father that would love her forever.

Jennifer said...

I'm at a complete loss of words. that story brought me to slilent sobbing... I couldn't imagine for one moment living that. I'm so sorry for your loss, I'm not even sure if that can amount to anything at all to let you know what I'm feeling for you and your wife.

Thankfully you were blessed two more times, not that it erases that pain or can fill that emptiness of your daughter.

Your son is adorable, well was at that age and I'm sure still is.
I don't think your head is big at all... serioulsy. I have been looking over the picture for a few minutes now... and I can't see that at all. :S hmmm... I think it is just you. I also totally get the sideburns and bigger glasses... it was the 80's... hair was big, spandex was big, overalls were a big hit... and so were sideburns and glasses... big. :)

LOTS of love and hugs coming your way!! If I were moving to be your neighbor I would be sitting in your living room crying right now, telling you and Annie how sorry I am for your loss. :(

xoxoxoxo always, Jenn

maggie's mind said...

Heartbreaking and crushing but beautifully told. So lonely, indeed, and obviously so haunting. I get it that there will always be a hole there, someone missing, and I can't imagine.

In my own horrible but different experience, I see zero point, zero moral to my sob story other than that I've learned more compassion (perhaps to balance out my anger at those who can have kids but don't bother to care and who abuse or neglect such blessings).

Anyway, not every man will be so open with his feelings on such a loss, and I find it refreshing, even if my heart breaks for you and Annie.

Patsy said...

I had three very easy pregnancies and gave birth easily to three beautiful daughters. It was not until the birth of a grandson, Grayson J, that I experienced the pain you of which you speak. He only lived for a few minutes and I never got to hold him. I just have to trust that God in his omnipitence knows why.

Way to go on the diet. I'm not having that kind of success. And you look much as my husband did back in '84 -- well in that you were thinner than now, wore huge glasses, and had those (opinion here)aweful sideburns. But the young man next to you --- I'd take him in a heartbeat tooooooo cute for words. :)

Hyphen Mama said...

I cannot imagine. I am sorry you and Annie have had to endure this sadness.

#1 son... SO adorable. What a sweet baby face, sleeping off his detergent hangover.

Joyce-Anne said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lou. It (death) is never easy, but when a child, an infant, never gets the chance...a dark cloud remains over us our entire lives. For me, it's the miscarriage I had between my oldest daughter and my son. I know in my head it was probably for the best, but my heart still doesn't understand. I can't even imagine to begin to feel the pain you and Annie went through and still question today.

I have to say #1 son is a cutie. And, I love the overalls.

Jientje said...

That must have been such a heartbreaking experience.
I can believe that no day ever goes by without the two of you thinking of her.

Your kids do have a strange love for anything liquid that makes them throw up. So that must come from your genes as well, huh?

Karen said...

I lost my firstborn to adoption. I was 17 and unmarried in 1970. My parents made all the decisions. I got to hold him once, then he was gone forever. I think about him every day, too. I know it is not the same as losing a child to death, but to me, it still hurts every single day.

Anonymous said...

Lou, what a heart-wrenching story. I felt your pain through your words. I am so sorry you carry this with you. What a horrible, horrible thing. I loved everything you said, but I must admit, I can't agree with you on this:

"I began to realize that God has no time for or interest in one little speck like me or my progeny. Bigger things on HIS mind, for sure. Fine by me. But it would have been nice to know beforehand."

Just like you love all your children implicitly, He does too. I have absolutely no idea how He does it - and never will in this life - but he aware of every tiny aspect of us, who we are, what we love, what our weaknesses and strengths are. Never doubt that.

There are things in life that we will never fully understand, and we are left with the whys and why nots.

My oldest brother would have been 40 this year. My mother lost her first child on Mother's Day. I am sure it was like rubbing salt in the wound. I know I will see him again in the next life. I will never lose that hope.

Thank you for sharing something so intensely personal. I am sure it was difficult to write. Blessings to you my dear Lou. If I could hug you, I would.

Ash said...

Hi Lou, my dear friend,

You are an amazing writer.
Thank you for sharing this story with us.

Much love and hugs and hooray for your son's success in surviving the detergent and the overalls!
And congrats on working towards your goal!

Eve Grey said...

Wonderful post Lou. So nice to hear a little more about you and your family. As hard as stories like these are to tell, I find it amazing how it helps others to give voice to theirs. The picture of your son sleeping is just so darn beautiful.

Allison said...

Just wanted to drop by and let you know I haven 't forgotten about you :-)

I'm sorry you had to go through that loss. The village I live in recently had a family whose youngest boys died in a fire, and with both them and you, I can't imagine being in that position. It's the one thing I'm most scared of, to lose my babies. I agree with the other sentiments---what a wonderful father she was given, to know he still loves her as much now as then, despite the fact she never got to run and play here on earth. But I know she's ran and played and watched you while she was with her Father in heaven.

