Saturday, September 12, 2015

Too Late

There was a long while in which I really thought Sam was just going to walk in the door one day. You know, I'd look up, and there he would be.

But the other day, I had a terrible thought. 

If he came back now, would we recognize him? Or worse, would he recognize us? Have we changed so much in the last 638 days that we would be unrecognizable to him? Are there so many things that have happened...would it be impossible to fill him in on the last 638 days? (And how annoyed would he be that so much had happened without him!?)

Would he slip back into our family, or would he be a stranger? And what would it be like to have him here again? 

It's like that funky step in your family staircase. You know to step over it. You've got the habit of stepping over it and you can even do it in the dark. And then, finally, one day, the step is fixed. But you don't know how to walk on it now that it's been repaired.

We're stepping over that funky step every day. We've gotten, unfortunately, accustomed to life with a big Sam-shaped hole in it. It's become a fact of life, a part of who we are. 

It's no longer even fathomable to imagine what it would be like to have him here again. It's too late.

And yet...I miss him constantly. Continuously. Each and every day.

This past Friday night, I poured four cups of grape juice without even thinking about it. I didn't notice until it was time to pass out the cups. One to Yael, one to Solly, one to David...and one extra. 

One, two, three, four....

A year ago...Imagine
Two years ago...Busy
Three years ago....It's the Little Things

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I was driving today, wearing sunglasses.
Because the sun was shining.

And then suddenly, it started to rain.
Pour, actually.

But the sun was still shining.

I looked around, thinking that if I tried hard enough, I would find a rainbow.

But I didn't.
And then the rain stopped.
The sun shone.

Sometimes that is how I feel.
The sun can be shining.
And without warning, a monsoon pours down upon me.
I am overwhelmed with grief.

I want to find a rainbow, to imagine that it's going to end.
The rain stops, but sometimes the rainbow doesn't show its face.

Sometimes I am completely overwhelmed with the realization that I'm never going to wake up and find Sam here.

I hope for the rainbow. For the light and love and blessing.

Sometimes it hides its face.

A year ago: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Honesty
Two years ago: Out the Window (yes, we saw a rainbow two years ago today!)
Three years ago: Quiet Shabbat
Five years ago: Differences of Opinion

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Caught Up

There's a lot of busy-ness to this time of year.
Busy is good.
It keeps my mind on my task, focused on the child in front of me. It keeps my mind focused on her needs or on his needs, on making a lunch or packing a backpack or did you take a sweatshirt?

And busy is bad.
Because I can, for a few minutes, get so caught up in what I'm doing that I don't notice that there's one kid missing.

And then, wham.

Today was the first day of school. I've waxed poetic before about how much I really love the first day. New potential and all that.

Today was no different. I lined people up for their pictures. I made lunches. I packed backpacks. I made sure that sweatshirts were taken.

Driving to the elementary school, hit me. How could I only drop off Yael? Shouldn't I be dropping off Sammy?

I drove up to the school and I hope she thought that the tears were the usual mom-loves-the-first-day-and-gets-all-weepy type of tears. I hugged her tightly, so tightly. I kissed her little face and told her to be amazing.

And then I got back into the car. Solly didn't notice that I was crying hard.
He asked for Shut Up And Dance.

I took a deep breath, called it up on my iPod, and drove off, music blaring almost as loud as it would go.

Sometimes that's just what you've got to do.

love Solly's shirt choice today

Solly's first day was one day before, but he got in on the group shot today

Last year...Class lists
Two years ago...Milestones
Three years ago...Back to School and Trust
Four years ago...Back to School Tradition
Five years ago...For Everything A Season

Saturday, August 15, 2015


It seems that I spend a lot of time searching.

At camp, I couldn't help but look at the kids and wonder which ones would have been Sammy's friends.

I search the faces of the little boys and girls who are about his size. I see the ones that Solly gravitates toward, and I wonder if Sam would have been friends with those kids. Does Solly see something there that Sammy would have seen?

And sometimes I catch myself looking out at that sea of faces and I realize that I'm searching for Sam. Where is he? I've picked out my other kids amongst all the others, but where is Sam? And then that wash of realization....oh, yeah.

I searched the 4th grade class lists. Which one would have been his? Would he have been happy with the teacher assigned? I searched the lists....wishing, hoping, wanting his name to be there.

