Monday, January 31, 2011

Henry IX

Mr. Smak and I have been watching The Tudors, courtesy of Netflix streaming over AppleTV.

We're both enjoying it, lots of political intrigue and character building (and a bunch of good-looking naked people). Wow, can't imagine what would have happened when someone brought gonorrhea to court. Wildfire. Anyway, it's the story of Henry VIII, and his court, and his wives (we're still on wife number one).

In a recent episode, Henry's bastard son, Henry, died suddenly, at age 4. They showed him, pale and bathed, gently lying in bed. The parallels were uncomfortable (but have happened often enough by now that they were tolerable.) The scene was first of his mother, and her seeing his body, and then of the king's grief.

Even as we spend time in a cancer sibling support group, it's often that we are the only bereaved family. Childhood leukemia, thank goodness, has cure rates over 90% these days. 90%! Forgive my apathy, but it doesn't seem that should be in the same category as advanced neuroblastoma, or the various brain tumors, or the soft tissues cancers that require surgeries and extensive chemo with long term side effects.

Anyway, back to The Tudors...I found myself strangely jealous that this mother of Henry would be in the company of so many other women who had lost a child, due to the era. That she wouldn't be the only one. Having a child die is so isolating today. It just doesn't happen to people.

Unsettling to find myself wishing for more bereaved parents in the world. Guess I'm still struggling with the "why him?" of this, though I try to convince myself that I'm not.

I think I can understand more the attachment to community and place that people have after experiencing a disaster. I've always thought that if I went through a community tragedy (ie Katrina) that the impulse would be to get away. No one would understand as well as those who have lived through it too. I guess that's my pining, still feeling somewhat alone in this journey. The last thing I want is more childhood death, from any cause...but I wish for that unspoken understanding a little more often.

Forgetting

It's been a long time since I've blogged.

I haven't felt the need. I've thought of it many times, but I've not craved the release that this blog gives me.

This belies that things are going well. I was going to say better, but really, things are going well. Grief is settling in to the back seat of my life, always there, but not much in the way. I can navigate around it most of the time. I still show it the respect it deserves, as I find that if I ignore when it starts to ask for attention, things can get out of hand. Small doses of it seem to keep it manageable.

I continue to have some very dark times, but they are less frequent, and the good times are really good now. The girls are great. I'm so pleased with Mr. Smak's progress; I'm seeing joy from him now too, and it was a long time coming.

It's beginning to build again. The second anniversary of Henry's death is near the end of February. I had considered trying a distraction technique this year, not talking or thinking about it much, like the dentist who talks your ear off while he extracts your tooth. This weekend the girls asked what we were going to do, so that coping strategy is off the table.

My middling said, "I feel like we're forgetting about him sometimes." I do too. I have still not learned how to balance the remembering with the pain. I cannot separate them.

I don't know what we'll do. Last year we all went to a museum together; the distraction and family time was useful for us, but it caught me eventually, and it was a very difficult day in the end. It is a day to remember, even if it hurts.