That being said, as your "good Christian" friend, I can't tell you why it is He allowed that. It's hard to understand, losing a child at any point. I've always been of the belief that there's a reason for everything---whether we find it here on earth or once we pass into heaven. I understand you feeling lost and small after such a thing, but please don't ever stop crying out to Him. He DOES hear you, He DOES love you, and He cares just as much for you as He does for those "bigger things". The song played/sung during offertory today was "Sometimes He calms the storm", which goes on to say sometimes He calms His child. I hope one day for you to find peace. Not that the instance has to be okayed, but that you find inner peace.


Allison said...

P.S. You look like my dad did in their wedding pictures. In 1974. :-) I don't remember him keeping his sideburns until the early 80's, but what do I know? LOL :-D

LceeL said...

Each and every one of you are such beautiful people. Each of you is different, yet you all reach out to encourage and comfort a person who is, essentially, a stranger. As much as I would like to, it's just too difficult to comment back to each one of you, individually. All there is to say - is thank you.
I do love you all. I truly do. You have no idea how much.

Lady Language said...

I could not imagine the pain of giving birth only to lose that life. I suffered a miscarriage during my first pregnancy but it does not compare. Give Annie a hug and take one for yourself. The pics are lovely and I am happy to see you cherish what you do have :-)

krissy said...

Oh my. What a dreadful thing to experience. Yet at the same time it was beautiful because your baby girl (btw...11lbs???? Wowser!) brought you great joy, saddness, love, grief and faith without ever taking a breathe. She was a miracle without ever saying a word. She showed you God without ever preaching a sermon. She made you even more grateful for your son without ever having a sin. she was simply a miracle and you were her mommy.

Thanks so much for stopping by my site (thanks to my great TARA!) and I can assure you that I will frequent yours.

Trac said...

Oh Lou and Annie.
I don't have any wise words like the others.
Only that has got to be one of the worst things that could happen to anyone.
I'm just so sorry it happened to you.
I like the sideburns myself...

witchypoo said...

That had to be so hard to write. I'm feeling you both. You are in my heart. If you can do this, you can do the Vietnam stuff. You are a fascinating man, Lou.

Tash said...

Oh Lou, I wish I could just wrap you up in a tight embrace.

Wish I had the words...

krissy said...

Ooops...my mistake. I guess the overalls should have been a clue.

You must know something about me. I screw up all.the.time. That's me in a nutshell.

hockeychic said...

I wish I had words. I know that my dear boyfriend experienced this with his first wife. They had a stillborn son. I know that one of the things that tore him up the most about their divorce was that he no longer had his son's ashes. You wrote it beautifully. I could see the graveyard and you there with the undertaker. I'm so sorry.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I can't believe how much you were able to convey in 100 words. I'm sure that is a hole you will never be able to fill. Nor should you. I cannot imagine burying a child alone. What profound grief.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter, Lou. That's so hard. It's so painful when people die young -- and for babies, it hardly seems fair.

It's fun to see you with your son, though. :)

Momisodes said...

Only 100 words, but your story and message touched us all. My heart breaks for you and Annie. I just cannot even imagine. It seems so unfair.

Your son is adorable. He resembles my husband when he was a toddler :) And he STILL wears bib overalls as an adult!

p.s. I have wallpaper that matches grandma's curtain

p.p.s. I'm so sad the story ends this week.

Huckdoll said...

I'm basically speechless but I do want to say that you are an amazing writer and that I've missed your blog and writings.

Kel said...

Harsh courage that. A shredding honesty.

Your son is so charming in the photos, reminds me of my son, Dominic, 19 years old now and serving in Iraq. But at that early age a tow-headed darling.

Eric S. said...

Lou, I am not ashamed to say that tears were flowing as I read your post. There is and most likely never will be any way I can even come close to understanding what you had to go through. I have no children of my own blood, only those I have taken as my own. Three to be exact, and I hope that things progress as they should be.

I see my sister Kel even paid you a visit before I could make it. I neither have a wise word, nor anything inspirational. I can only say that your love is remarkable and strong.

Zoeyjane said...

Her birthday is the same as mine, to the year. Do you believe in horoscopes and rising suns and such? I wonder if she would have been like me. But no not, because you are you and that's quite different from what I had.

I'm sorry that you didn't get to watch her grow up.

tiff said...

Lou, sweet Lou, I know I am so very late on this, for which I am sorry.

Those days are bittersweet when we think of our babies lost.

Hugs, my friend.

Tara R. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so sorry for your loss. My SIL lost her son, Christopher, at birth.

Martha Marshall said...

Here's another hug for you Lou. The rest have said everything.

Andreamuse said...

I'm so sorry about your daughter. You never really get over such types of loss.

nicole said...