I search for his face in my dreams...and it's not there.
I keep searching.

Solly keeps telling me that he's sad that he isn't dreaming about Sam.
I tell him to keep looking.

It's been 610 days since Sam died. I don't even know what to do with that number. How is it that it feels like forever ago and yet I can still feel the fuzzy skin on his head in a whisper on my fingertips?

Last year: Incomplete
Two years ago: The Special Spice
Three years ago: Bouncing
Five years ago: What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Six years ago: Restful Vacation
Seven years ago: 13 Reasons I'm Not Blogging
Eight years ago: Wordless Wednesday (aka, Sam throws a tantrum)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Yael and I were doing yoga at the beach.
She looked down at my mat.
"It looks clean," she said, "until you look closely and see all the little bits of sand caught in the ridges of the mat."

That's how it is right now.
I look fine. Most of the time, I feel fine.

But the grief is there, like little grains of sand caught in the ridges of the mat.
You can't always see it, unless you look closely.

And it's not annoying...not really. But then you put your hands down on the mat and they come away with sand stuck to them...and then it's still not that uncomfortable...until you find that you need to brush your hands off...and then it gets in the way.

But then you get used to brushing your hands off between each yoga pose. Because you can get accustomed to nearly anything, can't you?

And the sand never goes away. You can't fully brush it off, it's always there, at least one tiny grain, always. Even many days after a beach trip, there's a bit of sand stuck in your toes or in the car mats.

One bit of sand can rub a blister in no time.
That's all it takes. Just one bit of sand.

This has been a fairly "normal" summer. Camp, work, beach, play, know.

And there's always that grain of sand against my hand, that ache in the back of my throat, that feeling that something just isn't quite right.

When you look closely at the grains of sand caught in the mat, they glitter ever-so-slightly, the way that sand in the sun catches the light and sparkles. The bits of sand can make a blister, no question. But the sparkle? That's Sammy too.

All the beaches of our life....
Tel Aviv
Glencoe Beach -- I have thousands of pictures, and this was one that I didn't remember.
Somewhere in Florida
And of course, at OSRUI...
One year ago: Bothered
Two years ago: The Next Step
Three years ago: Catering
Four years ago: Sam, the Kosher Ham
Five years ago: What I did on my Summer Vacation
Six years ago: Making Mud Puddles
Seven years ago: A Strange Obsession with Snacks (one of my favorite Sam posts ever)
Eight years ago: Best Shot Monday
(Can you believe I've been blogging this long?)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wishing Flower

Ooh! Ooh! A wishing flower!
One for Yael and one for me.

What are you guys going to wish for?

For Sammy to come back.

Yeah, me too.

Last year: Ephemeral Moments
Two years ago: Heat Wave
Three years ago: To Shabbat and Beyond
Four years ago: Gotta Love All God's Creatures
Five years ago: Favorite Part of Camp
Seven years ago: Enjoying Summer

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Not Forgetting

Remember, we talk about Sam all the time.

And every so often, when it feels like we've gone several days without talking about Sam, Solly will pipe up with, "I think I'm forgetting Sammy."

I think he means, "hey, folks, you haven't talked about him in the last day or so," but since he's four and his options are limited, that's what he comes up with.

At least that's what I tell myself.

Because how could it be that he could forget his brother? How could it be that we could forget our Sam? Of course we can't, of course we won't.

Each day, he feels farther away. His peers get that much taller and more grown-up. Another summer is midway through and he's not amongst the campers.

Today, Solly engaged in two of Sammy's favorite camp activities: he rode horses and he climbed the Alpine Tower. And he did it all wearing a shirt that said "Sam." It wasn't on purpose when he got dressed this morning, but it felt just right to see him sitting up there on a horse, wearing one of Sammy's shirts.

We're not forgetting him anytime soon...or ever.

Sam in pajamas, on a horse at camp
Solly, on a horse at camp, no pajamas
It's hard to fathom how much alike these two are....
I *knew* there was a pic of Sam that looked JUST like Solly...and I found it!
Sammy, up in the air....
Summer 2011
Where we were...
2009: Update from camp
2011: Making Friends
2012: Owie Owie Ding and Hair Today
2013: Ninja Leukemia
2014: A Day in the Life and Day 201