Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ebry's first photo shoot

Unfortunately, ultrasound technology has not evolved enough to allow us to see the expression on Ebry's face as s/he devises future schemes. As you'll notice, I've taken the liberty of calling Ebry "Baby" on this image. I'm too lazy to make more than one photo edit, and I plan to send this out to a few folks who don't need to know that Brooke and I named the kid already.

This is Ebry at 7 weeks gestational age. Two weeks have passed since this image, but short of taking pictures of my bloated abdomen, this is the best you'll get for a while.


More on Ebry later

You should go do this.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Hey, guess what? Ebry's a fetus!

Ebry is somewhere around 1.5 to 2.0cm long, and is in the process of developing her/his various organs. The upcoming developmental stage, as you will see in the image below, is the Development of the Evil Plot.

Ebry devises an evil plot

Note how the tiny fetus's fingers touch à la Mr. Burns.

Brooke and I are reading up on babies in order to get ahead. Important lessons include How to Avoid Being Peed On and How to Teach Small People to Fall Asleep. Any suggestions on parenting books will be accepted. I think we have our hands full.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Despair and hope sit face to face*

I’ve been working on this entry for a week and a half. I was waiting to get through yesterday to post it, and although I guessed that I may have jinxed it by writing this so far in advance, I couldn’t not write it.

Two weeks ago, I sat on my mother’s grave and wept longer and harder than I ever have. I’m going through this loss all over again because I have to do something permanent and life-changing without her. I still blame myself for her death. Have I ever mentioned that? It makes me the quintessential Lutheran, but it’s true. I sat there crying while Brooke and Dad wandered nearby and chatted about other family plots in the cemetery. I could have stayed there in the sand and the ants all day, but we were preparing to make the five hour drive home. I can bawl just as easily with 250 miles between us as with 6 feet of dirt.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see the heartbeat of the newest member of my family. Ebry, as s/he has been titled until s/he breathes on her/his own, is expected to arrive on Super Bowl Sunday, give or take a few weeks. Brooke and I have spent a great deal of time hoping and praying for the arrival of Ebry the Embryo. We sought the assistance of herbalists, acupuncturists, doctors, and friends. We have invested time, money, insurance coverage, and prayer. I’ve been pricked with needles, drunk foul tasting herbs, subjected myself to invasive questions and procedures, and wept, and I couldn’t be happier.

Gestating is an exhausting endeavor, and my mood can shift as the hormones fly. Our nurse, our much beloved nurse, asked how many grandparents the tiny little embryo has. We listed them: Brooke’s mom and stepdad, her dad and stepmom, and my dad. No, I explained, my mother’s not in the picture. She died last year.

And it was all I could do not to weep.

*credit to Carrie Newcomer

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I don't want to do another meme

But I do want to tell you that my uncle, you know, Uncle McJackass, is a member of the state's Polka Hall of Fame. For all of his assholery, he's actually quite good.

Oh, and I may have mentioned that my grandmother has her own set of problems. Several months ago, my father communicated to me that she made arrangements for her own funeral services and for the dog after her death. Peppy, the pepper-colored micro-poodle, was to be cremated and buried with my grandmother--that is, if the dog preceded her in death. If not, the dog was to be euthanized, embalmed, and stuffed into the casket with my grandmother.

Unfortunately, Peppy was the victim of a dog attack last month, and she has since been cremated. (Fortunately, no one has to take this dog to the vet and put down a perfectly healthy animal because my grandmother had the notion that Peppy would be inconsolable with grief.) My grandmother has since obtained two Yorkshire Terrier puppies who remain unnamed to this day. No news as to what will happen when my grandmother dies.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Don't blame me. Blame Frog.

Tagged by Frog
List your 6 favorite songs and tag 6 others to do the same.
1. The One Who Knows, Dar Williams
2. Love Will Come to You, Indigo Girls
3. Spirit of Gentleness, Jim Manley
4. Towards the Horizon, Carrie Newcomer
5. If I Could, Storyhill (aka Chris and Johnny)
6. Fly Me Back, Brenda Weiler

I tag:
Jen, of Addition Problems
Krup, of Edit Barn
Gosling, of Gray Goose Watch
Trisha, of the least of my worries
Brooke, of rivervision
Tricia, of Which one of you ladies is the father?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

We are family

My sister-in-law has never had much luck with women friends. In high school, there was Bobbi Jo and Angela. Later on, she struggled with Roanna and Tara. They all had their own set of problems, ranging from self-destructive behavior to mental illness. One faked her own rape to cover up adultery. None were particularly good friends. None were there for her when she needed them, even though she was there for them.

Hope finally got a little shy and stopped pursuing friendships with other women. Then my brother became friends with Matt, and Matt was married to Sarah. They were the two lone wives in this giant group of mostly adolescent-acting men. When Matt and Sarah split up, everyone agreed that there was no point in wrecking other existing relationships, so Sarah has stayed a part of their lives.

Sarah comes from a conservative Baptist household and believes in Hell and all its awfulness, complete with fiery suffering. Despite this, she engages in premarital sex and is currently conducting an affair with her married-with-kids work supervisor. At one point in a conversation with her, my brother mentioned that Brooke and I hope to have kids.

“Wait… they have have kids?”
“Uh, well… not together,” Paul responded, moving his index fingers sideways and making them touch.
“Oh. Okay. That’s what I thought.”

Since then, Sarah has become more vocal about Hope’s parenting choices. She questioned Hope’s decision to pass the kids to us for a weekend and comfort with the fact that we will often sleep in the same bed with them. “They’re lesbians,” Hope told her, “Not child molesters.” Sarah balked and insisted that Hope’s comment wasn’t funny. Hope was offended to have Brooke and me painted that way.

Sarah continued, “What are you going to tell Hannah when she gets older?”
“Nothing? I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Are you going to tell her that they’re going to Hell?”
“Uh, no. No, I’m not. I think we’re done with this conversation.”

I’m sorry to say that it seems like Hope is losing another friend. Sarah’s other dysfunctional behavior (dressing like she’s going to a club when she comes over to cut Paul’s hair, for example) is leading us all to believe that Hope would be better off without her. I need to be a better support to her in the coming months as she separates from another difficult friend.

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